Report: Richard Petty considering move from Ford to Toyota

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The last time Ford won a Sprint Cup championship was 2004, with Kurt Busch behind the wheel for Roush Racing.

The last time Toyota won a Sprint Cup championship was … well, it has never won a Cup crown since entering the Cup series in 2007.

Heading into Saturday night’s race at Kansas Speedway, Chevrolet and Ford have both won four races in 2014, while Denny Hamlin’s win Sunday at Talladega was only the second thus far for Toyota.

And yet a report Friday suggested that officials at Richard Petty Motorsports – including team majority owner and NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty – are considering moving to Toyota power for 2015.

According to a story on Motorsport.com, The King reportedly met with Toyota representatives two weeks ago at Richmond to discuss a possible alliance.

Petty’s current contract with both Ford and Roush Yates Engines expires at the end of this season, according to the Motorsport.com story.

Just as RPM has begun to show increased performance over the last couple of seasons, would King Richard really leave Ford for Toyota?

Better yet, why?

If Joe Gibbs Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing — the only two teams that receive Toyota factory support from its Toyota Racing Development subsidiary — have yet to win a title, where is the upside gain for RPM if it were to join the Toyota camp?

If Petty were to take his organization anywhere other than Ford, Chevrolet would seem a much more logical and realistic affiliation, particularly if RPM chooses to align itself with either Hendrick Motorsports or Richard Childress Racing/ECR Motors.

After all, Chevy has won eight of the last nine Cup championships.

Petty shifted from Dodge to Ford power near the end of the 2009 season and has proudly worn the blue circle ever since.

Moving to Toyota just doesn’t seem to make sense.

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Fernando Alonso confirmed for Toyota LMP1 test in Bahrain

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SAKHIR, Bahrain – Fernando Alonso will take his first step towards a possible entry to the 24 Hours of Le Mans when he tests an LMP1 car for Toyota on Sunday at the Bahrain International Circuit.

McLaren Formula 1 driver and two-time world champion Alonso is hoping to appear at Le Mans next year as part of his bid to become just the second man in history to complete the ‘Triple Crown of Motorsport’.

Alonso has already completed one leg by winning the Monaco Grand Prix twice, and made his debut at the Indianapolis 500 in May with McLaren-Honda-Andretti, retiring late on due to an engine failure.

Momentum is building for Alonso to make his Le Mans debut with Toyota in 2018, starting with a first sports car run-out in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s end-of-season rookie test in Bahrain on Sunday.

Alonso arrived in Bahrain on Saturday to watch the six-hour WEC race as an invited guest of the Bahraini royal family, with his participation in the test being confirmed after the race.

“We are very excited that Fernando will test our car. When he visited us in Cologne everyone who met him could sense his enthusiasm and passion for our sport; he is a true racer,” Toyota Gazoo Racing team president Hisatake Murata said.

“We very much respect his interest in different forms of motorsport and it is a pleasure to offer him this chance to drive a hybrid LMP1 car. It will be interesting to hear his feedback on the TS050 Hybrid.”

Alonso will share running in the Toyota car with 19-year-old Thomas Laurent, who received a test as a prize for his star display during his rookie WEC campaign this year, while regular Toyota racer Mike Conway will also complete laps.