Richard Petty Motorsports announced today that Marcos Ambrose will drive the team’s No. 9 car in 2011, replacing the departing Kasey Kahne, who is leaving to drive for Red Bull Racing in 2011 while he waits for a seat to open up at Hendrick Motorsports.
Ambrose will be sponsored by Stanley Black & Decker, which was rumored to be leaving to team to follow Elliott Sadler to another team. Sadler announced last month that he was leaving the team at season’s end. There have been reports that RPM is interested in bringing him back, though.
Kahne announced in April that he signed a deal with Hendrick Motorsports in 2012. But, because HMS has four drivers under contract for 2011, Kahne was left without a ride.
Speculation began that Mark Martin would be asked to step aside so that Kahne could drive the No. 5 in 2011. Martin maintained that he would be in the No. 5 next season, leading to speculation and rumors about where Kahne would end up. He signed a one-year deal with RBR last week.
Last month, Ambrose also announced that he was leaving JTG Daugherty Racing at season’s end. At that time, he was instantly linked to RPM and the seat Kahne was vacating. Bobby Labonte was announced as Ambrose’s replacement at JTG.
With this news, RPM has two drivers under contract for 2011. Sadler is still looking to leave the team, and Paul Menard left the team to join Richard Childress Racing.
AJ Allmendinger signed a contract extension with RPM earlier this summer.
Team owner Richard Petty said:
Stanley Tools said: