Author Topic: Welcome Back, Kyle Petty  (Read 2605 times)

Quack

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Welcome Back, Kyle Petty
« on: May 28, 2007, 01:51:26 PM »
It was really quite a joy to watch Casey Mears get his first career victory Sunday night in the Coca-Cola 600.  Having grown up a huge fan of his uncle (4-time Indy 500 winner Rick Mears) over in CART way back in the early 80s, I've always secretly pulled for Casey to do well.  It was angering, at best, to watch as two wins were ripped from him at the end of the 2005 season (Texas and Homestead, November, 2005).  He truly got the raw end of the deal on both occasions.  But this time, the trophy went home with him.  Congratulations, Casey.

All of that said, I think the thing I enjoyed the most was seeing Kyle Petty come home in third, his first Top 5 in almost 10 years, dating back to September 1997 at Dover International Speedway.  Curiously enough, KP also finished 3rd that day, driving the #44 Hot Wheels car.  While his finish doesn't exactly mean that Kyle is poised to make The Chase, it is definitely indicative that Petty Enterprises, NASCAR's most storied organization, has indeed made marked improvements in their efforts to return to the top tier of teams.

At the end of the 2005 season, both Richard Petty and Kyle Petty stated that they were intent on righting the ship and turning their teams into contenders again.  I, like many others, heard the words but didn't put much faith in them.  After all, we've watched year after year as Petty Enterprises fell further and further behind the "big boys".  Then came three big announcements:

1. Bobby Labonte signed on to drive the famed #43
2. The prodigal son, Robbie Loomis, returned home after spending six seasons as Jeff Gordon's crew chief
3. Todd Parrott was signed to crew chief the #43

While the third item turned out to be a better deal on paper than it was in the garage, the combination of these three announcements was the first indication in many, many years that the Petty organization was serious about putting the money on the table to bring top-notch talent to their shop.  The rebuilding process had officially begun.

After Parrott bailed, Paul Andrews was brought in to crew chief for Labonte.  Billy Wilburn signed on to call the shots on the #45 for Kyle.  The numbers don't lie, P.E. has dramatically improved over the last season-and-a-half.  And now a Top 5 many years overdue.

Now, a lot of people pull for the Petty family because of The King and his unfathomable record of 200 wins.  His is a record that will *never* be threatened.  It is virtually guaranteed that no one will ever come within even 90 wins of his mark, and quite possibly not even within 100 (other than David "The Silver Fox" Pearson who retired with 105 wins).  For those "old guard" fans, watching Kyle and Company have a great run was reminiscent of days gone by.

However, I am not one of those fans.  You see, I am not a Richard Petty fan.  Not in the least.  I greatly respect his talent and his record, but back in the day I enjoyed watching him lose a race.  Not only did I enjoy watching him lose, but I enjoyed watching his company fall by the wayside while others left Petty Enterprises in their dust.

They say that with age comes maturity.  Now I'm not delusional enough to believe that I've achieved much maturity, but I can say this for sure: I have lived long enough and studied enough to know that Kyle and Patti Petty are two of the greatest human beings that have ever graced this planet.  Their benevolent spirit and their great love for serving others more than self was quite possibly surpassed only by that of their son, the late Adam Petty.  Mature well beyond his years, this world will never be the same as a result of the nineteen short years that Adam was with us.  And now, Kyle and Patti are carrying on his dream, which has taken the form of Victory Junction Gang Camp.  I would strongly urge you to join in with the Pettys and support their efforts in any and every way you possibly can.

Kyle, from a fan who longs for the day that he can meet you and sit down and share in your warmth and candor, welcome back.  You are greatly loved and respected.  Thank you for doing all of the things that you do and giving all that you give.  You, sir, are the epitome of what a man should be.  If I can end up half the man that you are, I will have lived a worthwhile life.  I do have one request though: please, please, please, don't hang up the helmet yet.  We need you.  NASCAR needs you.


canuck speed freak

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Re: Welcome Back, Kyle Petty
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2007, 02:01:20 AM »
I must wholeheartedly agree with your post, I had always rooted against the King, except the last few years, and must add that Richard, was as great as you say Patti and Kyle are. He was the best with all fans, and the popularity of Nascar has a lot to do with the whole Petty Family.
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Hendrick 4 Ever

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Re: Welcome Back, Kyle Petty
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2007, 02:28:49 AM »
I agree it is nice to see Casey get his win :)

I also think P.E. is starting to come back, but on Speed Kyle said that the car was their *BEST* piece they had. So I think that he will return to 25-30th place finishes. I also think that it is a big mistake to put Chad in the car, even if it is for one race, atleast John has experience and has worked at P.E. before, but Chad will most likely use up the points gained this  week.

Quack

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Re: Welcome Back, Kyle Petty
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2007, 08:32:42 AM »
Richard, was as great as you say Patti and Kyle are. He was the best with all fans, and the popularity of Nascar has a lot to do with the whole Petty Family.

I agree.  While I stated that I have never been a fan of Richard's, I was referring to *on* the track.  Away from the track, as you said, he is a stellar human being. :)

Quack

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Re: Welcome Back, Kyle Petty
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2007, 08:50:45 AM »
I think that he will return to 25-30th place finishes.

No arguments there.  However, he did hover around 15th most of the night, one lap down as a result of getting a piece of one of the early wrecks (none of his own doing).  Once he got his lap back though, he was a Top 10 car the rest of the night.  Case in point:

Lap 266: caution, gets Lucky Dog
Lap 271: green flag, restarts 14th, tail-end of the longest line (with only 14 cars on the lead lap, that means he restarted -well- behind the 13th place car, since only a handful of cars were out of the race at that point)
Lap 289: caution, restarts 8th
Lap 337: caution, running 11th
Lap 341: green flag, restarts 8th
Lap 345: falls to 10th
Lap 380: splash-n-go stops begin
Lap 400: checkers, finishes 3rd

So, while it may well have been their best car, it most certainly was a competitive car, and he didn't just "get lucky" with his Top 10.  The fact that he raced his way back up there was refreshing to see.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2007, 08:53:16 AM by Quack »

canuck speed freak

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Re: Welcome Back, Kyle Petty
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2007, 01:15:16 AM »
After getting a free pass, you must start as you said, the end of the longest line, Quack. so Kyle raced from dead last on the track, to third.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2007, 01:17:03 AM by canuck speed freak »
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wendyrlfg

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Re: Welcome Back, Kyle Petty
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2007, 10:12:54 PM »
Great job by Kyle I could tell many great stories abour meeting him  - but most important I see Robby Loomis,Bobby Labonte & Kyle going somewhere in the near future