Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Will the real owner of Richard Petty Motorsports please step forward?

Where is George Gillett Jr.?

While we watch the weekly drama unfold of whether Richard Petty Motorsports can piece together the necessary funds and forge the needed deals to make it to the race track, we hear nothing from the organization’s true majority owner.

As questions arise almost daily of whether the team is past-due on its bills, whether it can pay current employees, or whether it will make it to the next race let alone the next season, all we get from Gillett is silence.

He’s nowhere to be seen in the NASCAR garage.

Oh, he’ll toss a team public relations representative to the media wolves without a problem, but he stays silent.

He’ll leave NASCAR legend Richard Petty - only a four percent owner in the company - at the track to face all the questions, while he remains safely tucked away from the media frenzy.

The organization’s top driver - Kasey Kahne - bolts before the end of the season, but nary a word from Gillett. It’s not like he is busy with his Liverpool soccer team any more.

It’s far past time we end the charade that has clouded this team since last season.

There is nothing ‘Richard Petty’ about Richard Petty Motorsports.

Whether on purpose, by chance or by accident, Gillett has managed to tarnish one of the truly good names in all of sports, not just NASCAR. And it’s a shame.

Yes, Petty probably bears some responsibility for allowing his name to be attached to an organization over which he really had no control.

But that name was provided by Petty so the team could succeed and prosper in NASCAR and to make a connection to the sport‘s fans and potential sponsors.

It was not designed to act as a shield to insulate the true owner, Gillett, from criticism and responsibility.

I don’t know if RPM will make it to the final race of the season next weekend at Homestead, Fla. I don’t know if the organization - in whatever form - will return in 2011.

The only person who really knows, not only won’t say but won’t allow himself to be asked the questions.