They say sometimes things come full circle. It has been forty years since legendary NASCAR driver Richard Petty raced for the Blue Oval, winning nine of 200 NASCAR wins in the 1969 season at the wheel of a Torino Cobra. His team, Richard Petty Motorsports, is merging with Yates Motorsports, and will soon be racing for Ford again.

According to Ford Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports will field four Ford Fusions in the 2010 racing year.

Petty's 1969 Torino Cobra. Photo Credit: rnair via Flickr

Petty long ago retired from the Winner's Circle, bringing home seven Daytona 500 wins and finishing in the top ten over 700 times in 1,185 starts. The merger of Petty and Yates Racing comes at a time when many manufacturers are pulling support from motorsports teams. The four driver team will feature Kasey Kahne, Elliot Sadler, A.J. Allmendinger, and Paul Menard from Yates racing.

Richard Petty's famous Superbird

The merger of Yates and Petty brings the later back into the Ford fold. Richard Petty spent his best years racing Mopars, and is most famously remembered for his bright blue Superbird, which he drove to numerous victories. Petty also raced with Chevy for awhile, but Petty Motorsports returned to Mopar, only to lose their sponsorship later on. This is as much a bid to survive as it is to compete, but with Ford on more solid ground than Chrysler, this could propel Petty Motorsports into a new era of checkered flags.

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