NASCAR: Richard Petty Motorsports committed to two-car program in 2015

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Over the past five days, Richard Petty Motorsports has had Marcos Ambrose announce he’s going back home to Australia to race V8 Supercars.

Additionally, they’ve also had team sponsors Stanley and Dewalt Tools announce they’re heading for Joe Gibbs Racing.

But the two-car Sprint Cup team insists that it will remain that way for the 2015 season.

“Today, the organization with a championship history, winning present and proven marketing programs, announced it will use the same aggressive business and growth model to support the No. 9 Ford team in 2015 and beyond in a series of announcements,” an RPM release from this afternoon said.

“RPM will continue to be a two-car NASCAR Sprint Cup organization and will compete weekly with the No. 9 and No. 43 teams.”

The team also confirmed that it will retain Ford as its manufacturer and continue its respective chassis/engine supply pacts with Roush Fenway Racing and Roush Yates Engines. Earlier this season, RPM had been the subject of reports that it was looking at leaving Ford for Toyota.

The Boston Beer Company’s Twisted Tea brand of “hard” iced tea will also stay with the No. 9 team that Ambrose is leaving behind. Smithfield Foods has already announced a multi-year extension and investment increase in the No. 43 team.

RPM president and CEO Brian Moffitt had this to say in the team release.

“First, we want to wish Stanley Black and Decker the best. Their commitment and support has been a critical component to the success of RPM. As with all good partnerships, we are proud that the STANLEY and RPM partnership has benefited both companies. We are grateful for their support and they will always be a part of our family.

“Today, we are excited to build new partnerships on the No. 9 team. We have a vision that our ownership group and sponsors support and believe in. We have built upon that vision in two short years to become championship eligible. It’s that belief that will help us support the No. 9 team. One partner that has supported us is Ford Racing, who will again be our manufacturer partner as we continue our relationship that has helped us become a ‘Chase’ organization.”

Ford Racing’s Jamie Allison added in the release that he expects the team’s “strength throughout this season” will “only continue next season and beyond.”

This year, Aric Almirola brought the No. 43 team its first Sprint Cup win since 1999, which was enough to put him into the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

NBCSN will present ‘Race and Sports in America: Conversations’ Monday

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With motor racing reckoning with its own issues of diversity and equality, “Race and Sports in America: Conversations” will tackle the topics of social justice with several athletes. The show will air at 8 p.m. ET Monday, July 13 on NBCSN, Golf Channel, Olympic channel and on regional sports networks.

The roundtable discussions will be hosted by Damon Hack and feature Charles Barkley, Steph Curry, Jimmy Rollins and Ozzie Smith in one segment. The other segment will include Kyle Rudolph, Anthony Lynn, Troy Mullins and James Blake.

Race has been a major topic in motorsports this year.

NASCAR banned the Confederate flag at its race after lobbying by Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver in the premier Cup Series. In Formula One, six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton has joined Black Lives Matter marches in London and also formed a panel on diversity. The lone Black driver in F1 also led 14 of 20 drivers taking a knee before the season opener in Austria.