Found April 21, 2012 on CJ Sports NASCAR Talk:

(PhatzRadio / USA Today) — KANSAS CITY, Kan. – The namesake of Richard Petty Motorsports said Friday the Sprint Cup team is mulling its manufacturer options for next season, and a return to Dodge isn’t necessarily a slam dunk.

“I would say you’d have to talk to Dodge,” Petty said after a news conference at Kansas Speedway where STP donated $43,000 to the Victory Junction Gang Camp. “I don’t know. Right now I think they’re pretty confused because they got a plug pulled out of them and wasn’t really expecting it. I would imagine they’re going to have to sit down and have some prayer meetings to figure out really what they’re going to do. But I don’t know.”

Since Penske Racing announced March 1 that it would switch to Ford next year, there has been plenty of speculation about Dodge’s future in the Sprint Cup Series. The manufacturer unveiled its new 2013 Charger a week after the Penske news, but it hasn’t announced what teams might run its brand.

With NASCAR powerhouses such as Hendrick Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing and Richard Childress Racing locked into long-term and stable alliances, the options seem limited for Dodge to poach a first-tier team.

Petty’s team, whose contract with Ford expires after this season, has been mentioned as a prime candidate, particularly given Petty’s longstanding ties to Dodge. Petty Enterprises most recently fielded Dodges from 2001-08, and much of Petty’s success came in an STP-sponsored Dodge.

Standing next to a 1972 replica car painted with the famous orange and Petty blue colors, Petty said RPM would consider “going anywhere to make a living out of this thing, that’s for sure. But right now, we’re still with the Ford deal and doing everything we can to win races with them. What happens in the future is like everything else, we’ll just have to wait and see what comes down.”

Petty said the team remains in talks to stay with Ford and Roush Yates Engines for next year. But he also said there was plenty of time to sign a deal. When RPM switched to Ford in 2009, the contract wasn’t agreed on until September.

“If we’re looking at other opportunities, then you don’t know when those are going to come about,” Petty said. “We put a Nationwide Series deal together in two weeks. Anything can be done. All it takes is a little bit of time and a whole lot of money.

“Right now we’ve got our sponsors pretty well lined up for next year, but where we go with the cars and the engines and things like that, we don’t really have a plan. We’ve got a plan, but I don’t know if anyone is going to go along with our plan or not.”

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