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Popular Speed

Aric Almirola, Marcos Ambrose Set for RPM Return Next Season

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By Matt Weaver — The paperwork hasn’t cleared yet but Aric Almirola and Marcos Ambrose both expect to be with Richard Petty Motorsports next season, the drivers told Popular Speed on Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

“That’s the plan,” Almirola said. “We’re real close on finishing everything. The continuity of keeping everything the same and working with this team and (crew chief) Todd Parrott will be a huge advantage. All the guys on this team do a good job and they understand these cars and what it takes to make them go faster.

“We’re looking forward to building on that next year.”

When asked about his plans for next season, Ambrose simply took a sip of water and pointed down at his hauler and said ‘right here.’ During a season where drivers are changing seats at rapid-fire pace, both RPM pilots emphasized the importance for the team to establish some continuity from season-to-season.

“Aric’s a great driver,” Ambrose said of continuing his partnership with Almirola. “He’s a good friend of mine and we get along really well. He’s just a good teammate I know that he’s worked really hard to get where he — and he’s done it on talent too.

“He’s a real valuable part of the team and I enjoy working with him. It’s a good group and we want to keep it going.”

RPM has made great gains over the past three seasons since aligning itself with Ford and receiving technical support from Roush-Fenway Racing.

Ambrose has won twice at Watkins Glen in 2011 and 2012 and Almirola has improved his average finish from 20.0 to 18.4 in his two seasons working for Petty. Ambrose says the team needs to take another big step next season.

“We need to maintain this progression,” Ambrose said. “I feel like we only have a few more chances this year to learn in advance of next season but I’m really excited about the future. We’ve had time to restabalize and get some of the mojo back and I look forward to better things next year.”