Almirola to wear tribute No. 41 for Maurice Petty in Martinsville

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Aric Almirola’s car will wear a throwback paint scheme, and number, this weekend in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway.

The driver of what’s traditionally the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford will switch to No. 41 this weekend as the team pays tribute to Maurice Petty, who will be inducted into NASCAR’s Hall of Fame on January 29, 2014.

Maurice Petty powered “King Richard’s” 15 of 19 career wins at Martinsville. A win by Almirola on Sunday would be the first of his career and still count for owner points for the No. 43, per a one-race exemption made by NASCAR to allow the change.

The No. 43 last won with John Andretti at Martinsville in 1999. The No. 43 last missed a race in October 2003 when Jeff Green failed to qualify at Atlanta.

“It is kind of weird, but to me it goes back to same thing we did when we first started,” Richard told NASCAR.com regarding the No. 43’s absence this weekend. “Dad’s (Lee’s) number was 42. We just took the two off and put a three on there. We just took the three off my car and put a one on the thing.”

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”