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, 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 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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NHRA Gatornationals: John Force has another spectacular motor explosion

Photo courtesy NHRA
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Legendary NHRA Funny Car driver John Force endured yet another spectacular motor explosion – his third in the NHRA’s first three national event races – during Friday’s qualifying at the Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida.

It’s the kind of consistency the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ could do without.

The 68-year-old Force came to Gainesville hoping to break the jinx that saw him endure explosions in both the season-opening Winternationals and the second race of the season in Phoenix.

Both motor explosions sent Force to the hospital for examination before he returned to the race track.

Friday, even though the motor in his Chevrolet Camaro blew up again (in the second round of qualifying), at least this time, Force didn’t wind up in the hospital.

He did have his right hand bandaged from a cut suffered in the explosion, but did not have to go to the hospital this time.

He even joked about not having to add yet another ambulance bill to the nearest Gainesville hospital.

But the explosion still proved costly.

“That was another body and that hurts the financial (bottomline),” Force said. “I was out $500,000 to $600,000, and now we are probably out $800,000, going on a million. In drag racing, you have to be tough.”

He ended the day qualifying 14th, not a very comfortable position with two more rounds of qualifying set for Saturday.

Force continues to be mystified why the motors keep exploding.

“I really thought we had it, I thought we were there,” Force said. “In the first round we drove it 500 feet and shut it off. It looked great. We ran it again that run and I was only going to drive it 800 feet even if we didn’t make The Show.”

Force will attempt to improve his qualifying spot during Saturday’s final two rounds to make Sunday’s eliminations.

Follow @JerryBonkowski