Petty Enterprises continues cutting, still seeks merger
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Petty Enterprises released at least three dozen employees Monday as the team continues to search for either a merger or a miracle that would keep the famed organization operating in 2009.
The latest round of layoffs pushed the total to almost 70 employees. Petty Enterprises released 30 employees the day after the Nov. 18 season finale.
Petty Enterprises, which lacks full sponsorship for either of its cars next season, is in talks to merge with Gillett-Evernham Motorsports in an effort to keep its flagship No. 43 on the track. The car was made famous by seven-time champion Richard Petty, and currently piloted by Bobby Labonte.
Labonte, the 2000 series champion, signed a four-year contract extension in June when Petty Enterprises sold majority interest of its operation to Boston Ventures. The private equity firm assumed day-to-day control of the 60-year-old operation, but has yet to put Petty Enterprises on solid footing -- largely because the economic crisis has made sponsorship difficult to secure.
Petty officials have talked to several teams in the garage about a merger, but Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Chip Ganassi Racing were crossed off the board when those two teams partnered with each other the week of the season finale.
Gillett-Evernham, meanwhile, has been looking for a partner to help it expand to a four-car operation. That team currently fields cars for Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler and is scheduled to bring Reed Sorenson into its third Dodge next season.
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