It was a sad week for Richard Petty Motorsports but it at least ended on a positive note.
On Tuesday, Lynda Gayle Owens Petty, the wife of seven-time Cup series champion Richard Petty, passed away at her home in Level Cross, N.C., surrounded by her family. She was 72.
A private memorial service was held on Friday afternoon and most of the Petty family skipped Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway. The race organization, however, made no secret that its goal this weekend was to try to bring home a win in honor of “Mrs. Lynda.”
It did not, but the both Marcos Ambrose and Aric Almirola were in the mix for the win until the end.
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Ambrose finished fifth and Almirola eighth as the RPM drivers both finished in the top 10 for the second time in the past three races, and it’s only the fourth time since June 2012 they have done so.
“We spent a lot of money and a lot of effort in getting Richard Petty Motorsports back on the map and I think you’re seeing the results,” said Ambrose. “We’ve been fast for about four weeks in a row and we’re just starting to hit our stride.
“We’re going to win one of these soon and lock ourselves in the Chase and feel good about our chances.”
Ambrose said it had been a “rough week” for everyone associated with RPM.
“We lost Mrs. Lynda. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Petty family right now,” he said. “We really wanted to win for them bad out there, but we’ll take a top five. We’re really proud of our efforts.”
Both Ambrose and Almirola made it into the top five during the course of Sunday’s race, but Almirola faded somewhat toward the end.
“We went back and forth on our adjustments and never really got it exactly where we needed it, but I’m really proud of all the guys at Richard Petty Motorsports,” Almirola said.
“Marcos had a really good run as well, so we’re doing things right. If we keep running like this, we’ll get to Victory Lane.”