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They then scoured the market for a partner, and found one in Gillett, who was looking to merge with a smaller team to help expand his organization to the NASCAR maximum four cars. The fourth entry is only scheduled to run eight races this year, including the non-points Budweiser Shootout, with additional events contingent on sponsorship.
"To join with Richard Petty and Petty Holdings is such an honor for me and my family," said Gillett, who also owns the NHL's Montreal Canadiens and the Liverpool soccer team in the English Premier League.
"Richard and I have gotten to know each other well over the last few years and both of us believe we have formed something that NASCAR fans will support. We plan to keep the Petty name in the forefront of NASCAR. We ask that all of the King's fans join with us.
"Our goal is to get the cowboy hat and sunglasses back in Victory Lane."
The driver lineup is not exactly clear, less than a month before teams head to Florida for the season-opening Daytona 500. Kasey Kahne is GEM's star driver, and Reed Sorenson signed on to join the team this season.
Elliott Sadler, the third driver with the organization, was reportedly told he will not drive for the team in 2009. Instead, GEM is believed to be negotiating with AJ Allmendinger, who drove the final five races of last year in GEM's No. 10 Dodge.
An attorney for Sadler, who signed a contract extension last summer, indicated the driver will go to court in an effort to keep his ride.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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