Petty team finds funds, will return with 2 cars

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Richard Petty Motorsports isn't going away.

Richard Petty said he's found financial backing to take over the team owned by George Gillett Jr. that bears his name.

Gillett has been rocked by financial problems in the past two years. He not only was forced to sell the NHL's Montreal Canadiens, the Liverpool soccer club and several ski resorts, he still has a $90 million outstanding loan with Wachovia Bank.

Petty and Ray Evernham are minority owners, and both were concerned the team was close to shutting down in the final month of the season. Petty said he's got a group to run a two-car team next season -- the No. 43 Ford for AJ Allmendinger and the No. 9 Ford for Marcos Ambrose .

Evernham said Saturday he's considering a lawsuit against Gillett to recoup some of his money.

RPM operated four teams this year, so the reduction to two meant the organization was forced to lay off almost half of its staff Monday.

FORD'S BETTER IDEA: With NASCAR looking at 2013 for a complete makeover of its racing fleet, Ford officials said they want to get their Mustang into the Sprint Cup Series as soon as possible as a replacement for the current Fusion model.

"The sooner the better," Edsel B. Ford said. "Let's be frank: Motorsports enthusiasts are not going to buy Fusions because they see a Fusion win here, are they? ... To have a Mustang on the track in NASCAR is the right direction."

The Mustang will be the new car for Ford in the Nationwide Series next year. Dodge also switched from the Charger to the Challenger in Nationwide. Chevrolet will stick with the Impala in both series, while Toyota is staying with the Camry.

ROLE REVERSAL: Carl Edwards won the season finale at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2008 to finish second in the Chase by 69 points. And in the process, it sparked a lot of talk that he'd be the favorite to win the 2009 championship.

Edwards not only didn't contend a year later, he struggled. He finished 11th and failed to win a race.

After winning Sunday's race at Homestead, Edwards said he's a lot more comfortable with being considered a favorite for 2011.

Edwards' Roush Fenway Racing started slowly this year, not winning until Aug. 1 with Greg Biffle at Pocono. The new FR9 engine and a car-building overhaul helped the team come back to win three of the final eight races -- including the past two by Edwards.

"This is beyond the comeback that I expected," Edwards said. "I wish the (2011) season was just starting."


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