By AMANDA VINCENT
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team Richard Petty Motorsports has made personnel changes with the goal of improving the on-track performance of its two entries — the No. 43 Ford of driver Aric Almirola and the No. 44 Ford of driver Brian Scott.
Philippe Lopez and Scott McDougall are temporarily performing the duties formerly taken care of by Sammy Johns. The first race since the change will be Sunday’s Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
“The past several years, we have made significant investments in our organization with the goal of winning races and to compete at a high level on a weekly basis,” Richard Petty Motorsports Chief Executive Officer Brian Moffitt said. “We now have direction over our own chassis and bodies and work closely with Ford Performance on technology and engineering. With these investments, unfortunately, we have not seen the on-track results that we expected this season.
“As we look ahead to 2017, we are taking steps forward to improve our on-track product to better serve our partners and fans. This means analyzing every part of our organization and making adjustments where needed. Sammy Johns has been a big part of our organization; he helped us succeed in many different ways and helped us become a winning race team. We wish him nothing but the best going forward.”
RPM last got to victory lane in July 2014 with Almirola at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Twenty-four races into the 36-race 2016 season, Almirola has yet to finish in the top-10 and is 25th in the points standings. Meanwhile, Scott is 33rd in the standings, also without a top-10.
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