Petty Enterprises merged with Gillett Evernham Motorsports in 2009 to form Richard Petty Motorsports.
Petty Enterprises is one of NASCAR’s many racing teams and is owned by Richard Petty as well as his son Kyle Petty. Petty Enterprises is based in Randleman, North Carolina. Richard and Kyle supervise the operations of their two NEXTEL Cup Dodge Chargers: the number 45 Marathon Petroleum Company Dodge, which Kyle Petty drives himself and the number 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge, driven by Bobby Labonte. It was 1969 when the team was officially named Petty Enterprises. Throughout NASCAR’s history, Petty Enterprises has always been know and famous for its success, but in recent years they have been struggling.
The team has been operating as far back as 1949 when Richard Petty’s father, Lee Petty, first formed Lee Petty Engineering as a NASCAR Grand National Division team with the number 42. Not only was the company formed that year but also the team won their first win at Heidelberg Raceway, finishing second in points that season. 1950 and 1951 saw Petty’s team win one race each season with a victorious three wins in 1952. With this success the team expanded by incorporating another vehicle, the Plymouth, which Jimmie Lewallen drove. The following years saw a major increase in races won by Petty Enterprises. By 1979 the team had won 10 championships in NASCAR premier series.
From 1980 to 1984 Richard Petty drove hard and won several races, but from there on till his retirement he did not win another race. This bad fortune did not stop there, it continued after Richard’s retirement with Petty Enterprises only winning another three races. In 2006 Petty Enterprises hired Bobby Labonte, after he won the NEXTEL Cup, to drive the #43 car and hired Robbie Loomis, who had served as a crew chief for Jeff Gordon, to be executive vice president.
The Petty Family created the number 43 car, hence its name Petty Blue. The blue color is distinct and was created apparently by mistake because of not having enough paint to cover the whole car. It was rumored that the famous paint scheme came about when Richard Petty would not allow sponsors to sponsor his car unless they agreed to keep part of the car blue and the rest they could paint STP Red.
Kyle Petty is a successful NASCAR driver, descending and descendent from a line of racers going back to his grandfather Lee Petty. Not only is NASCAR driver Kyle Petty known for his racing achievements but he is also a respected business executive and an outstanding example in the community.
Kyle Petty was born in Randleman of North Carolina, USA on 2 June 1960. His father Richard Petty and grandfather Lee Petty were already big names in the world of NASCAR. A fine sportsman from a young age, Petty was offered a number of scholarships because of his baseball, basketball and football skills. He was even told by an agent in Nashville that he had the potential to become a country music star. Despite this, racing was his chosen career.
In 1979 Kyle Petty began his career in NASCAR. His first race, the Daytona ARCA 200, saw him steering his stock car to victory. Petty also raced in 5 Cup races that same year, even making it into the top-10. The 3rd generation NASCAR driver began his full Cup racing schedule in 1981. That year he came in 12th with his points. Before the 1985 season Kyle Petty left Petty Enterprises to join the Wood Brothers. In 1986 Petty scored his first win at a race in Richmond of Virginia. He ranked 10th in 1986 and moved up to 7th in 1987. Petty raced for SABCO between 1990 and 1997. Two highlights in Petty’s career were when he came 5th in point standings for 1992 and 1993. He decided to take his team back to Level Cross in 1998. In that year he was named NASCAR USG Person of the Year. Petty continues to race under the banner of Petty Enterprises.
Beyond NASCAR driving, Kyle Petty is involved in a number of community and charity programs. To honor his charitable contributions he was given the title True Value “Man of the Year” in 1998 as well as the NASCAR Winston Cup Illustrated’s “Person of the Year” award in 1999. Petty established the Kyle Petty’s Charity Ride Across America in 1995. This ride is held in aid of a number of children’s charities. Other charities with which Petty is associated are the NEXTEL Cup Racing Wives Auxiliary, Boy Scouts of America and Make-A-Wish Foundation. Why not join in making a contribution to one of Kyle Petty’s charitable projects.
The Old Spice Prelude to the Dream racing event is hosted by the Eldora Speedway, which is owned by Tony Stewart. It is an event which sees twenty-five of the world’s greatest drivers donating their time and skill for the charities that the Old Spice Prelude to the Dream raises funds, and to take on their racing counterparts in a day of fun and excitement. Here, spectators can see their favorite drivers take on the dirt track in late model stock cars. But do not be fooled, these old cars can put out more than eight hundred horsepower, and ensure that the racing is as thrilling and exciting to take part in as it is to watch.
The first charity, the Victory Junction Gang Camp, is an organization that was envisioned by a teenage stock car driver named Adam Petty. Together with his parents, Kyle and Pattie, Adam approached Paul Newman, founder of Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, for advice and assistance with his dream. Tragically, Adam was killed at New Hampshire International Speedway in 2000, but his parents kept his dream alive and opened the Victory Junction Gang Camp in 2004. NASCAR driver Kurt Busch got very involved in the camp that offers children who are terminally ill or suffering from life threatening diseases a camp where they can have fun, exercise and make memories, at a facility that has a medical clinic on hand and all the activities they can dream of.
Tony Stewart established the Tony Stewart Foundation approximately five years ago, and has been assisting various organizations in need of help. In the eyes of Tony Stewart, drivers and their families, homeless and abused animals, and children in need of help are as important as the next and his foundation aids them all. Old Spice has been sponsoring Tony Stewart since 1999, and saw the Old Spice Prelude to the Dream as a worthy event to sponsor.
This year, on 4 June 2008, spectators and those watching on HBO Pay-Per-View, can look forward to a star studded racing event that includes Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Kenny Wallace, Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Robby Gordon, Ray Evernham, J.J. Yeley, Bobby Labonte, Matt Kenseth, David Reutimann, Red Farmer, Ken Schrader, Aric Almirola, Cruz Pedregon, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin, Clint Bowyer, Dave Blaney, Ron Capps and Bill Elliot. These drivers that come from various driving backgrounds and disciplines will man their stock cars to take part in heat races, hot laps, qualifiers and the feature race, which is a thirty lap race. It is all in the name of a trophy, supremacy, fun and a good cause.
The nature of the sport of auto racing dictates that drivers need to be fiercely competitive on the racetrack – after all, there can only be one winner. NASCAR drivers are no exception to the rule and a competitive spirit is part of everyday life in auto racing circles.
The situation is very different off-track however, as drivers and their teams are united by the common goal of raising funds for charity through the NASCAR Foundation. The NASCAR Foundation reflects the compassion of the NASCAR family by actively supporting communities through a wide range of charitable projects and fund-raising events.
A major fund-raising initiative is “NASCAR Day” which is held annually in May on the Friday prior to the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge. This is a one-day celebration of the NASCAR spirit, with participants receiving a commemorative NASCAR Day pin in exchange for a $5 donation. NASCAR Day is well supported by a host of corporate companies as well as individual fans. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of the State of California has pledged his support in acknowledgement of the good achieved by the NASCAR Foundation with regard to their charitable initiatives that are in the interests of children, the environment, welfare of animals and other worthy causes.
One of the charitable initiatives that benefits from the NASCAR Foundation’s generosity is the Victory Junction Gang Camp which aims to enrich the lives of children who suffer with chronic and serious illnesses. Exciting, fun and empowering camping experiences are offered in a safe and medically sound environment. Children who attend the Victory Junction Gang Camp have the benefit of a swimming pool, computer lab, games room and a large outdoor recreation area, as well as a medical clinic. The groups are kept relatively small in order to give each child personal attention.
The concept of the Victory Junction Gang Camp was initiated by Adam Petty, a teenage stock-car driver from a family with a long auto racing history. Sadly, Adam Petty was killed in a practice crash on 12 May 2000. His parents, Kyle and Pattie, resolved to see Adam’s vision through and after four years of fund-raising and building, the Victory Junction Gang Camp was opened on 20 June 2004. Fittingly, the address of the Victory Junction Gang Camp is 4500 Adam’s Way.
Continuing donations through the efforts of the NASCAR Foundation allow the Victory Junction Game Camp and other charitable organizations to continue bringing joy to hundreds of children.