When the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro arrives in Kansas for the Buschy McBusch Race 400, it will feature a new primary sponsor. The NASCAR team announced on Tuesday a multi-year deal with The Lonely Entrepreneur, a New York-based non-profit organization. TLE provides individuals with entrepreneurial skills and support through the TLE Learning Community, an extensive online learning and community platform.
The deal will make TLE the primary sponsor for three races in the 2021 season, as well as an associate partner for the remainder of the schedule. The new paint scheme will debut during Sunday’s race at Kansas, and it will remain on the No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro for trips to Circuit of The Americas on May 23 and Nashville Superspeedway on June 20.
“Richard Petty Motorsports is committed to using our voice and our platform to continue to champion our commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion everywhere,” Brian Moffitt, chief executive officer for Richard Petty Motorsports, said in a press release. “As a team, we continue to carry our message of compassion, love and understanding.”
TLE and RPM will use the partnership to benefit entrepreneurs
As part of the announcement, TLE revealed that a limited number of Black entrepreneurs can immediately sign up for free access to the learning platfrom. The first 1,000 Black entrepreneurs to register on the official website can apply and receive access to the entrepreneurial platform. They will also have one year of free access to the Learning Community.
@thelonelye & @RPMotorsports have created a ground breaking partnership to bring awareness to the #BlackEntrepreneurInitiative! #RPM is committed to providing #smallbusinesses with solutions for their most pressing issues. https://t.co/Hrv4AhAnty pic.twitter.com/947GTvnE9r
— The Lonely Entrepreneur (@thelonelye) April 27, 2021
“We cannot change social and economic justice overnight, but we can empower Black men and women to be entrepreneurs today,” added Michael Dermer, chief executive officer and founder of TLE. “Richard Petty has broken ground in racing and beyond for years. Richard Petty Motorsports will do so again with this groundbreaking partnership to help Black men and women to start and grow businesses.”
According to the press release, TLE has the goal of empowering “100,000 Black entrepreneurs by providing entrepreneurial skills and support with free access to the Learning Community.” The non-profit also set the goal of providing 43,000 Black entrepreneurs with access to the Learning Community by 2022.
The latest partnership highlights RPM’s continued focus on celebrating diversity
Throughout his career as a team owner, “The King” Richard Petty has put an emphasis on celebrating diversity and empowering others. The race team has partnered with the United States Air Force for 13 years, resulting in several special paint schemes. The latest example is a scheme honoring the Tuskegee Airmen, the first Black military aviators in the U.S. Army Air Corps.
Erik Jones, the driver of the No. 43, honored the Tuskegee Airmen while competing in Sunday’s Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. He put the special paint scheme on full display while racing near the front of the pack. Jones had the lead for seven laps and came within reach of another top-10 finish, but a wreck on the final lap resulted in a 27th-place finish.
As a homage to the original trailblazers, the Tuskegee Airmen, @Erik_Jones' No. 43 @USAFRecruiting Chevy isn’t just a visual cue, but a reminder that great things can happen when we celebrate our differences!
— Richard Petty Motorsports (@RPMotorsports) April 20, 2021
Prior to Jones joining RPM for the 2021 season, Petty and his team worked with the Cup Series’ only Black driver. RPM put Bubba Wallace in the driver’s seat of the iconic No. 43 during the 2018 season, resulting in a second-place finish in the Daytona 500. Wallace spent three full-time Cup seasons with RPM, making 108 starts and posting three top-five finishes.
Wallace left RPM after the 2020 season to join Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin at the newly-formed 23XI Racing. Jones replaced him in the No. 43 and posted two top-five finishes in the first 10 races. Now Jones will push for another top finish during Sunday’s race at Kansas Speedway. He will do so while promoting The Lonely Entrepreneur.