Petty not ruling out return to Dodge

Updated: April 20, 2012, 2:01 PM ET
By David Newton | ESPN.com

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Richard Petty Motorsports is trying to negotiate a deal to stay with Ford and retain its relationship with Roush Fenway Racing.

But team namesake Richard Petty isn't totally ruling out a return to Dodge, the manufacturer with which he became a racing icon as a driver.

"Right now, we've got our sponsors pretty much lined up for next year,'' Petty said Friday at Kansas Speedway. "Where we go with the cars and engines and things like that ... we've got a plan, but I don't know if anybody is going to go along with it.''

Roush Fenway president Steve Newmark is optimistic his organization can continue supplying Ford engines and chassis for RPM.

"We have thoroughly enjoyed working with Richard Petty and his entire team, as it is a first-class organization,'' Newmark said. "We believe it has been a mutually beneficial relationship and sincerely hope to be able to continue the partnership into the future."

Dodge has been looking for an anchor organization since Penske Racing announced it would move to Ford in 2013. Because of Petty's past association with Dodge, RPM is among several organizations speculated to be a target for Dodge.

One of Dodge's issues is finding an organization that will build its racing engines. Late last month, Roger Penske said he is still hearing demand for Dodge engines, but has not decided whether his engine shop will continue to build Dodge engines while his team's cars are powered by Ford engines.

"Right now, they are pretty confused,'' Petty said of Dodge. "They got a plug pulled out of them and wasn't really expecting it. ... We'll consider going anywhere to make a living out of this.

"Right now, we're still up with the Ford deal and we're going everything we can to win races with them.''

David Newton | email

ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter