NASCAR Sprint All-Star RacePit Note # 5
Pettys Celebrate 50 Years In NASCAR (cont.)
"The first cup race I ever run, we went to Canada which was the third race I ever run. It has been a heck of a ride all these years. There have been so many, many people involved in it. A lot of things have happened in 50 years. It took a lot of people to make it work. We sat in the middle of something that started 50 years ago. Interest in it grew a little at a time, and it is what it is today. We are just glad to have made it 50 years. We were part of NASCAR when it was growing and are just real proud of it."
Kyle Petty also noted how he has grown up with the sport and The King. "This is a strange situation," said Kyle. "It's incredible that we have somebody like my father still a part of this sport. I look at it from that side. From the outside looking in, I say what a cool person to have grown up with the sport, from the genesis of the sport. From that first start to have raced with people like the Flock brothers, and guys like that; and then with Cale Yarborough, Buddy Baker, and David Pearson; and then guys like Earnhardt Sr. and Terry Labonte; and then the new faces that are here now. When you talk to him, he has a different perspective on a lot of things. He has a teenager's perspective at one end of the spectrum, and a veteran's perspective at the other end. That's the cool part with him. The other part for me is the family thing. Myself and my three sisters and mom beating it up and down the highway in the back of a station wagon to go to a race; to be where he was at. There are so many fond memories we have as a family, and I think that is what this sport has meant to me. He has portrayed this sport as a family sport - what it was and what it is. There are not many guys that were around from the very beginning, that are still here today. And that is a precious thing we have here in this sport. I call him The King just because I worked in the race shop and that's what everybody else in the race shop called him. When you are nine or 10 years old and you call the boss man ‘daddy,' you get your butt kicked on a regular basis. So it was just simpler to call him The King. But when you are around home, he is my daddy. And that's the way it is."
"There is no finer ambassador in the world for stock car racing, and NASCAR than Richard Petty is." said NASCAR announcer Barney Hall, who was the master of ceremonies for the announcement. "He has given us all a lot of memories, a lot of thrills for a lot of years. I think that when I got into this business, he was the only driver that would talk to me."