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Tag Archives: Richard Petty

Frontstretch Podcast: Breaking Down 200 Victories for Kyle Busch & Richard Petty, Chris Buescher Chats Hot Start

In this week’s edition of the Frontstretch Podcast, Dustin Albino and Mike Neff break down the difference in the 200 race victories for Kyle Busch and Richard Petty with a pile of statistics, after Busch joined the 200 club last weekend at Auto Club Speedway. Without necessarily comparing the two, we dig into what …

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Racing And Politics: Not A Good Mix

Who will win the 2008 presidential election is still anybody's guess. But when it comes to NASCAR, who they _want_ to win isn't even in question these days. Considering the rash of “honorary” guests from John McCain’s presidential campaign team recently attending Sprint Cup events, the sanctioning body clearly is supporting the Republican Party ticket, and is willing to offer its services to their effort to win the White House. What NASCAR is serving up to their political party of choice is a captive audience of 100,000 motorsports fans that really came to watch a race, but are getting -- whether they want it or not -- a low-key partisan political rally as well. However, truth be told, the majority of fans in attendance have no objection to the not-so-subtle support of the Republican presidential ticket at the races.

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Richard Petty: Long Live The King – And Rightfully So

Two weeks ago at Chicagoland Speedway, the Petty Enterprises cars of Bobby and Terry Labonte carried special paint schemes to commemorate the first race ever run by NASCAR's winningest driver -- the man most refer to simply as "The King." It was on July 12, 1958 that a 21-year-old kid named Richard Petty, with "Squirrel Jr." scrawled out on his fenders, made his debut at Columbia Speedway in Columbia, SC, in NASCAR’s convertible division. King Richard finished sixth that day, taking home $800 for his efforts in what was a clean, respectable outing to begin his racing resume. That wouldn’t even buy you a set of Goodyear Eagles in today’s world; but back in 1958, it wasn’t all that bad for an afternoon’s work. But little did anyone know there were plenty more respectable results ahead -- and most of them coming with a far bigger paycheck. 50 years and 200 Cup Series wins later, that day served as a humble beginning to a career that would transcend eight American presidents, two major wars, and the transition of NASCAR from a regional underground pastime of moonshine runners to the forefront of corporate America — and the sporting world as a whole.

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Drivers I Never Got To See, But Wish I Had

My first week in the States, I watched a "Beyond the Glory" program which focused on NFL quarterback Kurt Warner. Not knowing his story — remember, I’m a transplanted Brit — I was mesmerized by Warner’s meteoric rise from shelf stacker to Super Bowl MVP. Whether you like the guy or not, it would be churlish to deny his is an incredible "against all odds" tale — the very sort that makes sport so compelling to all of us. After coming so late (and so fast) into NASCAR, one of the most enjoyable parts of learning the sport has been researching the history of drivers and teams long past. Already through this column, I’ve exchanged email with a man whose father took him to the very earliest races on Daytona Beach -- a reminder that the sport's beginnings are still not forgotten 60 years after NASCAR began in 1948. I’ve learned quickly that there are many legendary drivers I’ve already missed out on, and so many stories that have already played out.

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Driven to the Past: The Days of Side Windows, Quarter Glass and Wing Vents

I mentioned in the TV column a week or so back that the last time I was on a pit crew, we had side windows, quarter glass, and wing vents. That led to a phone call asking "When were you on a pit crew?" Well, this is really driven to the past, because the last time I was pressed into service by somebody who needed help was in 1985. I'll admit that we didn't have all those things then, but until then it had been at least 15 years prior since I'd done it. I was on the first K&K Insurance pit crew at Daytona in 1966. The car was a 1965 Dodge Coronet, owned by Nord Kraskopf of K&K, and the crew chief was on old friend from Louisville, Harry Hyde.

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Matt McLaughlin Mouths Off: Bruton Smith and Your Cheating Heart

You have to love the way Bruton Smith and SMS operate. After his savage late race wreck at Vegas, Jeff Gordon called out track owner Bruton Smith. Gordon said the infield opening wall area where he'd crashed was dangerous. He said the track needed to install the SAFER barriers on any unprotected concrete wall on the inside of the track. To make sure his comments got some play in the media, Gordon added that the Las Vegas track should not be allowed to host another NASCAR event until the needed improvements were made. That had to sting Smith who used his first race weekend of the year to make a full court press for a second date at Vegas. What Smith did next was extraordinary. He said that Jeff Gordon was absolutely right. It was a terrible oversight by SMS management not to have already installed the barriers where the out of control 24 car augured in. And he said simply that before the next NASCAR race at the track (a CTS event this fall), the track will be fully lined with SAFER barriers and the suspect infield entrance will be reworked.

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Five Good NASCAR Role Models

It seems like every couple of weeks during the season, the headline the day after a Sprint Cup event announcing the race winner is shared by either the newest physical altercation, one driver "trash talking" another, or unnecessary rough driving being committed by a competitor. Although I do believe NASCAR attempts to keep behavior at an "acceptable" level, I am not naive enough to understand that the sanctioning body knows a little public controversy can be good, as long as people spell the name right (note to the stick and ball reporters out there: it's spelled N-A-S-C-A-R). Anyways, as long as I hold onto that belief, it makes it easier for me to understand why the sport does not put a stop to about 90% of such shenanigans. It certainly is not because they the sport is helpless to reign in their "bad actors." We all know they can do that! But still…they don't. And judging by Brian France's comments in January, in which he claimed the sport "needed to get back to its roots," I don't expect that to happen anytime soon.

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