NASCAR: Richard Petty discusses possible move of his team to Toyota

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During an appearance at a function for Dollar General on Monday, seven-time Sprint Cup champion Richard Petty addressed reports that his Richard Petty Motorsports team was considering a move from Ford to Toyota.

A Motorsport.com story from earlier this month reported that Petty met with Toyota representatives during the Toyota Owners 400 weekend at Richmond International Raceway back in April.

Additionally, the site reported over the weekend that Petty visited Ford headquarters in Michigan last week.

In that same story, Ford Racing director Jamie Allison stated that the team’s contract with the Blue Oval was not set to expire at the end of this season.

“Obviously, these manufacturer/team contracts are not for public negotiations,” Allison said to writer Lee Spencer.

“We’re at a good place with the King…We are going through and understanding could be available and what their interests are.”

Meanwhile, during his appearance yesterday at DG headquarters in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, Petty took a big-picture approach to the subject.

“We’ve got to look at our team and look at our circumstances,” Petty said according to Mike Organ of The Tennessean. “We’ve got to look and say, ‘Okay, what’s going to be the best for us right now, what’s going to the best for us two years down the road, what’s going to be the best for us five years down the road?’”

Petty added: “We’re out looking and seeing what all the factories have got laid out for their future to see if we can fit into any of that.”

RPM currently fields two Fords for drivers Marcos Ambrose and Aric Almirola in the Sprint Cup series, and each of them have had some solid performances in the opening quarter of the season.

The team has been in the Ford camp since the 2009 season after jumping over from Dodge; that manufacturer would leave NASCAR at the end of 2012.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry. Time just published a brief piece by Wallace saluting Hamilton as a trailblazer.

The idea of Hamilton attending the NASCAR season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it would seem right for Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — to spend some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).