Petty Holdings & Gillett Evernham Motorsports Announce Agreement in Principle To Form New Team
STATESVILLE, N.C. – Gillett Evernham Motorsports (GEM) and Petty Holdings announced an agreement in principle to form a new NASCAR Sprint Cup team co-owned by Richard Petty, Petty Holdings, owned by majority shareholder Boston Ventures, and Gillett Evernham Motorsports.
The team will field four Dodge entries in the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Details of the transaction are expected once the deal is closed. Petty and GEM officials anticipate a final agreement by the end of January.
Petty, a seven-time champion and owner of 200 Cup victories, said the new team secures the famed No. 43's presence in NASCAR for years to come.
"I want to get back to winning and together we will bring the resources, technology and infrastructure to do that," said Petty.
"This was a big decision for us but it's something we really wanted to do. We hope everyone in the sport embraces what (GEM Co-owner) George (Gillett) and I are doing. Nothing is going to change for me. I'm going to be at the track every weekend and really involved with the teams and drivers back at the shop. We are very happy. George and I have a lot of work to do, but we have a plan and we'll be ready for Daytona."
Petty Enterprises is the winningest team in NASCAR history owning 268 Cup victories since 1949. Gillett said it is a privilege to help write a new chapter in the Petty family history.
"To join with Richard Petty and Petty Holdings is such an honor for me and my family," said Gillett whose business interests also include ownership in the legendary Montreal Canadiens in the NHL and the English Premier League's Liverpool FC soccer team.
"Richard and I have gotten to know each other well over the last few years and both of us believe we have formed something that NASCAR fans will support. We plan to keep the Petty name in the forefront of NASCAR. We ask that all of the King's fans join with us. Our goal is to get the cowboy hat and sunglasses back in victory lane."
GEM has its own role in the history of NASCAR.
Ray Evernham, named by the media as the sport's greatest crew chief of all time in 2006, created Evernham Motorsports in 1999 spearheading Dodge's return to NASCAR. In 2007, Evernham partnered with Gillett to form GEM. The organization owns 15 victories and has consistently been one of the top performing teams in NASCAR.
"A lot has changed over the years in NASCAR but success still boils down to that cat holding the steering wheel and how he conducts himself both in and out of the car," said Petty. "I really want to help these guys with their driving and their careers."
* The new team plans to run a fourth Dodge in eight races in the 2009 season including the Budweiser Shootout with additional races contingent on sponsorship.
* Ray Evernham retains a minority ownership role with the new team.
* Richard Petty and Petty Holdings will continue to own and operate the Richard Petty Driving Experience as an independent entity.
* Key Petty employees Robbie Loomis, Dale Inman and Brian Moffitt will also have active roles with the new team.
* The new team will use the GEM race shops in Statesville, N.C. and engine shop in Concord, N.C.
GEM and Petty sponsors will continue with the new organization.
Kasey Kahne – "This is pretty exciting stuff. I've gotten to know Richard over my five years working with Dodge and I look forward to being around him more. This is pretty awesome. The Gilletts have done a fantastic job of putting this together. I think you can see their commitment to winning. We could have kept on the same path, but they made a pretty bold statement that they are here to win."
Tom Reddin, GEM CEO – "We now have the greatest driver of all time and champion crew chiefs partnered with the business prowess of the Gillett family. We have a rock solid foundation for the future."
David Zucker, CEO Petty Holdings – "Petty Holdings is thrilled with this partnership. This is two organizations coming together with one objective in mind – winning."
Barry Baker, managing director of Boston Ventures and chairman of Petty Holdings – "We are excited about this transaction and believe it will continue to keep the Petty name at the forefront of motorsports for decades to come."
October 17, 2008
The Sports Business publications and e-zines had a few reports of GEM in discussions with Bill Davis back mid-September.
The news was circulated briefly via Sports media online but Dodge was quick to deny that GEM was not satisfied with their manufacturer. :-)
This past week, rumors say Evernham wants to leave GEM. I'm thinking this is a 'Evernham' leak. From the get go, when Gillett became majority owner of the team Evernham built, it was clear Ray was taking a backseat.
I couldn't imagine him finding a new lesser role that would fulfill. :-)
For now, it's just a rumor but a seed sown for bigger news yet to come.
Gillett's posse has been quiet despite so much happening right now. He's a very very smart businessman and I don't think Nascar has really seen his type until now. It will be good for Nascar, even a must.
It's quiet at the GEM media homefront but we will keep you posted. In the meantime, somethings are better left unsaid. lol
Sad news for Pat. It's a tough business and there's always someone to fill the seat.
Come back soon. There will be alot of great news for GEM 2009.