Marcos Ambrose, Aric Almirola will return to Richard Petty Motorsports in 2013

Ed Zurga

Richard Petty Motorsports is sticking with its current driver lineup for 2013.

Marcos Ambrose and Aric Almirola have both re-signed with RPM, the team announced Saturday morning. There had been speculation Almirola's job in the No. 43 car was in trouble, but the driver's improvement after a crew chief change last month was enough to secure his ride for next season.

"I think when we made the crew chief change that put his stock up," team co-owner Richard Petty said Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "We found out it wasn't a one-sided deal. We kept blaming him for some of the stuff that was going on and it wasn't but half of it his fault."

As for Ambrose, Petty said the team wasn't sure how long the Australian wanted to race in America before eventually returning home. Both drivers are on a one-year deal.

RPM swapped crews earlier in the season – moving crew chiefs Mike Ford and Todd Parrott from one driver to the other – then later released Ford and hired Drew Blickensderfer to crew chief for Ambrose.

"We've seen improvement with the movements that we've made," Petty said. "Maybe some of the finishes aren't there, but the running has been better and the shop has been a lot better, so I think we'll pretty well stay with the setup we've got now.

"That's the reason we were wanting to make some changes here at the end of the year. We felt if we made changes this year and kind of get them working together to begin with, then you find out whether it's gonna work or not. ... That was one reason why it's been kind of screwed up the last six months: We were basically looking toward '13."

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