Richard Petty Motorsports renumbers No. 9 to No. 44

One of Richard Petty Motorsports‘ two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams will not only have a new driver and crew chief combination for 2016, but it will also feature a change in car number.
Officials with the two-team organization announced Monday that it will change its No. 9 team to the No. 44 for the 2016 season. The team features former XFINITY Series driver Brian Scott and crew chief Chris Heroy, both new to the organization.

“After the 2015 season, we had an opportunity to make some changes and get the No. 44 back. We felt that it was good timing. We really wanted to get that number back in the Petty family where it really belongs,” Richard Petty said Monday. “Brian (Scott) 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.”

The RPM lineup also includes driver Aric Almirola in the group’s iconic No. 43 Ford.

The Petty organization first used the No. 44 in 1954 for a single race with driver Bob Welborn. It wasn’t used in a full-time capacity by the organization until ’93, following the retirement of seven-time series champion Richard Petty. Petty’s No. 43 was renumbered 44 for a single season with driver Rick Wilson behind the wheel. That team returned to its original number, 43, the following year.
The last full season a Petty entry featured the No. 44 was 2009 with driver AJ Allmendinger. The group began using the No. 9 as well after merging with Gillett Evernham Motorsports in ’09.

Entries bearing the No. 44 have won 13 times in NASCAR’s premier series, most recently by Terry Labonte (1986) when the NASCAR Hall of Fame driver was competing for car owner Billy Hagan.
Cars featuring the No. 9 have won 53 times, including the final four times by RPM drivers Kasey Kahne (2009) and Marcos Ambrose (’11, ’12).