Richard Petty Motorsports has been in default on an approximately $90 million loan since at least February, according to a story published on SceneDaily.com.
Citing unnamed sources, the article says that the team, which is owned by George Gillett, Richard Petty and has merged with Yates Racing, expects to restructure the obligation.
According to the story, the default underscores "the harm NASCAR suffered from the economic collapse of late 2008 and, in particular, the impact of contraction among Detroit's Big Three automakers on race teams." RPM lost the manufacturer backing on its four-car team when Chrysler filed for bankruptcy protection. This season the team switched to Ford as part of the merger with the Yates group. Only one organization, Penske Racing, competes as a multi-car entity with Dodge backing this season.
"This is a very positive story," Gillett told the writer. "To lose Chrysler but regain the revenue and not go into the red, and the company is very healthy, that is an amazing story."
Gillett, who previously owned the Montreal Canadiens and still retains partial ownership of the Liverpool FC soccer organization, did not discuss the specifics with the writer, but the story does cite a source who claims the default is payment-related. Wachovia, which was involved in issuing the loan, declined to comment to the writer as well.
Gillett bought majority ownership of what was then Evernham Motorsports in 2007, then merged with Richard Petty Motorsports in 2009. This season, the team merged once again, with the Yates group, and now fields four Sprint Cup entries -- those of AJ Allmendinger, Kasey Kahne, Paul Menard and Elliott Sadler.