By AMANDA VINCENT
Brian Scott’s arrival at Richard Petty Motorsports for his first full season of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition will usher in a return to a familiar number for the Richard Petty co-owned race team. The Ford Scott will drive in the upcoming season will carry the No. 44, a change from the No. 9 carried by the car the last several years.
“After the 2015 season, we had an opportunity to make some changes and get the No. 44 back,” Petty said. “We felt that it was good timing. We really wanted to get that number back in the Petty family where it really belongs. Brian is coming on board, and he really hasn’t had a number in the Sprint Cup Series. Everything has just come together to really bring back a Petty tradition. For us, the numbers are more than just a number you could say. They really represent our family history, our legacy and everyone who has worked for us or raced for us. We take a lot of pride in that and are glad to have the 44 back home.”
Maurice Petty, Richard Petty’s brother, competed with the No. 44, along with the No. 41 and other numbers, in the early 1960s. Richard Petty’s son, Kyle Petty raced a Petty-owned No. 44 at NASCAR’s top level in the late 1990s. Also, Kyle Petty raced the No. 44 in the ARCA Racing Series, and drove the number into victory lane in his first ARCA race in 1979.
“It’s good to see the 44 number back where it belongs. I grew up knowing that my uncle Maurice raced the 41, my grandfather raced the 42 and my father raced the 43,” Kyle Petty said. “I would go on to race the 44, and Adam eventually drove the 45. With Pete Hamilton driving the 40 at one time for PE, to me, those numbers were always ‘Petty’ numbers. I’m looking forward to seeing Brian Scott carrying on our tradition.”
The former incarnation of Richard Petty Motorsports inherited the No. 9 through a merger with Gillett-Evernham Motorsports in 2009 and has competed with the number ever since. RPM also fields the No. 43, made famous by the team’s co-owner. RPM’s other driver, Aric Almirola, will continue to drive a No. 43 Ford in 2016.
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