Petty Enterprises is in discussions to merge its storied franchise with Gillett Evernham Motorsports, The Associated Press has learned.
Multiple people familiar with the talks told the AP that the two teams are discussing a deal that would merge Petty's No. 43 Dodge with GEM to become a four-car operation. They requested anonymity because the negotiations are ongoing.
SI.com first reported Thursday that Petty Enterprises' top operation will not return in 2009. But David Zucker, CEO of Petty Enterprises, said the report was "not accurate."
He would not discuss a potential merger. "We're not going to comment on rumors and speculation," he said.
Petty, the team founded by seven-time series champion Richard Petty, has no full-time sponsorship lined up for next season. The team fields cars for Bobby Labonte, Chad McCumbee and Kyle Petty.
Robbie Loomis, vice president of Petty Enterprises, told the AP nothing has changed with the organization, and the team is continuing to talk to potential partners.
Drew Brown, a spokesman for GEM, did not immediately return a call for comment.