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Updated: June 1, 2009, 6:24 PM EDT

DOVER, Del. - Team owner Richard Petty says the Chrysler bankruptcy has put cash flow from the manufacturer to the Richard Petty Motorsports organization he co-owns with George Gillett "in a holding pattern."

From the point of view of the Dodge Motorsports program, however, the commitment to racing is undiminished.

"They've stopped everything," Petty said Saturday in the garage at Dover International Speedway. "They went into bankruptcy, and they're sort of in a floating stage right now. They're trying to see where they come out of this at. If they've got new people running the show, are they still going to continue to back everything exactly like they are, or whatever?

"They're in a holding pattern right now. I think GM's that way — I don't know about Ford — and I know Chrysler's that way. The rest of them I don't know. I don't deal with them."

Monday morning, General Motors filed for bankruptcy under a government-backed reorganization plan.

Walter Czarnecki, vice chairman of Penske Racing, which has three Dodge teams, said Monday the legal proceedings also have held up payments to his organization. "In the legal procedure, you have to file what's called a 'Cure Letter' that lists all the things that you are owed. And when it's submitted and approved, they'll pay. We have money that was due April 30 that has not been received yet and probably won't be received for several weeks."

Czarnecki expects, however, that with Chrysler's imminent emergence from bankruptcy and the pending merger with Fiat, the situation will straighten itself out relatively soon.

Mike Accavitti, director of brand marketing and strategy for Chrysler, acknowledged the reorganization has affected the flow of cash from Chrysler but affirmed the company remains committed to Cup racing and that at-track services provided to the teams continue to be available.


"The amount of engineering and other technical services, along with supply of racing components we provide to the Dodge factory-backed teams has not changed," Accavitti said in a statement to Sporting News. "NASCAR remains a strategic part of our marketing plan and the Dodge brand. ... We have commitments to the sport and our teams and plan to continue our sponsorship into the foreseeable future."

Cash payments, however, have fallen victim — at least on a temporary basis — to the supervision that comes with a bankruptcy filing. A race team might have to forgo a session on a seven-post rig, for example, if the money from Dodge that typically pays for such a simulation of suspension dynamics isn't available.

"As we have previously stated, we remain committed to our Dodge factory-backed teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series," Accavitti said. "During our Chapter 11 reorganization, Chrysler has strictly followed each and every step of the court-supervised process according to bankruptcy law. Interruption to the normal course of business, including supplier payments, is inherent during this process."

Clearly, Petty and Chrysler want the same thing. One of RPM's drivers, Kasey Kahne, used the new Dodge R06 engine at Dover, qualified a season-best second and finished sixth. Petty expects to phase in the new engine with his other drivers — AJ Allmendinger, Reed Sorenson and Elliott Sadler — based on an evaluation of its performance with Kahne over the next several weeks. All three Penske teams already have incorporated the R06.

"Where is Chrysler going to go? Where are we going to be next year?'" Petty said. "So we've got to start planning right now for how we come out in February at Daytona. All those things are relative to each other, I guess, as far as whatever we've got to do to make it better than what it is. We're still not giving up on this season, by any means. With the new engine deals, we're going to really, really work hard this year to get us in a better position as far as next year."

LINK:NASCAR - Petty: Chrysler bankruptcy affecting teams' cash flow - FOX Sports on MSN
 

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Petty lays off nine

Posted: Monday June 8, 2009 6:52 PM
RPM lets 9 employees go and cuts salaries

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -Richard Petty Motorsports laid off nine employees Monday and reduced salaries throughout the organization, a byproduct of Chrysler's bankruptcy filing.

RPM officials took the measures because of anticipated cutbacks from Dodge, a person familiar with the moves told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing uncertainty surrounding RPM's contract with Chrysler.


Chrysler, Dodge's parent company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month.

In an interview Monday before the organizational cuts, team co-owner Richard Petty acknowledged a disruption to the race team since Chrysler's April 30 filing.

"Everybody sets up a budget of what to do. All of a sudden, they call up and say, 'We just went bankrupt, guys. We can't pay you. Or we can give you a quarter on the dollar that we owe you.' And you say, 'Whoa, man,''' Petty said. "Everything you've got just goes out the window. And then you've got to go back to square one and start again.

"A lot of the operations have cut back on their travel, they've cut back on ... a lot of people that make it work - not only mechanics, truck drivers, whatever it may be. And then a lot of us have asked our people to take a pay cut.''

RPM is in the final year of its contract with Dodge, and the team is widely believed to be trying to negotiate a switch to Toyota in 2010. The team made a move in that direction late Monday by partnering with Braun Racing, a Toyota team, for five Nationwide Series races beginning with next month's event at Daytona.

RPM gave no indication what brand, Dodge or Toyota, its drivers will use in the five races with Braun.

RPM currently fields Sprint Cup cars for Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler and AJ Allmendinger, who are all signed through 2010, and Reed Sorenson, who is in a contract year. Although Allmendinger is signed through 2010, the team has only committed to field his car through the 26th race of the season.

Now that funding from Dodge has become a serious concern, the organization could scale back to three teams at any time. All four cars are entered in this weekend's race at Michigan International Speedway.

The financial situation also could take an immediate toll on competition. RPM has lagged far behind in development of the new R6P8 engine that Penske Racing, the other Dodge organization, has used all season.

Frustrated by the slow pace, Kahne publicly pushed RPM officials to use the new motor. He finally debuted it two weeks ago in Dover, Del., and was thrilled with the horsepower following his sixth-place finish.

But RPM did not have enough motors in production for Kahne or the others to use the new engine last weekend at Pocono, and it's not clear if they'll bring any to Michigan. If a split with Dodge is imminent, the team likely will balk at spending any more money on development of a motor it won't use beyond this season.

Meanwhile, Roger Penske said Sunday at Pocono he intends to honor his a three-year contract with Dodge, despite last week's agreement to purchase the Saturn brand from General Motors.

GM, which fields Chevrolets in NASCAR, last week became the second of the four NASCAR manufacturers to enter Chapter 11 protection.

LINK:RPM lets 9 employees go and cuts salaries - - SI.com
 
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