Kyle Petty to be Enshrined in Little League Museum Hall of Excellence: The name "Petty" is synonymous with auto racing in America and is arguably the most recognizable name in the sport. But, Kyle Petty also understands that he would not be in the position he is in without the hard work of other people. He also understands the need to give back to society and how living your life the right way sets a positive example for others. So it is fitting Little League Baseball and Softball will honor Mr. Petty with enshrinement in the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum's Hall of Excellence during the 64th Little League Baseball World Series this month in South Williamsport, Pa. Mr. Petty will attend the Little League Baseball World Series and be present for his induction in the Little League Museum Hall of Excellence. The induction ceremony will take place on Aug. 29 prior to the World Championship game which is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.(Little Legue Online)(8-13-2010)
Kyle Petty to appear on HLN show: Robin Meade teams up with sports talent from TBS and TNT for a year-end special like no other of an episode of With All Due Respect. Charles Barkley, Kyle Petty and Dennis Eckersley -- sports icons who aren't afraid to speak their minds -- lead a panel of special guests for a no-holds-barred look at the headlines from 2009. Tune in for the one-hour special on Sunday, December 20th at 10:00pm/et & pm/pt on CNN's Headline News.(HLN)(12-17-2009)
Richard comments on Kyle's remarks: from a Dodge Motorsports NSCS Teleconference Transcript:
KYLE (PETTY) WAS VERY VOCAL DURING DAYTONA REGARDING THE 44’s PAINT SCHEME, HAVE YOU TALKED TO HIM ABOUT HIS COMMENTS?
A: "It kind of upset him because that’s where he started. He started with the 44 car at Daytona and was lucky enough to win the race. When we did our deal with Boston Ventures, we never had a place for Kyle at Petty Enterprises. He sort of got out of the loop. When he got out of the loop, he’s been doing his own thing…he run the 24 (Rolex 24) and doing some TV. I’ve not seen him since Christmas. He’s been so busy, I’ve been so busy. He got snow-bound in Pittsburgh for a few days one time; we just really never have gotten together. I’ve really not talked to him. I spoke to him a couple of times on the phone; you can’t get much done on the phone. He talked to his mother. He was really crushed that we didn’t include him in that part of it, and I can understand that. We were so busy trying to get our end of the deal done and make it work with a new team that it fell through the crack and I’m sorry that it did."(Dodge Motorsport PR)(2-18-2009)
Petty not happy bout merger: Kyle Petty is displeased with the way Petty Enterprises was consumed by Gillett Evernham Motorsports — then renamed Richard Petty Motorsports — and was "crushed" the new team co-opted a bit of his personal history.
"Petty Enterprises ceased to exist when it left (ancestral home) Level Cross, N.C.," said Petty, who does not have a Sprint Cup ride for the first time since 1979. "It further ceased to exist whenever the other group bought it, and that's just a fact of life." But Petty was perhaps most irked by RPM's move to use, without consultation, a No. 44 Dodge for A.J. Allmendinger with the paint scheme Petty bore in winning in his first start, a 1979 ARCA race at Daytona. Petty drove the #44 at Petty Enterprises until his son Adam was killed in 2000, then he switched to his son's #45. "I was crushed. I was hurt and I'm not going to get over it for a while," Petty, 48, said. "And that's a personal thing. That's me. That's not … anything to do with anything else. That was my paint job and my car and my number and my stuff from my first win. Not for Petty Enterprises or GEM or whoever that is."(St Petersburg Times)(2-15-2009)
Wells Fargo Sponsorship goes away: Kyle Petty raced a limited schedule in 2008 before the company merged with Gillett Evernham Motorsports last month. The result of the merger is a four-car team that will race this season under the name Richard Petty Motorsports, and without Petty behind the wheel. Petty also said that Wells Fargo & Co. effectively ended its sponsorship of the driver after its deal in October to acquire Wachovia Corp. “With all the things that have gone on in the banking industry and with their merger with Wachovia, they’ve taken a step back,” Petty said. “At worst it went away. At best, it’s on hold.” (Bloomberg)(2-13-2009)
No Ride for Kyle Petty: Kyle Petty said he had a couple of opportunities for rides, but they weren't worthwhile. "I'm not at the stage where I want to come down and beat your head against the wall and be there," he said. "I've been doing that for the last five or six years, coming down here with cars that were uncompetitive. I don't want to get in somebody else's car that is uncompetitive. I just ended up without a ride. I'm on the other side of the fence looking in, but not at my choice." Petty drove in the 24-hour race at Daytona last month, but mechanical issues limited him to one shift. He plans to compete in more road races, but he's uncertain which ones. He also will be back as an analyst with TNT for its six Cup broadcasts in June and July, which will keep him from racing during that period. While Petty sits out, he continues his work with the Victory Junction Gang Camp. A second camp, which will be located in the Kansas City area, is expected to have its groundbreaking around September.(Virginian-Pilot)(2-7-2009)
GEM is now RPM: At the top of Richard Petty's list of deal-breakers when merger talks began between Petty Enterprises and Gillett Evernham Motorsports was to keep the Petty name in the title of the new company. He got his wish. The fourth Sprint Cup organization will be known as Richard Petty Motorsports and keep basically the same blue-and-red logo that symbolized Petty Enterprise for the past 60 years. "We come out to let the world know we're still in the racing business and we're going to be bigger and better than we've ever been," Petty said Monday during an unveiling of the new logo on the first day of NASCAR's Media Tour. Petty also asked that the #44 be kept along with the famous #43 in the transaction. The #44 will replace the #10 as the fourth car that belonged to GEM. AJ Allmendinger will drive in the first five races and is slated to run at least seven in the #44, a number the Pettys reclaimed from Michael Waltrip Racing after this past season. The #44 was driven by Kyle Petty until he switched to the #45 in 2000 in memory of his son, Adam, who was killed driving that number during a Nationwide Series practice session. The #44 was used sparingly by the Pettys from 2000 to 2003, and then was transferred to MWR in 2007 for Dale Jarrett. Petty said Budweiser, which sponsors Kasey Kahne and had logos on the other GEM cars prior to the merger, will not be on the 43 or 44. It has been a Petty tradition going back to Richard's mother not to have alcohol-related sponsors on the cars. "My mother would come back and haunt us home," Petty said of what would happen if Budweiser showed on up the 43 or 44.(ESPN)(1-19-2009)
Petty would like to find Cup ride: [Kyle] Petty's plans for the 2009 season include driving in some Grand American races and continuing his television work. He also would like to obtain a Cup ride, but he knows that his efforts could be harmed by the economic downturn.(Associated Press/ESPN)(1-11-2009)
Petty & Gillett Evernham Motorsports Announce Agreement To Merge: Gillett Evernham Motorsports (GEM) and Petty Holdings announced an agreement in principle to form a new NASCAR Sprint Cup team co-owned by Richard Petty, Petty Holdings, owned by majority shareholder Boston Ventures, and Gillett Evernham Motorsports. The team will field four Dodge entries in the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Details of the transaction are expected once the deal is closed. Petty and GEM officials anticipate a final agreement by the end of January. Some notes:
* The new team plans to run a fourth Dodge in eight races in the 2009 season including the Budweiser Shootout with additional races contingent on sponsorship.
* Ray Evernham retains a minority ownership role with the new team.
* Richard Petty and Petty Holdings will continue to own and operate the Richard Petty Driving Experience as an independent entity.
* Key Petty employees Robbie Loomis, Dale Inman and Brian Moffitt will also have active roles with the new team.
* The new team will use the GEM race shops in Statesville, N.C. and engine shop in Concord, N.C.
* GEM and Petty sponsors will continue with the new organization.(Gillett Evernham PR)(1-8-2009)
Dodge: smaller budget, less team, high hopes: Although it will have fewer cars on the track and fewer promotional displays in cutting 30 percent of its NASCAR budget, Dodge has not cut back its Sprint Cup research and development for the 2009 season. The automaker hopes that even with fewer cars, it will have better results after a season where it failed to put a car in the Chase For The Sprint Cup. With Chip Ganassi Racing’s merger with Dale Earnhardt Inc. eliminating three Cup teams from where Dodge started in 2008, Dodge has at least one fewer organization to support in 2009. Dodge could end up with only six cars next season if the pending Gillett Evernham Motorsports-Petty Enterprises merger eliminates two more from the manufacturer’s stable, which also included Robby Gordon in 2008. That leaves three cars at Penske Racing [#2,#12,#77] and three or four at the GEM-Petty consolidation [#9,#10?,#19,#43]. “You want to have a portfolio of drivers that can at any given time deliver a top-five or a victory,” said Mike Accavitti, director of the Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep brands. “We feel with the lineup that we have remaining that we can do that. … The seven cars that we have – or eight cars or six cars or whatever it ends up to be – will be sufficient. We can give Dodge customers a good show. We can give NASCAR fans a good show and we can represent the brand well.” Accavitti said that his budget was set and would not get increased by the authorization of the bridge loan for Chrysler. He said it will remain at 30% below 2008, just as it was planned prior to President George W. Bush’s approval of the loan last month. “The entire operation was contingent upon the bridge loans being passed,” he said. “It was a critical element for the viability of our company and we’re very appreciative to have that behind us and be able to move forward."(SceneDaily)(1-8-2009)
NO news on the GEM-Petty merger UPDATE: The expected Petty Enterprises-Gillett Evernham Motorsports merger likely won’t be announced Monday, and the Petty Enterprises shop was fairly quiet. There were only about 15 cars parked in the Petty parking lot Monday morning. Sources have indicated that the team has laid off most of its employees. It is expected that the two teams will merge, with Petty’s famed #43 car joining the GEM stable. With the #43 car guaranteed a spot in the first five races of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season and GEM’s #10 not guaranteed a position [but could move up with 2-3 others teams dropping out due to the Ganassi-DEI merger and BDR sell], the #43 could be driven by Reed Sorenson, who has already signed to drive for GEM. GEM also could face a lawsuit over its driver stable. Elliott Sadler, who reportedly has been dropped in favor of AJ Allmendinger, has filed a notice with North Carolina Superior Court in Statesville, N.C., that claims that GEM breached its contract with Sadler. GEM spokesman Drew Brown said Monday the company has no comment on the legal filing and that no announcements were planned for today [Monday].(SceneDaily)(1-6-2009)
UPDATE: Petty Enterprises cars were in the wind tunnel just a week before the organization’s officials told employees they would be laid off and that the team shop was shutting down, according to crew chief Stewart Cooper. Cooper, who was crew chief for the organization’s #45 Sprint Cup car for much of last season, said he wasn’t bitter with the way things ended at Petty. He said virtually all of the remaining 38 employees were laid off, with only Petty Enterprises Executive Vice President Robbie Loomis and a couple of others remaining. The organization is expected to merge with Gillett Evernham Motorsports, with an announcement expected as early as this week. “As of [early] last week we were working as if we were going to Daytona. … I really feel like it’s nobody’s fault,” Cooper said Tuesday night. “It’s just the way the dice fell this time. [Those of us laid off] will have to work through it and move on.” Cooper said he didn’t expect himself nor many of the former Petty employees to get hired by the new team, which is expected to work out of the Gillett Evernham shop in Statesville, N.C. “I left [my status] up to Robbie Loomis,” Cooper said. “I didn’t have any major conversations with Robbie about it. I really don’t think they’re going to take too many people up there. They had a full staff anyway [at GEM]."(SceneDaily)(1-7-2009)
New ride for Petty? UPDATE denied: hearing that after the Daytona 500 with James Hylton, the #08 EM Motorsports team will run Kyle Petty in up to 14 races with sponsorship from Wells Fargo and others TBA.(1-2-2009)
UPDATE: been told that this is not true and nothing is signed.(1-2-2008)
Petty-GEM merger done deal? UPDATE: Multiple sources have confirmed that Petty Enterprises racing will shut its doors and merge with the team currently known as Gillett Evernham Motorsports. A deal was inked between Petty Enterprises and team owner George Gillett on Christmas Eve, but the terms of that agreement have yet to be divulged. The venerable #43 Dodge covered with the trademarked Petty blue glaze will become part of the Gillett stable with Reed Sorenson expected to be behind the wheel. A formal announcement is expected early next week. Most of the remaining 39 employees at Petty Enterprises will conclude their duties at the Mooresville-based shop on Wednesday. The company moved from its original shop adjacent to the Petty homestead in Level Cross, N.C., in January to what was formerly the Yates Racing complex. Robbie Loomis, Petty Executive VP of Racing Operations, is expected to assume a managerial role under the new partnership, which will likely be rebranded under the Petty banner. Former car chief Ray Fox Jr. will assume a similar role at JTG-Daugherty Racing with the #47 team. David Zucker, who was named CEO of the team when private equity firm Boston Ventures purchased controlling interest in June, is expected to be reassigned to the Petty Driving Experience.(FoxSports), no word on what happend to the #10 ride which Sorenson was supposed to drive.(12-31-2008)
UPDATE: Although neither GEM nor Petty officials said an announcement was forthcoming, sources indicated that the organizations were ironing out final details. The merger would entail GEM absorbing Petty's #43 car, which according to sources would be driven by Reed Sorenson and sponsored by the Air Force next season. Chris McKee, marketing director of the Richard Petty Driving Experience, confirmed that David Zucker, current chief operating officer of Petty Enterprises and the Richard Petty Driving Experience, will oversee only the driving experience once the merger is complete. Zucker was installed as Petty's CEO after team owner Richard Petty earlier this year sold majority interest in his organization to the private equity firm Boston Ventures in a bid to raise capital and improve performance. McKee added that further details of the merger will come next week. Indications are that the name of the merged organization will be altered to reflect Richard Petty's involvement. Richard's father, Lee, founded Petty Enterprises in 1949.
The merger would place four cars under the GEM stable -- the #43, as well as the Nos. 9, 10, and 19 currently in the Gillett-Evernham fleet. Kasey Kahne drives the #9, with A.J. Allmendinger replacing Elliott Sadler in the #19 for next season. No driver has been announced for the #10 car for 2009.(NASCAR.com)(12-31-2008)
McCumbee unsure of 2009 plans: Reports, rumors and rumblings. That's what the last six weeks has revolved around for Chad McCumbee. "I read on the Internet what everyone else does," the West Brunswick (N.C.) High School graduate said. And with the start of the 2009 NASCAR season a little more than six weeks away, McCumbee still doesn't know if he'll be competing in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide or Camping World Truck Series. McCumbee was on course to drive the No. 44 Sprint Cup car for Petty Enterprises in 2009 before sponsorship issues arose. "We were all good to go and everybody was happy," McCumbee said. "The economy affected sponsors obviously. It hurt everything." So, McCumbee said he is keeping his options open, which means he could return to the Camping World Series (formerly the Craftsman Truck Series). He also said he has had "a few talks here and there" with teams in the Nationwide Series. McCumbee said he has the support of Petty Enterprises if he opts to drive a Nationwide Series car for another team. He ran a full-time schedule in the truck series last year and nine races on the Sprint Cup schedule in the #45 car.(Myrtle Beach Sun News)(12-26-2008)
Petty-GEM Deal Off? UPDATE denied: Sirius Speedway has learned that the much-discussed merger between Gillett Evernham Motorsports and Petty Enterprises has run aground. Anonymous sources say that GEM laid off approximately 50 employees today, and that its Nationwide Series team will either be eliminated or cut back dramatically. In addition, multiple sources say that GEM’s #10 Sprint Cup team and driver Reed Sorenson will also run only a partial schedule. While not commenting on the reported demise of the Petty deal, Gillett Evernham Motorsports CEO Tom Reddin confirmed today that major changes are underway. "We are a Sprint Cup team first and foremost, and winning in that series needs to be our primary focus,” he said. “The Nationwide Series is a fantastic series and we certainly look forward to racing a partial schedule in 2009, but we will not run the full season next year. We will remained focused on putting all of our effort behind the Cup program in 2009. GEM is very fortunate to have nearly all of our Cup sponsors returning in 2009 in addition to the new arrival of others." Reddin said that GEM will also restructure its engine department for 2009, to align with a reduced number of engine leasing customers next season.(Sirius Speedway/Motorsports Soapbox)
AND Over the last week, Gillett Evernham Motorsports released 65 employees between its Nationwide Series team and engine shop. Due to a downturn in the economy and the inability to secure sponsorship, GEM was forced to cease operation of its NNS team on Tuesday. GEM is still in open discussions with Petty Enterprises regarding a possible merger. However, the option of Petty Enterprises not leasing engines in the future led to the company's decision to downsize its engine department by nearly half. The organization will continue to employ nearly 300 workers at its Statesville, N.C. facility and field three teams in the Sprint Cup Series with drivers Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler and Reed Sorenson, who will join the team from Chip Ganassi Racing in 2009.(FoxSports)(12-16-2008)
UPDATE: been told by GEM that the #10 car will run the full Sprint Cup season and that the GEM-Petty merger talks are going well and the deal is NOT off.(12-17-2008)
Kyle has no clue about what is up at PE: If you want to know what's going down at Petty Enterprises these days, don't ask Kyle Petty. So says Kyle Petty, son of Richard and grandson of Lee, who founded the race organization in Level Cross, N.C., in 1949. Richard Petty is part owner of Petty Enterprises, which currently is in merger discussions with Gillett Evernham Motorsports. Petty Enterprises entered into a partnership agreement with outside investment firm Boston Ventures this past May. "I don't work for Petty Enterprises," Kyle Petty said Monday. "When they did their deal and sold to Boston Ventures, Chad [McCumbee] was going to drive the second car and Bobby [Labonte] was going to drive the first car; they pretty much let me know there wasn't a place for me there going into '09. My deal runs out at the end of the year, but I don't go over there [to the shop in Mooresville, N.C.] because I don't work there. It was a different business and it got into a different place than where Boston Ventures wanted to be -- and I just don't think they have the stomach for it. It's their company and they can do with it what they want to. That's the way it works."
When Boston Ventures came on board, Richard Petty said he would still be heavily involved in the day-to-day operation of Petty Enterprises. But Kyle Petty made it sound as if those from the investment company are pulling most of the strings for the organization now. "I don't know what the division is, and it's got nothing to do with me because it's my father's company," Kyle said. "So it's between Richard Petty and Boston Ventures. Me talking about it is about like anybody else talking about it from the outside looking in. I was not privy to any of the meetings. I was not a part of it. Once David Zucker took over as CEO, then I was out of the loop. So I've got no skin in this game."
So for now, Kyle Petty is just another Cup driver without a ride for 2009. He's looking at possibly not suiting up to drive any Cup races for the first time since 1979 -- when he ran five races for Petty Enterprises at the age of 18, and Richard won the last of his seven championships. "I'm going to do my six TV races for Turner [Sports]," Kyle said. "I'm still working with SPEED, doing [the] Tradin' Paint [show] and I'll be able to do a couple different things with them, maybe with the Grand American division or a couple other things. I'm just going to take a step back and see what goes on, and see where the sport goes and see where motorsports goes for the next little bit and try to figure out what I'm going to do. I'm going to run the 24-hour [Rolex] race at Daytona. That may be my only race of the year; maybe I'll run more races. I don't know what I'm doing. If the right opportunity came along, I think I'm like Bill Elliott. I'm not ready to retire. I may not be there every week, but I don't consider myself retired. You know what I mean? So if the right opportunity came along where I thought we could be competitive, with the right leadership and the right group, I think I would be [interested]. But right now, just [looking at it] as a sports fan over the last eight or 10 years, it's a business decision. If somebody has the money -- if you have the sponsorship and you have the dollars -- it's easier to find something. But right now, there aren't a lot of people out there with money."(in part from NASCAR.com)(12-9-2008)
Petty-GEM merger? UPDATE 4: hearing there could be an announcement as soon as today that Gillett Evernham Motorsports [#9,10,#19] and Petty Enterprises [#43,#45] has merged.(12-4-2008)
UPDATE: SI.com has learned that Petty Enterprises' top operation will not return in 2009. The organization will merge with George Gillett, giving that team its fourth car. No word on the future association with Petty Enterprises and Boston Ventures, although Boston Ventures may maintain some involvement in the Richard Petty Driving Experience. Official announcement of the news could come as early as this afternoon. No word on whether Richard Petty will have an ownership stake as part of the merger agreement.(Sports Illustrated)(12-4-2008)
UPDATE 2: Petty Enterprises is in discussions to merge its storied franchise with Gillett Evernham Motorsports. Multiple people familiar with the talks told the AP that the two teams are discussing a deal that would merge Petty's #43 Dodge with GEM to become a four-car operation. They requested anonymity because the negotiations are ongoing. SI.com first reported Thursday that Petty Enterprises' top operation will not return in 2009. But David Zucker, CEO of Petty Enterprises, said the report was "not accurate."
He would not discuss a potential merger. "We're not going to comment on rumors and speculation," he said. Petty has no full-time sponsorship lined up for next season. The team fields cars for Bobby Labonte, Chad McCumbee and Kyle Petty. Robbie Loomis, vice president of Petty Enterprises, told the AP nothing has changed with the organization, and the team is continuing to talk to potential partners. Drew Brown, a spokesman for GEM, did not immediately return a call for comment.(Associated Press)(12-4-2008)
UPDATE 3: Petty Enterprises remains in discussions with Gillett Evernham Motorsports to merge into a four-car operation, sources told ESPN.com on Thursday. A report by SI.com that the merger would happen and that Petty Enterprises would not return in 2009, according to multiple sources, is premature. Drew Brown, the director of communications at GEM, said the status of the company has not changed and there are no impending announcements. Officials at the office of GEM majority owner George Gillett were surprised by the report. "We're just not going to comment on speculation," Brown said. Should such a merger happen it would shrink the garage by another car, the 45 driven by Kyle Petty, Chad McCumbee and Terry Labonte last season. The #43 of Bobby Labonte would combine with GEM's #9 of Kasey Kahne, #19 of Elliott Sadler and #10 of Reed Sorenson. A merger could also mean the end of NASCAR's most storied organization as it has been known since 1969. Owner and seven-time champion Richard Petty sold majority interest in Petty Enterprises earlier this year to Boston Ventures but maintained the Petty name. It is unclear if a potential merger with GEM would incorporate both parties or if the Petty Driving Experience would be included. News of the SI.com report spread rapidly through the Manhattan banquet room that hosted a Thursday awards luncheon featuring the top 12 drivers from this past season.
GEM has already benefited from the merger of DEI and Ganassi, which will run under General Motors -- Ganassi was a Dodge team -- and use engines prepared by Earnhardt-Childress Racing. The #10 car that was 37th in points will move into the top 35 guaranteed a spot in the field because the two DEI cars lost in the merger have been eliminated from the top 35. The #47 car that will be driven by Marcos Ambrose for JTG-Daugherty moved from 36 to 35. "Everybody will just shift up," NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said. "We will use the top 35 at the track."(ESPN)(12-4-2008)
UPDATE 4: Petty Enterprises released 39 employees on Monday, bringing the total to 65 since the end of the season. A source close to the situation said Petty Enterprises has about 54 employees anxiously waiting to hear whether there will be a merger with Gillett-Evernham Motorsports. "Everybody is still looking for marching orders in what direction we're going in," the source said.
The Pettys have been in negotiations to merge with several teams for months. Two were eliminated when Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates merged last month. The possible merger with GEM would have the famous #43 joining the #9 (Kasey Kahne), #19 (Elliott Sadler) and #10 (Reed Sorenson) of GEM to become a four-car operation. Whether 2000 Cup champion Bobby Labonte, the current driver of the unsponsored #43, would be a part of that deal remains unclear. Labonte, who signed a long-term deal that included partial ownership with Petty Enterprises earlier this year, has reportedly had talks with DEI-Ganassi about driving the Target-sponsored #41. That could clear the way for AJ Allmendinger, released by Red Bull Racing late this season, to move into the #43. Officials at Petty Enterprises and GEM were not available for comment. Should the merger occur it would be the first time NASCAR has been without Petty Enterprises as it is known today since 1969. Richard Petty sold majority ownership to Boston Ventures earlier this year, but the name of the company and driving school remained the same.(ESPN.com)(12-8-2008)
McCumbee not sure of 2008 plans UPDATE: Despite several Internet reports that link Chad McCumbee to a full-time seat in the #44 car for Petty Enterprises next season, McCumbee said the sagging economy has changed a lot of plans. "We have to wait for sponsorship," he said. "If we don't have it, we can't go racing. We've had some things lined up, but when companies start to struggle, NASCAR sponsorship will be the first to go." McCumbee said he doesn't "have an answer" to what next year will look like, but is "confident we will be able to run some," in the Sprint Cup Series. He also said he may return to the Craftsman Truck Series. McCumbee is scheduled to run Sunday's Seneca 250 Late Model stock car race at Myrtle Beach Speedway.(Myrtle Beach Sun News)(11-22-2008)
UPDATE: #44?/#45?-Chad McCumbee is under contract to drive for Petty Enterprises in 2009, though the number of Sprint Cup races he and the second Petty team will run as a teammate to Bobby Labonte will depend on sponsorship, the team has confirmed. Petty Enterprises CEO David Zucker was asked about his plans for McCumbee at the Street & Smith's Motorsports Marketing Forum.
"It's tough to break into the sport, and I think expectations sometimes get ahead of the game," Zucker said. "We've seen it with some of the younger drivers. It takes a while. We don't want to bring them [up] too fast. ... You've got to invest in younger drivers. The sport needs it. Our plan is to bring him in and get him some exposure but not bring him in too fast."(NASCAR.com)(12-4-2008)
Petty close to sports car deal: Kyle Petty took another big step towards racing in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and a possible full season in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Sunday, testing the #45 Orbit Racing InterMedia BMW Riley at the rechristened Palm Beach International Raceway. Petty, who tested with the team at Daytona during Pirelli tire testing in October, ran more than 50 laps as he continues to make the adjustment from racing a Sprint Cup Series stock car and the Grand-Am Daytona Prototype. "Braking has been hard for me," Petty said. "Darren tried teaching me at Daytona until I ran until I ran into the tire wall. That was pretty exciting. When I ran a few laps here I told him, first I'm not brave enough, then I get stupid, so I have to back it up and figure out where I need to be, somewhere between ‘stupid' and ‘not brave enough.' Learning the braking is hard." The car was not damaged when Petty slid into an infield tire barrier during his October test session. Now, Petty is working on the final details for a move to Grand-Am. "We're still working on it, and we're closer to getting something together," Petty said. "Hopefully, we'll have something together before long that will give me a job for next year and we can win some races. I'm here at Orbit because of Rodger Hawley, let's be clear about that. I ran a car with Orbit and Leo Hindery two or three times at Daytona. We didn't have the greatest success in the world but we had a lot of fun. I told Rodger back then that if it ever comes to the point when I don't have a Cup ride and I can go and do something different, I want to come here. I think this is the top road racing series in the United States, so I'm stepping from the top stock car series to the top road racing series, the Grand-Am. I'm looking at it as a lateral move to another series where there's a ton of great drivers."(Grand-Am.com)(11-25-2008)
More Layoffs - #96, #21, Petty's, Stewart: nothing official but heard that Stewart-Hass Racing [formerly Haas CNC Racing] laid off 16 people Monday, November 17th. Also on Monday, a large layoff at #96 Hall of Fame Racing, supposedly due to lack of full sponsorship. Also, the current Hall of Fame Racing shop building is up for sale.(11-18-2008)
UPDATE: Wood Brothers Racing has downsized its Sprint Cup and Craftsman Truck Series operations [supposedly 25 people] effective immediately. The Wood Brothers expect to continue the 58-year tradition of the #21 Ford when racing resumes in February. "This economic downturn has been tough on everyone and racing is not immune," team owner Eddie Wood said. "What we're experiencing now is a dramatic correction but we will be geared up for the 51st running of the Daytona 500. We will be racing in 2009. We're just not sure what that schedule looks like at this time. We're going to do whatever is necessary to survive."(FoxSports)
UPDATE 2: hearing 23 people were laid off at Petty Enterprises on Tuesday.(11-18-2008)
Many sponsors for the #43 in 2009: After 35 years in which the #43 made famous by Richard Petty had season-long sponsorship continuity with either STP (1973-2000) or General Mills (2000-2008), a scorecard might be necessary to keep track of the car's paint schemes in 2009. Petty Enterprises chief marketing officer Mike Bartelli says five or six companies will share primary sponsorship and space has been sold for more than half of the 36-race season. Bartelli says though sponsor opportunities remain available on the car, the team (shored up financially from its acquisition by private equity firm Boston Ventures) will field the #43 for the full season regardless. "Here you have the most iconic number in the sport's history, and it's not that we're losing deals to others," says Bartelli, who added Petty is substantially far away from cobbling together the millions needed to run its #45 Dodge [supposedly will be the #44 with McCumbee] full time in 2009. "It's that deals aren't there. We had a deal done two weeks ago, and the CEO reversed the decision after blessing it and indicated the company was going to make hundreds of millions in cuts."(USA Today)(11-17-2008)
No merger for Petty: One thing not in the cards for Petty Enterprises is a merger with another team, said Richard Petty, who earlier this year sold majority ownership in the team to investment banking firm Boston Ventures. “We’ve talked to everybody about everything that could be talked about and we’re still standing here independent,” Petty said when asked about a possible merger. “We didn’t want to take on anybody else’s baggage. We had enough of our own.” The lack of sponsorship is a major worry, the seven-time Sprint Cup Champion admitted Thursday. “I’m concerned about Richard Petty’s future,” he said. “It starts here. And Petty Enterprises’s future and everybody’s future. Because right now, has everything bottomed out? We don’t know how far down we’ll go. … We’re all in this together, whether we like it or not. Racing’s not going to survive without the economy surviving or vice versa.”(SPEEDtv)(11-14-2008)
Petty Enterprises Renews Partnership with PVA: Petty Enterprises announced that it has extended its partnership with the Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) through the 2009 Sprint Cup season. “Our membership has been behind this program from day one and we’re excited to continue this into 2009,” said Paralyzed Veterans of America’s National President, Randy L. Pleva, Sr. “Our partnership with Petty Enterprises has been great for Paralyzed Veterans. We’ve seen an increase in awareness about our mission since we aligned with ‘The King’. In 2009, we will be featured on two races on July 4th (Daytona) and Veterans Day (Texas), two of the most patriotic dates of the year. Our continued partnership with Petty Enterprises and Richard and Kyle Petty will continue to raise awareness of the mission of Paralyzed Veterans and in return increase support and donations and give increased visibility to the men and women who serve our country.”
The Petty-Paralyzed Veterans partnership began in 2006 with ‘The King’ Richard Petty. Over the span of the partnership, Petty has made numerous trips to VA Hospitals across the country, hosted Paralyzed Veterans members at racetracks and attended fundraising events—all in an effort to increase awareness of the altruistic organization. In 2008, the relationship grew to include NASCAR driver Kyle Petty. In 2009, both Pettys will co-chair the “Go All In for Veterans” Texas Hold’em poker tournament to be held on Thursday, February 26 at the Rio in Las Vegas. Please visit www.pva.org for more info.(MCG Sports/Petty Enterprises PR), no car# or driver mentioned for the two race sponsorship, PVA was on the #45 Dodge for three races in 2008.(11-11-2008)
Elliott may come back for a few races in 2009 UPDATE 2 and Petty?: Q: You really think you'll [Bill Elliott] be able to step out of the car for good at the end of this season? What if the Wood Brothers come knocking on your door again to maybe run a few more races for them again next season?
Elliott: At this point in time, I don't know. I think I'm just going to look at the next few races and see if I can help 'em out maybe, but it would just be a short-team deal. A few and that's it. I think right now they're trying to sell stuff, and they don't really have a whole lot else going on. If we can turn around and get something going here -- and keep it going -- that's one thing. If it's gonna go and turn around and change directions on you, then no, I don't want to do this anymore. We've been through some changes [at Wood Brothers Racing] and now we've kind of turned the corner a little bit. But there again, unless they can put several deals together, it's gonna be tough on them boys anyway. You never can predict the future.
As far as me ever runnin' a full-time deal again? No, never. Would I run a couple first off? Yeah, maybe. But that would be it. And if they could find something to fill the void before the first of next year, I wouldn't even do that. What I'm saying, I guess, is let's get through the next few races -- and then what they find out and what they come up with will be the determining factor.(NASCAR.com)(10-22-2008)
UPDATE: Bill Elliott said Friday he is open to returning to the Wood Brothers team next season in a part-time role. Team co-owners Eddie and Len Wood remain in discussions with potential sponsors and also in talks about possibly merging with other
teams. Their 2009 plans remain up in the air. "I like the group," Elliott said of the Woods' team. "I like all the guys they've put together here. It seems like we've finally got some things working. I'll probably do a little bit [next year], but not a lot. I enjoy the driving part. I just don't like the politics. Ford's been good to me throughout the years. I still see a lot of fans that support me. I still have friends around the country I'm able to go see through this deal."(SceneDaily)(11-8-2008)
UPDATE 2 -- Petty? Wood Brothers Racing is one of many teams in the Sprint Cup garage that’s examining any number of driver/sponsor/partnership options for 2009. One experienced veteran talking to the Wood Brothers about 2009 is Kyle Petty, who isn’t interested in a full-time ride, but would be happy to share driving responsibilities with one or more other drivers. Petty drove for the Wood Brothers from 1985-88, winning two Sprint Cup races and posting 19 top-five finishes. “Who wouldn’t want to drive for the Wood Brothers?” Petty said Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway. “I drove for ‘em before. I like them. They’ve got a little bit of money. There’s a couple of guys who have a little bit of money. And you put one of your deals and one of their deals together, the next thing you know, you’ve got a pretty healthy team.”(Ford Racing)(11-9-2008)
Latest Ganassi merger rumor? Petty? UPDATE3 or DEI?:Trying to pin down the state of Petty Enterprises, under its new Boston Ventures' management, and the future of the Chip Ganassi operation has been tough enough the last few weeks, but now the speculation of a GM-Chrysler corporate merger has thrown things into a real tizzy. Insiders at both the Petty and Ganassi Dodge camps say there is speculation that the two struggling teams may somehow merge, and that that speculation is fueled by the sense that fellow Dodge owner George Gillett, who has majority interest in Gillett-Evernham-Motorsports, is "99 percent" certain to jump to Toyota. Ray Evernham was Dodge's mainstay in NASCAR racing, making such a move highly unusual. Dodge officials a few weeks ago denied such a change might be coming. One major complication for Dodge teams like Petty's and Ganassi's is that Gillett-Evernham has been a major Dodge engine operation. If Gillett moves to Toyota, then Dodge loses a very big player.(Winston-Salem Journal)(10-12-2008)
UPDATE: hearing that a Ganassi-Petty Enterprises merger is still possible with Target being the sponsor for Bobby Labonte in the #43. With #42-Juan Pablo Montoya and #44-Chad McCumbee as teammates and a possible 4th team with Kyle Petty running part time in the #45.(10-21-2008)
UPDTE 2 - DEI?: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates is negotiating with several organizations, including Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Petty Enterprises. "We're talking to a lot of different people," Sabates said on Tuesday. "We're keeping our options open. Obviously, the way things are going today with sponsors, unless you have the sponsors you can't run. We only have a sponsor for the 41 car [Target] and the 42 [Wrigley's Big Red/Juicy Fruit] for half a year. We're looking at all possibilities." DEI and Petty Enterprises are in similar situations. DEI has only the #1 car of Martin Truex Jr. fully sponsored for next season, with partial sponsors in line for the #8 and none for its other two cars. Petty Enterprises is looking for sponsors for the #43 and 44 that is expected to replace the #45. So how would a merger with DEI help Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates? "They have a sponsor for one and a half cars and we have a sponsor for one and a half cars, that makes three cars, doesn't it?" Sabates said. "The same thing with Petty. They've got one car. There are other people out there, too." The biggest stumbling block for DEI to merge with Ganassi or Petty may be manufacturer permission. DEI is under contract with General Motors to field Chevrolets and the other two are under contract with Dodge/Chrysler. The proposed merger between GM and Chrysler could help that situation, but there remain other obstacles on both sides. "Everything is up in the air," Sabates said. "We're just talking in theory. We don't know what is going to happen. We don't have anything concrete with anybody. And I'm not saying we will do anything."(ESPN.com)(11-4-2008)
UPDATE 3: An alliance is in the works that would combine the #s 1 and 8 Chevrolets at DEI with the #s 41 and 42 of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates next season. The newly combined outfit would boast a lineup consisting of Martin Truex Jr., with Bass Pro Shops sponsorship, Juan Pablo Montoya, with Wrigleys sponsoroship, and Aric Almirola. Ganassi still has a deal in place with sponsor Target, but it is unknown right now whether that will be for Almirola or for a yet-to-be-determined fourth driver. Ganassi could offer the presence of an at-track, hands-on owner, an important element that's been missing at DEI since the death of its founder Dale Earnhardt. Ganassi won four titles in Champ Car and two titles as an owner in the IRL IndyCar Series, including this season. Ganassi's current contract with Dodge extends through 2010. Given the economic climate and uncertainty of the Dodge program beyond 2009, the move would align Ganassi with Chevrolet for next year and beyond. Max Siegel, president of global operations declined comment on the report.(FoxSports)(11-5-2008)
Petty could run full Sports Car Series season: Kyle Petty made an appearance on Tuesday during the second day of the three-day October Test Days session at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the 47th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 24-25. Petty was behind the wheel of the #45 Orbit Racing BMW Riley Daytona Prototype as he prepares for his seventh career start in the Rolex 24 and his first since 2006. But Petty says that the 2009 Rolex 24 could be the first of many sports car events next year with Orbit Racing as he and Orbit Racing owner Rodger Hawley are working on a potential deal for the whole Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series season. “We’re trying to put something together to run not only the 24 Hours but all year long,” Petty said. “Obviously I’m in a place with the Cup stuff where I don’t really have a ride right now. I have always said this is where I wanted to be. From the time I came here for the first time, I said to run the Grand American division would be the next step up. I don’t want to go back to Nationwide and I don’t want to go run Trucks. That’s a step down from the Cup Series. This is a step over. I don’t look at this as a step down. This is a step to the top of road racing. It’s been a lot of fun out there so far. I forget where the infield goes sometimes.”(DIS site, listen to Petty audio clips there)(10-29-2008)
#45 to Sport RPDE ‘Holiday’ Paint Scheme at Texas: Petty Enterprises announced today that the Richard Petty Driving Experience will be the primary sponsor of the #45 Dodge, driven by Chad McCumbee, for the upcoming race at the Texas Motor Speedway along with new partners, TheGPSStore.com and Garmin, the global leader in satellite navigation TheGPSStore.com and Garmin are continuing their long-standing associations with McCumbee. The GPS Store.com, which is headquartered near McCumbee’s hometown of Supply, N.C., has been a primary sponsor of his past Truck Series entries from 2006-2007.(MCG Sports/Petty Racing PR), see an image of the car on my #45 Team Schemes page.(10-27-2008)
Petty covers #45 up on his cap during TV show UPDATE to honor Adam: This weekend, Tradin' Paint [SPEED] welcomed [NASCAR Scene] reporter Bob Pockrass back to the program in Atlanta as the media guest. It was cold outside and Kyle Petty wore a Petty Enterprises jacket and a black baseball hat for his #45 car and its sponsors. Only this week, TV viewers saw that something was different. Petty had a black band firmly placed right through the numbers on the front of his baseball hat. It was clear for all to see that the #45 car that Kyle had clung-to in memory of his late son Adam was no longer his. The frustration emerged on a day when it was reported that Boston Ventures CEO David Zucker had said the company [Pettty Enterprises] would field two cars for 2009, but that Kyle Petty was not going to be involved with either effort. "Part-time if a sponsor could be found" was the phrase used to describe Petty's future opportunities. Petty's words on that topic came out during a Tradin' Paint discussion about mergers. "I have not seen an acquisition help any team in the sport yet," said Petty about the new wave of outside investors. "I have not seen Boston Ventures help Petty Enterprises be more competitive now than what they were at the beginning of the year. When you look at it and ask what do they get (in mergers), I don't have a clue what they get," continued Petty. "You are taking two organizations who are falling or stable and just putting them together. Sometimes, warm water and warm water (combined) just gets colder."(Daly Planet)(10-26-2008)
UPDATE: Kyle Petty is wearing a black band over the #45 on hats he is wearing to honor his son, Adam Petty, who died in 2000 during Busch Series practice at New Hampshire. Petty said it was his son Austin’s idea and should not be construed as a statement against new Petty Enterprises majority owner Boston Ventures. “When Adam was killed and Austin said lets put a black band across [the number],” Petty said Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “If you live in our neighborhood, you’ll see hundreds of these numbers [with black bands] on cars around our neighborhood. … When I started driving the 45, I said I drive the 45 and that’s Adam’s car and I didn’t even put my name on that car. So since I’m not driving the 45 as much, Austin about a month ago said, ‘Why don’t you go back and wear that hat again.’ And I thought, ‘Good idea.’ All I did was switch back since I’m not driving the 45 full time. Austin’s opinion was, and I deferred to him, that it was Adam’s number and Adam’s car and now you’re not in it, let’s go back and close the personal door. It’s a personal thing. It’s not a statement. It’s not anything other than that.” Petty had said earlier in the weekend that Boston Ventures, which bought its stake in the organization in June, had not helped the competitive side yet of the teams. Petty said Sunday that he was trying to explain that none of the mergers have helped on the competitive side and Boston Ventures had only been with the organization for four months.(SceneDaily)(10-26-2008)
DEI and Petty merger? UPDATE 2: Talks about a possible merger between Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Petty Enterprises are under way, according to sources familiar with the situation, and Wells Fargo's sponsorship money could be key to making something happen. However, the economic chaos that is wracking the country is also playing havoc with so many suddenly struggling NASCAR teams that it's unclear how any of the various scenarios might actually play out. And just what positives might even come out of a DEI-Petty merger aren't that clear, either. Richard Petty sold a "significant" stake this summer in Petty Enterprises, the family racing operation in business since 1949, to Boston Ventures, a private equity firm. Precisely how that joint NASCAR venture might fit into any DEI-Petty merger is unclear, considering the financial problems of many Wall Street investment firms. Petty Enterprises is looking for a 2009 sponsor for Bobby Labonte, who drives the legendary #43 car. #45-Kyle Petty, the other Petty driver, has been at odds apparently with some of the team's executives, and he appears to have the option to take the Wells Fargo sponsorship with him to another team. If Kyle Petty were to leave, that would, for the moment, leave Petty Enterprises with no major sponsors.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-17-2008)
UPDATE: Robbie Loomis said Petty Enterprises has been approached by at least three organizations about a possible alliance heading into next season. The vice president of racing operations, speaking Friday at Martinsville Speedway, would not identify them, but published reports say Dale Earnhardt Inc. might be on that list. DEI officials declined to comment. Loomis said the Pettys' deal with Dodge extends three years past this one. DEI signed an extension with General Motors/Chevrolet before this season. Loomis said Petty Enterprises is closer to naming a sponsor for Labonte, and he appears close to set on Chad McCumbee to drive the second car, which will be the #44. He said the key in all of this is continued growth of the Petty brand, which a merger with DEI may or may not allow.(ESPN.com)
AND Officials from Petty Enterprises do not deny that they have held preliminary discussions about a possible future partnership of some sort with Dale Earnhardt Inc., but they strongly deny that anything is close to happening or even likely to happen. In fact, Robbie Loomis said that DEI is not the only group with which Petty Enterprises is discussing its future. Nor is it alone in the Sprint Cup Series garage area, where Loomis insisted all teams are scrambling to find stronger footing in difficult economic times. "The bottom line for us is that we're committed to Dodge," Loomis said. "We like Dodge as our manufacturer; Richard Petty especially. We have three more years with them as far as solid commitments. We feel good about where we're at with them."(NASCAR.com)(10-18-2008)
UPDATE 2: Petty Enterprises appears on track to merge – somehow – with Dale Earnhardt Inc., which would turn the Petty Dodges into Chevrolets….apparently. Or maybe it’s just Kyle Petty ‘merging.’ Richard Petty Sunday didn’t have much to say about the DEI report; he didn’t deny the talks, but he insisted he didn’t have to panic about things: “We did our panicking last year. That’s why we did the deal with Boston Ventures. We’re ahead of the curve.” However there appears to be considerable internal disagreement between the father and son about the next business steps to take, though #43-Bobby Labonte still has no sponsor for 2009, and Kyle Petty himself apparently is looking to leave Petty Enterprises at the end of the year and take the company’s only full sponsor, Wells Fargo, with him.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-20-2008)
Petty hopes to race in 2009; #44 back to PE UPDATE: Kyle Petty said that he will drive at Phoenix International Raceway later this year, but then he is still unsure of how many Sprint Cup races he will enter in 2009. Petty did say whatever races he does drive, he will compete under the Petty Enterprises banner. Bobby Labonte is signed to return to Petty Enterprises and Chad McCumbee is being looked at for the car where Kyle Petty is currently the primary driver. “I don’t have anything going right now for next year,” Petty said Saturday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “We’d like to run five races, 10 races, 15 races, whatever we can run. It really depends on what you get financially. We feel like we’ve got some good leads for the 43 and pretty confident that Marathon and everybody will be here for Chad [McCumbee]. I’m not going to go somewhere else. I’ve always said if I run Cup stuff, I [will come] back here and I don’t want to go anywhere else. I’m too old to learn new tricks.” Petty Enterprises CEO David Zucker indicated that the team would have two primary drivers next year – and Kyle Petty, who already has a six-race commitment to TNT, wouldn’t be one of them. Petty likely would continue to drive the #45, which was the number of Petty’s son, Adam, who was killed during Nationwide Series practice eight years ago at New Hampshire. Michael Waltrip Racing Executive Vice President Cal Wells indicated that MWR will return the #44 to Petty Enterprises for its use next year. Petty said any perception of a rift between him and the Boston Ventures people is not necessarily accurate.(SceneDaily)(10-16-2008)
UPDATE: Petty Enterprises will resurrect the #44 for its second Sprint Cup team next season, vice president of racing operations Robbie Loomis said Friday. The #45, currently fielded as the second team with Bobby Labonte in the #43, will be reserved only for any races that Kyle Petty may run. Petty switched from the #44 to the 45 after his son, Adam, was killed driving that number in a Busch [now Nationwide] Series practice in 2000. Loomis said the organization remains high on Chad McCumbee as the second driver. He did not rule out Petty appearing in a handful of races if sponsorship is available. The #44 was used sparingly by the Pettys from 2000 to 2003, and then was transferred in 2007 to Michael Waltrip Racing for Dale Jarrett. David Reutimann has driven the #44 for MWR this season, but he will switch to the #00 in 2009. The #00 crew will move to Marcos Ambrose's #47 team with the JTG organization that recently formed an alliance with MWR for next season.(ESPN.com)
AND MWR will return the #44 to Petty Enterprises, with MWR's #00 taking the points of the #44 in 2009.(NASCAR.com)(10-17-2008)
Latest Ganassi merger rumor? Petty; GEM to Toyota?Trying to pin down the state of Petty Enterprises, under its new Boston Ventures' management, and the future of the Chip Ganassi operation has been tough enough the last few weeks, but now the speculation of a GM-Chrysler corporate merger has thrown things into a real tizzy. Insiders at both the Petty and Ganassi Dodge camps say there is speculation that the two struggling teams may somehow merge, and that that speculation is fueled by the sense that fellow Dodge owner George Gillett, who has majority interest in Gillett-Evernham-Motorsports, is "99 percent" certain to jump to Toyota. Ray Evernham was Dodge's mainstay in NASCAR racing, making such a move highly unusual. Dodge officials a few weeks ago denied such a change might be coming. One major complication for Dodge teams like Petty's and Ganassi's is that Gillett-Evernham has been a major Dodge engine operation. If Gillett moves to Toyota, then Dodge loses a very big player.(Winston-Salem Journal)(10-12-2008)
Inman receives Smokey Yunick Award: Legendary Petty Enterprises crew chief Dale Inman was awarded the Smokey Yunick Award prior to the start of the Bank of America 500 at Lowe's (N.C.) Motor Speedway. The award acknowledges outstanding achievement in the world of motorsports. Inman, the most decorated crew chief in NASCAR history, joined several of his colleagues with this recognition, including Glen and Leonard Wood, Ralph Moody and Bud Moore. While no driver has ever won more than Petty's seven NASCAR Sprint Cup titles, Inman has won eight as a crew chief. All seven of Petty's championships came under Inman's watch, along with 198 of his 200 record-setting wins. He won his eighth and final championship with Terry Labonte in 1984.(MCG Sprots/Petty Enterprises PR)(10-12-2008)
Petty to run Phoenix, after that ? #45-Kyle Petty will race for Petty Enterprises in November at Phoenix International Raceway, but will he return to the team in 2009? Petty Enterprises Executive Vice President Robbie Loomis said the future is still to be determined and if Petty could find more races somewhere else, he could drive for another team next year. Petty has talked in the past about possibly doing a part-time schedule next year, either with the Pettys or somewhere else. He already has committed to be in the telecast booth for TNT during its six events. Some of Petty’s sponsorship are tied to him as a driver. “We’ve got to look at Petty Enterprises and where we’re going with the future, but at the same time Kyle Petty has to look at Kyle Petty himself and I’m sure if the opportunity comes up and somebody’s got a good situation for him to run a full schedule, I would think Kyle probably would want to do it barring he still gets to do his TV races,” Loomis said Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Chad McCumbee will run the remainder of the races starting with next week at Lowe’s Motor Speedway with the exception of Phoenix, Loomis said. Loomis said he really likes McCumbee, who will be evaluated for the rest of the season to determine if he will be signed for 2009.(SceneDaily)(10-6-2008)
Kyle Petty out at Petty Enterprises? Was this #45-Kyle Petty's last race for Petty Enterprises? Sunday's Kansas 400 looks like it might well have been his last Sprint Cup run for the family business that he's worked for for so many years, that his grandfather Lee founded in 1949 and that his father Richard has been running all these years. That pending departure-not of Kyle Petty's own doing-is the stunning word from Patti Petty, Kyle's wife. Kyle Petty has been the center of a family storm of controversy since the spring, and he insists he doesn't think he's part of the long-running problems at Petty Enterprises. And Patti Petty says her husband is determined to stay at the wheel of a Cup car.....for someone. Kyle Petty himself ... has been struggling with the entire situation, Patti Petty says. While Petty himself was stoic about whatever turmoil is going on behind the scenes, promising to talk about things eventually, his wife was quite emotional - "Maybe I'm the only one here willing to tell the truth," she said. "They haven't wanted Kyle in the car the last three years. They want a young driver, a 30-year-old, a 20-year-old. "But Wells Fargo, our sponsor, says it's going to stay with Kyle, whatever he does. I wish Chip Ganassi (a fellow Dodge team owner) would take a look at Kyle. He's got a 12-race sponsorship deal for next year that would be a perfect part-time schedule for Kyle. And Kyle could help mentor a young driver. They told him at Watkins Glen - right when he was standing there in his driver's suit - that they didn't want him in the car." There are indications that Michael McDowell, currently driving for Michael Waltrip's Toyota operation, and AJ Allmendinger, currently driving for Team Red Bull, are under consideration for the Petty ride, as teammate with Bobby Labonte. Kyle Petty is tentatively scheduled to run a Petty car at Phoenix in November, but Patti Petty says that looks too iffy.(Winston-Salem Journal)(9-29-2008)
Pettys announce location for Kansas Victory Junction camp: Victory Junction Gang has announced a site selection for its second, medical camping facility for children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses. The expansion of Victory Junction will be located at 8205 Riverview Road, Kansas City, Kan., and built on 71 acres in Wyandotte County, Kan., pending Unified Government review and approval. Victory Junction Gang is a year-round facility that enriches the lives of children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses by providing life-changing camping experiences that are exciting, fun, and empowering, in a safe and medically-sound environment. As a not-for-profit organization, the camp operates solely through the support of generous donors to provide this experience free of charge to children and families. Early 2008, co-founders Kyle and Pattie Petty announced plans to expand to the 'Heartland' and spread the once-in-a-lifetime experience with children in need. Since identifying the region for its second facility, Victory Junction hired Wells Fargo executive Mike Lepore to serve as president of the Midwest camp. Lepore is responsible for the success of the capital campaign and all aspects of the new camp's operations. Thus far, he has garnered more than $4 million in contributions and in-kind donations, including Sprint Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart's recent pledge of $1 million. The camp in Kansas is expected to break ground in 2009.(Victory Junction PR)(9-27-2008)
Terry Labonte back in #45 at Dega? Terry Labonte could return to Petty Enterprises' #45 car at Talladega, Petty's executive vice president of race operations Robbie Loomis said Sunday. Loomis said the team was "looking hard at putting Terry" in a car at Talladega, in part because of the unusual impound rules at restrictor-plate tracks. "It's hard to put yourself in the situation to go race if you're a guy who has to qualify in because you do so many funny things," Loomis said. "You see guys go behind the wall and change their oil and do all that stuff. We don't want to get in that situation – if we go down there, we want to race." Another reason, Loomis said, is that Labonte gave the team its best finish of the season at the July Daytona race [16th]. Loomis said Kyle Petty will again drive the car next week at Kansas and Chad McCumbee – who will test this week at Charlotte – will drive the Lowe's Motor Speedway race. McCumbee is expected to drive in four or five more races with the team this season, Loomis said, and Petty is on the schedule for Phoenix.(SceneDaily)(9-22-2008)
Loomis Courted by Stewart-Haas UPDATE Loomis says no: Sirius Speedway has learned that Petty Enterprises Vice President of Racing Operations Robbie Loomis is now at the top of Stewart-Haas Racing’s wish list, as they attempt to hire a new Vice President/General Manager. Red Bull Racing’s Jay Frye recently turned down the job in favor of remaining in his current position, and sources says Stewart-Haas is now interested in talking with Loomis.(Motorsports Soapbox)(9-20-2008)
UPDATE: Petty Enterprises vice president of racing operations Robbie Loomis said he is not entertaining an offer from Stewart-Haas Racing. Loomis' name surfaced when Jay Frye opted to remain general manager at Team Red Bull. "All of my interests are to continue to do what I'm doing, and that is get the #43 back in Victory Lane," Loomis said. "All of my focus is here with Petty Enterprises." (ESPN)(9-21-2008)
Latest on Petty Enterprises in 2009: frpm a Dodge Motorsports PR/transcript:
Q: WHAT PLANS DO YOU HAVE IN PLACE FOR THE SECOND PETTY CAR FOR NEXT YEAR?
Robbie Loomis, Executive VP of Racing Operations – Petty Enterprises: There’s no secret that we’ve been working our way through it since we took on our new partners with Boston Ventures and David Zucker – the new CEO. We’re still navigating our way through our direction. It’s obvious that we want to bring in a young guy with Bobby Labonte’s experience and try to build from there. We’re excited about this past weekend. We’re working a lot with Chad McCumbee and will probably take some looks at Chad this season for sure in another five races. We’re excited about where we’re going in the future with that…also excited about having the experience of Bobby Labonte on our side.
Q: WILL KYLE (PETTY) BE IN THE CAR NEXT YEAR?
RL: Oh yeah. Kyle’s going to be back in (the 45 car) this weekend in Dover and some other races lined up for him during the end of the year. We’ll see Kyle and I’m sure you’ll see Kyle out there next year. As everyone knows, with all the sponsorship dependent on how you put all these programs together, we’re trying to work our way through it right now.
Q: IS ONE OPTION NEXT YEAR FOR PETTY ENTERPRISES THREE CARS, ONE WITH A LIMITED SCHEDULE WITH KYLE DRIVING IT?
RL: It definitely is. We’ve had a lot of discussion on that in staff meetings each week. Dave Zucker – our CEO – is trying to put a lot of things together on the sponsorship front and that’s one of the avenues that we’ve talked about. If we could run a third car on a limited schedule – even if it is a minimum of five to seven races – it does help us prepare and get a little bit of information in our circle and also prepare an easier transition when we go to three cars in 2010 when everyone gets this economy rolling again.
Q: AND A THIRD CAR IS CONTINGENT ON SPONSORSHIP?
RL: Yes sir. 100%.(Dodge Motorsports PR)(9-17-2008)
Petty prmotes prostate awareness: Seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty is a prostate cancer survivor. Son Kyle Petty remains highly involved in battling the disease through his Stay on Track for Better Prostate Health awareness program. Petty's "Prostate Inspection Pledge" is encouraging men to go for annual screenings and if diagnosed, to assemble a multidisciplinary pit crew of healthcare experts. Pharmaceutical company Sanofil-aventis is donating $1 for every prostate awareness pledge to the Prostate Cancer Education Council.(USA Today)(9-13-2008)
Petty Enterprises still working on 2009 driver lineup: Robbie Loomis, vice president for racing operations at Petty Enterprises: "As far as driver lineup for next year, we are very aggressive on moving forward…but we are facing the fact that, based on where our cars are running right now, we won't be able to get that A-level driver as a teammate with #43-Bobby Labonte. So we have to create that player: like Brett Favre at Green Bay. We're still working on those plans. Kyle [Petty] will run some races next year. And Bobby will have a teammate that we hope can grow into that B-level or A-level player."(Winston Salem Journal)(8-31-2008)
McCumbee to Cup; announcement soon? UPDATE: Hearing that the deal for Truck Series driver Chad McCumbee has been finalized for the move to Sprint Cup in 2009, and an announcement is expected sometime within the next week. McCumbee currently drives a few Cup races for Petty Enterprises and has been rumored to be going there full time in 2009.(8-9-2008)
UPDATE: Petty Enterprises has not decided on a driver for its #45 car next year, team official Robbie Loomis said Friday, but Chad McCumbee remains one of the top candidates for the ride. Michael McDowell and Casey Mears are some of the other drivers who have been mentioned, though Mears appears poised to sign with Richard Childress Racing. Loomis said the team was still speaking with multiple drivers.(SceneDaily.com)(8-18-2008)
Said to run #45 at Watkins Glen: With approval from Ford, Boris Said will step into the Petty Enterprises #45 Dodge to replace Kyle Petty in the Centurion Boats at The Glen this weekend. With qualifying rained out, Said failed to make the field in his #60 No Fear Racing entry. He said prior to qualifying being postponed Friday that he had another ride lined up as long as he could get Ford approval. Late Friday, he said he had gotten that. Petty confirmed that the plan is for Said to drive his car. The race was going to be Petty’s first since the Coca-Cola 600 in May. Petty has missed the last nine races for his TNT commentary obligations, his daughter’s wedding and for the team to continue evaluate its program with drivers Terry Labonte and Chad McCumbee. Petty said the team has discussed all week the possibility of putting Said in the #45 car if qualifying was rained out. Once it was announced qualifying was canceled, the team began putting Said’s seat in the car and adjusting the pedals. Soon after qualifying was postponed, Said had to drive his Nationwide Series car for practice and had not yet had time to confirm that he had gotten permission from Ford and would drive for the Pettys. Said raced for the Wood Brothers last year in a similar situation. Said had previously stated that a rainout would cost his team about $250,000 as he failed to make the show with his No Fear Racing group. Said needed to get in Sunday’s race via qualifying and spoke of his situation prior to NASCAR's decision to cancel the session. That’s the risk part-time teams like Said’s take when trying to make Sprint Cup races. “It’s disappointing,” Said said. “I hope in the future NASCAR could tweak the rules where if they cancel qualifying and they know Saturday might be better weather, maybe they could lock the top 35 in but keep a half-hour to go qualify the go-or-go-homers. We put so much money into coming up here and not even to get a chance to qualify is a little disappointing."(SceneDaily)(8-8-2008)
More driver plans for the #45: Kyle Petty said that his not racing the last two weeks is different than his situation earlier this season at Texas Motor Speedway when he was pulled from the Petty Enterprises #45 car. With the team currently 273 points [now 242 after McCumbee's 17th at Pocono] outside of the top 35, Petty said it only makes sense to use the rest of the season to evaluate drivers. Petty, speaking following a taping of “Tradin’ Paint” at Pocono Raceway, was originally scheduled to drive at Indianapolis last week and then Pocono. He had missed the previous seven races because of his daughter’s wedding and then to do commentary during TNT telecasts.
Petty said no one should read into this as new majority owner Boston Ventures trying to push him out. “We’re so far back in points, it really is going to give us an opportunity to evaluate a lot of things,” Petty said. “[Texas] was a different deal. We’re all on the same page on this and everything is going according [to the plan]. … I was mad at Texas, and you know I’m not going to hide it if I’m mad about it. We don’t have a shot of getting back in the top 35, and so when you get to that position, then you can try a lot of different stuff.”
He said he will race at Watkins Glen next week before Terry Labonte, who drove during most of his absence, returns at Michigan. Petty likely will run the seven races from Bristol through Talladega. Chad McCumbee, who qualified the #45 for the Pocono race, will run at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in October and likely will drive in the majority of the final five races after that, Petty said. And what about next year? Petty said he is still doing his six races in the broadcast booth for TNT. He said he was open to running a limited schedule, ranging from 10 to 30 races. Marathon and Wells Fargo should return as sponsors, Petty said. Petty said he is agreeable to running a third part-time car for the team if it wants to have two other full-time drivers. If there is a third team, Petty said he would still drive the #45. He drives the #45 as a tribute to his son, Adam, who was killed in a crash during Busch Series practice in 2000 at New Hampshire.(SceneDaily)(8-4-2008)
Mears to Petty's? Robbie Loomis says that Petty Enterprises is trying to find a balance between protecting its points position and preparing for the future. That's why the team has a series of drivers effectively sharing its #45 in the Sprint Cup Series in the coming races. Loomis, Petty's vice president of racing operations, is at Pocono Raceway this weekend, where the team has Chad McCumbee entered in the race. Next week, Kyle Petty returns for the first time since the Coca-Cola 600 in May at Lowe's Motor Speedway to attempt the race at Watkins Glen International. Then two-time Cup champion Terry Labonte, who raced while Petty worked in the TNT broadcast booth for six races, will return at Michigan International Speedway. Beyond that, the team doesn't have plans to announce, though Loomis expects Petty to race at Bristol Motor Speedway. The group is looking to add a third car for next season and is also interested in bringing Casey Mears into the fold. Loomis said that running the third car in a minimum of seven to 15 races would be ideal. He also says the organization is definitely interested in Mears, who has announced plans to leave Hendrick Motorsports at the end of the season. It appears that Mears would be in line for the #45 as it is the only full-time ride available. Bobby Labonte has already signed to drive the #43 next season. "Mears is definitely on our list," Loomis said. "I think Mears is probably, to me, one of the top guys available in the garage."
He said that Mears would be a perfect fit for the team. "He definitely brings some stability, can run real good on the road courses, and I think Casey's a very well-rounded driver, and I think he's in a real hard situation," Loomis said. "You look at a lot of drivers that are the fourth guy of a team, he's behind some real star power. It's hard not to be a little bit beat before you show up at the track."(SceneDaily)(8-2-2008)
Petty skipping Pocono too, not back in 2009? UPDATE: #45-Kyle Petty is expected to skip his second straight race next week at Pocono since his deal with TNT ended, team officials said. "We're still working through a few things," said Robbie Loomis, the vice president of racing operations at Petty Enterprises. The most likely candidate is Chad McCumbee, who attempted to qualify the car at Texas earlier this year. Terry Labonte, who replaced Petty on Sunday to guarantee the car got into the field, already has agreed to drive for Gillett Evernham Motorsports next week in place of #10-Patrick Carpentier. Carpentier is racing in the Nationwide Series in Montreal on Saturday and won't pull double duty. Loomis declined to speculate on whether Petty will drive the #45 car next season.(ESPN.com)(7-28-2008)
UPDATE: Petty Enterprises announced its driver lineup for the #45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge through the August 17th Sprint Cup race at the Michigan International Speedway. Chad McCumbee, Kyle Petty and Terry Labonte will each compete in one event over the next three weeks. "Chad, Kyle and Terry will be competing at places where they have all had success in the past," said Petty Enterprises Vice President of Race Operations Robbie Loomis. "That should put the #45 team in the best position possible to gain points on the teams in front of us in owner points. Everyone at Petty Enterprises is committed to doing whatever it takes to get this team back inside the top-35. That is one of our highest priorities as an organization." McCumbee, 23, will attempt to make his first Sprint Cup start of the season this weekend at the Pocono Raceway. He made his first career Sprint Cup start at Pocono in 2007, finishing 25th. McCumbee also picked up an ARCA RE/MAX Series victory at Pocono last year. He currently competes full-time in the Craftsman Truck Series where he is 12th in points.
Petty will return to the seat of the #45 Dodge for the August 10 event at Watkins Glen International. This will be the first start for Petty since
the Coca-Cola 600 in May. His hiatus included at six-race stint in the TNT Sports booth where he covered the Sprint Cup Series. "We're all excited to see Kyle back in the #45 Marathon Dodge at Watkins Glen," said Loomis. "He has been a great road course racer throughout his
career. I know he is looking forward to it as well so we are going up there with a lot of confidence that we will have a solid run."
Labonte, who has competed in seven races in the #45 Dodge this season, will make his eighth start at the Michigan International Speedway on August 17th. He owns seven top-fives, 13 top-tens and two poles in his career at Michigan.(Petty Racing PR)(7-29-2008)
Labonte in the #45 at Indy: UPDATE: Terry Labonte will be back behind the wheel of the #45 Marathon Oil Dodge this weekend at the Brickyard. Kyle Petty had been secheduled to return to the car. The team is now guaranteed to make the race with Labonte having the most recent past champion's provisional.(7-21-2008)
UPDATE: Kyle Petty's break from the Sprint Cup circuit has been extended by one race. Terry Labonte, who has driven the past six races in the #45 car while Petty served as an analyst for TNT, will be in the car again for Sunday's race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Petty Enterprises officials want to take advantage of Labonte's past champion's provisional -- Labonte won titles in 1984 and 1996 -- to guarantee the car will be in the field for one of the biggest races of the year. Officials said this was only temporary and Petty will return to the car.(ESPN.com)(7-21-2008)
Bartelli named Chief Marketing Officer of Petty Enterprises & Richard Petty Driving Experience: Petty Enterprises announced that Michael Bartelli has been named Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer of the legendary race team and the Richard Petty Driving Experience. Bartelli will further strengthen the race team marketing group led by Brian Moffitt and the Richard Petty Driving Experience efforts led by President Brian Flynn. Bartelli joins Petty Enterprises from Millsport's Charlotte-based motorsports division where he spent eight years, and was most recently, its President. Prior to Millsport, Bartelli served as Vice President, Business Development for Action Performance Companies, the world's largest manufacturer of licensed motorsports merchandise at the time. He began his industry career in Daytona Beach, FL where he served as Director, Marketing Partnerships for International Speedway Corporation.(Petty Enterprises PR)(7-16-2008)
Reutimann to take over #45 for Petty in 2009? UPDATE 2: Look for David Reutimann to be announced soon as the replacement for Kyle Petty in the #45 car, something the Petty folks would rather we not know about just yet.(Yahoo Sports)(7-10-2008)
UPDATE: "David is currently under contract at Michael Waltrip Racing and we are looking forward to continuing our relationship with him," Calvin Wells III said. "He made his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start with Michael Waltrip Racing in 2005 and has been with the Waltrip family since making his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race in 2004 with Darrell Waltrip Motorsports. He has had success driving for the Waltrips and we look forward to having him back with the team next year."(MWR PR)(7-9-2008)
UPDATE 2: David Reutimann disputed a report he was leaving Michael Waltrip Racing after the season to drive the #45 car at Petty Enterprises. Reutimann acknowledged MWR has an option on him for next season. "I feel like I will be back," he said. "I'm just trying to keep from getting my head kicked in every week." Petty Enterprise officials said there have been no discussions with Reutimann about replacing Kyle Petty.(ESPN.com)(7-11-2008)
Labonte in #45 instead of McCumbee: Chad McCumbee was expected to be in the driver's seat for the #45 car and attempt to qualify for Saturday night's Nextel Cup LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. But Terry Labonte, who is locked into the field because of a past champion's provisional, will drive the car as a part of the 50th anniversary celebration of Richard Petty's first race. "We wanted to ensure the #45 was in the field," said David Hovis, spokesman for the #45 team. "Chad was on board with it."(Myrtle Beach Sun)(7-11-2008)
Terry Labonte back in the #45 at Chicago: during Sprint Cup qualifying at New Hampshire on SPEED, Larry McReynold's mentioned that Terry Labonte, who is running the #45 Petty Dodge in five races while regular driver Kyle Petty broadcasts the races on TNT, may run the car at Chicagoland Speedway. Labonte was scheduled to run five races, Pocono in June thru Daytona in July with Chad McCumbee in the car at Chicago.(6-28-2008)
Petty Enterprises Press Conference: Kyle Petty hosted the press conference at Lowe's Motor Speedway, with NASCAR's Brian France, #43 driver Bobby Labonte, Richard Petty, new CEO David Zucker and Andrew C. Davis, Managing Dorector of Boston Ventures were seated at the front table.
The partnership between Petty Enterprises and Boston Ventures was announced.
Zucker becomes the first non Petty to be in charge.
Zucker says he plans to expand to more teams/cars in the future
Boston Ventures would not say what percentage of Petty Enterprises they invested in
No 2009 sponsor was named for the #43 or #45, General Mills/Cheerrios will leave the #43 after 2008 and head to a 4th RCR team.
Bobby Labonte is signed to drive the #43 Dodge thru 2012 and says there are options for him to becomed more involved with the afterwards.(6-11-2008)
Labonte Signs Contract Extension with Petty: Petty Enterprises has announced the signing of 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Bobby Labonte to a four-year contract extension. The contract will keep the veteran driver behind the wheel of the famed #43 Petty Enterprises Dodge through the 2012 Sprint Cup season. Labonte, 44, began driving the #43 Dodge in 2006. “I have known all along this is where I want to finish my racing career,” said Labonte. “The future is very bright for Petty Enterprises. As we continue to develop and learn from this new car we will increase our testing and engineering support. The investment from Boston Ventures will allow us to compete on the same level as the bigger Sprint Cup teams.” In Robbie Loomis, Jeff Meendering, Derrick Finley and others, we have some of the brightest minds in the garage area. They will continue to expand our resources which will continue to pay dividends for us both on and off of the track. After the initial meeting I had with Boston Ventures, it was evident they shared the same vision and desire to return Petty Enterprises to Victory Lane that we all have,” continued Labonte. “Their enthusiasm is contagious. When you can pair that with ‘The King,’ the confidence and success that he portrays, you have an organization that will be as strong as any in the Sprint Cup Series.” See full PR woth quotes and info on Baker and Davis at Pettyracing.com.(6-11-2008)
Petty Enterprises Names Zucker CEO: Petty Enterprises announced today that David Zucker has been named Chief Executive Officer of the legendary race team and the Richard Petty Driving Experience. Zucker brings a wealth of business acumen and experience which will help grow and expand the Petty brand. Zucker has held prominent positions in the media, entertainment, sports and technology sectors, serving most recently as President and CEO of Midway Games, Inc., a publisher and developer of video games for home console and PC platforms. The company, based in Chicago, IL, had 900 employees and produced the Mortal Kombat and NBA Ballers series of video games. Zucker also spent 11 years with the Walt Disney Company, including eight years at ESPN, where he helped expand their motorsports strategy, directed the programming launch of ESPN2, championed the original X-Games and oversaw the growth of ESPN International to include 21 networks in 20 languages around the world. See full PR woth quotes and info on Zuckr at Pettyracing.com.(6-11-2008)
Boston Ventures Invests in Petty Enterprises: Boston Ventures, a leading middle market private equity firm, announced that it has agreed to a sizeable investment in Petty Enterprises and the Richard Petty Driving Experience. The infusion of capital will allow Petty Enterprises to significantly grow the organization with the goal of returning to the pinnacle of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and growing the Richard Petty Driving Experience into the safe driving and performance sectors. Barry Baker, Managing Director of Boston Ventures, will become Chairman of Petty Enterprises. Andrew C. Davis, Managing Director of Boston Ventures, will also serve on the newly formed Petty Enterprises Board of Directors. See full PR woth quotes and info on Baker and Davis at Pettyracing.com.(6-11-2008)
Same sponsor for the Labonte brothers at MIS: both Petty Enterprises will run similar paint schemes in the Lifelock 400 at Michigan International Speedway with #43-Bobby Labonte and #45 Terry Labonte running Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil schemes. Terry Labonte comments: "It's going to be cool to wear the Marathon colors this week, especially with this being close to their home in Findlay, Ohio. My brother, Bobby, and I are both running the Marathon colors. Our paint schemes will be mirrored. It will be easy for our dad to find us on Sunday. It has been a few years since I raced on Father's Day weekend. Sharing the track with my brother will make it special."(Petty Racing PR), see images of the scheme on my #43 Team Schemes page and #45 Team Schemes page.(6-11-2008)
Petty Investor to be announced soon UPDATE 3 announc Wed: Petty Enterprises' yearlong search to find an investment partner seems to be in the final stages, with an announcement tentatively planned for next week to announce a deal with a private equity firm. Boston Ventures is expected to take over a controlling interest in the company, which has fallen behind NASCAR's top organizations and needs a boost to become competitive. Richard Petty declined to discuss the deal Saturday. "We're not even going there," he said.
Robbie Loomis, vice president of racing operations, said Petty Enterprises is an attractive partner to any potential investors. "The Petty brand is such a clean brand and stands for so much, and we want to take it to the next level with the right company," Loomis said. Boston Ventures has invested six funds totaling $2.6 billion in capital commitments in its 22-year history. Some of Boston Ventures previous portfolio companies include American Media Inc., Motown Records, Six Flags Entertainment and Continental Cablevision.(ESPN/AP)(6-8-2008)
UPDATE: not sure if this is a press conference for the investor, but Petty Enterprises will host a news conference on Wednesday, June 11, 2008 at 11:00am/et at Lowe's Motor Speedway Media Center with Richard Petty, Bobby Labonte, Kyle Petty and others attending. Hearing that Labonte's new deal with Petty could be announced and possibly a new sponsor.(6-9-2008)
UPDATE 2: The future of Petty Enterprises will become clearer on Wednesday. NASCAR's most famed organization has called a news conference for 11am/et Wednesday at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Among the expected topics are a partnership with Boston Ventures Management and the re-signing of Bobby Labonte.(ESPN.com)
UPDATE 2a: On Wednesday, Petty Enterprises will announce that Boston Ventures, a private equity firm, has acquired controlling interest in the 60-year-old racing operation which has produced 10 NASCAR champions but struggled to remain competitive the last two decades. Richard Petty will remain involved at a high level, but David Zucker, 45, will assume the role of CEO according to David Hovis, a spokesman for Petty Enterprises. Hovis also said it will also be announced that veteran driver Bobby Labonte has agreed to a four-year extension. Labonte will continue to drive for what is expected to remain a two-car Cup team for 2009. Until March, Zucker had been CEO of Midway Games, a Chicago-based producer of video games. In 2002, Zucker was named president and CEO of Playboy Enterprises. From 1988-1999 he was with the Walt Disney Corp., becoming executive vice president at ESPN. He also served as director of ESPN International, overseeing international operations. Petty said the initial deal is to run two cars but indicated he'd like to have a third Cup team running full time by 2010. Sponsorship, however, remains an issue. The team is losing its primary sponsor of the Labonte's #43 car. General Mills, to Richard Childress Racing next year. Hovis said a fourth component of the deal will be announced at a Wednesday press conference.(USA Today)(6-10-2008)
Richard Petty Driving Experience on the #45 car: Richard Petty Driving Experience (RPDE) will be the primary sponsor on the Petty Enterprises #45 Dodge for the Best Buy 400 Sprint Cup race this weekend in Dover and again in Daytona for the Coke Zero 400 on July 5th. Chad McCumbee will pilot the RPDE race car at the Monster Mile
this weekend in place of Kyle Petty, who has the weekend off for his daughters wedding. "I have to thank everyone at Petty Enterprises for allowing me to drive the #45 Richard Petty Driving Experience Dodge this weekend," said McCumbee, who has two starts under his belt at Dover. Richard Petty Driving Experience will operate more than 1,200
track days at 25 locations nationwide in 2008. For more information, call 1-800-BE-PETTY or visit www.1800bepetty.com.(MCG/Petty Racing PR)(5-30-2008)
Kyle Petty Honored as Father of the Year: Kyle Petty is being honored by the National Father's Day Council and the American Diabetes Association as a Father of
the Year. The Greater Greensboro Area Father's Day Council will present Petty with the award on June 6 at their annual Father of the year Awards Dinner. Petty, 47, is among several recipients being recognized for their ability to balance their personal lives to serve as a role model for their children while also making a positive difference in their community.
"This award means so much to me because being a dad means so much to me," said Petty. "NASCAR drivers are on the road a lot, I'm traveling for so many months out of the year. So I really have to get the most out of my time at home. It makes me really appreciate spending time with my kids because my time with them is so valuable." Petty has a daughter, Montgomery Lee [who is getting married this weekend, Kyle will skip the race at Dover], and a son, Austin. His oldest son, Adam, was killed in an on-track accident in 2000. In Adam's honor, Petty and his wife Pattie started the Victory Junction Gang Camp in 2004. The camp offers children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses the opportunity to have a life-changing camping experience that takes place in a safe and medically sound environment. "I think this award is special because it focuses on fathers that are good dads but who also help their community," said Petty. "Being a good dad isn't just about how you are with your kids, it's about teaching your kids how to be good people. I hope that my passion for the camp will help my kids understand the importance of helping others." Held at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro on June 6, the Father of the year Awards dinner is designed to celebrate Father's Day while also benefiting the American Diabetes Association. The National Father's Day Council, which has raised more than $20 million to search for a cure for diabetes, is a group of volunteers who annually honor individuals whose achievements and values enhance the meaning and stature of fatherhood.(MCG Sports/Petty Racing PR)(5-29-2008)
A Golden Anniversary Fit for "The King": Petty Enterprises announced the plans to celebrate "The King" Richard Petty's 50th anniversary in NASCAR. The plan includes Petty getting back into a racecar and turning laps at Chicagoland Speedway. On July 12, 1958, Petty made his first NASCAR start in the old Convertible Division at Columbia Speedway in Cayce, South Carolina. On July 12, 2008, Petty Enterprises and the entire NASCAR community will celebrate the anniversary of that race at the Chicagoland Speedway, where the Sprint Cup Series is competing in the Life Lock 400. Petty Enterprises will be marking the anniversary with numerous special events and promotions. The team has extended an invitation for the CEOs of their sponsors and partner companies to come to Chicago to help them commemorate the anniversary. As part of the activities, Petty will return to a racecar to give some of his special guests a ride around Chicagoland Speedway in a Richard Petty Driving Experience stockcar. As a tribute to Petty and the anniversary of his first race, the #43 and #45 will be featuring special throwback paint schemes for the Life Lock 400. The paint schemes feature the Petty Blue color made famous by Petty and in a nod to the 60's and 70's, racing strips. Each will also carry the 50th anniversary commemorative logo on the hood of both cars. The 50th anniversary of Petty's first race is an opportunity for Petty Enterprises, the NASCAR community, and all NASCAR fans to honor him for his achievements and for the countless contributions he has made to the sport.(MCG Sports PR), see an images of the scheme on my #43 Team Schemes page and #45 Team Schemes page.(5-20-2008)
Coca-Cola scheme for Petty at LMS: Quotes from #45-Kyle Petty: “I’ve been a part of the all-star weekend since it began and I always look forward to that date on the schedule. It seems like only yesterday that Davey Allison and I were spinning across the finish line in the first all-star race under the lights. I really believe that it was that night that began the aura of this race. Strange things happen under the lights at Lowe’s. We’re obviously going into the All-Star Showdown with the intention of qualifying our way into the Sprint All-Star race. But we are also looking at the big picture, which is the Coca-Cola 600. There are some pieces of this new car that we still need a better grasp of and the all-star weekend gives us a chance to do that. So while we are going for the money, we’re also using it as another test session. The next two weekends are special for me because I get to run an awesome Coke paint scheme. Coke has been a partner of mine for a long time and they’ve used the all-star race and the Coke 600 to promote special events or products. This year the car will promote the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Summer is always different when it’s an Olympic summer. I’m just waiting on stock car racing to become an Olympic sport. I think we would have a pretty good chance at gold in that event.”(MCG SportsPetty Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on my #45 Team Schemes page.(5-14-2008)
BAM Racing & Petty Racing team up for Sprint Showdown: Chad McCumbee will run the #49 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge in the Sprint Showdown and will have a Petty Enterprises crew and Billy Wilburn will serve as crew chief. Quotes from Chad McCumbee: “I just want to thank everyone at Petty Enterprises and BAM Racing for giving me the opportunity to race in the Sprint All-Star Showdown. Hopefully we can have a good run and race our way into the all-star race. That would be a dream come true. Being one of the few drivers from North Carolina, I know how big that race has become. Lowe’s Motor Speedway is our backyard and the race is for bragging rights as much as anything else. I like the 1.5-mile tracks, like Lowe’s, so I’m confident that we will be competitive on Saturday. Billy (Wilburn, crew chief) and I have developed a great relationship over the last three races that I’ve run for Petty Enterprises. We have a lot of confidence in each other and that’s important when you are racing for all or nothing. That’s how we have to approach it. It’s win or go home. At the same time I’m going to go out there and do what I can to help my teammates. Kyle and Bobby have bigger fish on the line with the Coca-Cola 600. If there is something that I can try, something that may help them win next Sunday, then I am all for it. They have helped me tremendously in my time at Petty.” Petty Enterprises announced this week that McCumbee will pilot the #45 Dodge for two races this summer while Kyle Petty works in the broadcast booth for TNT.(MCG Sports/Petty Racing)(5-13-2008)
Terry Labonte to Drive for Petty UPDATE: Terry Labonte will be a teammate to his brother Bobby at Petty Enterprises starting next month, pending sponsor approval. Terry (and Chad McCumbee) will drive the #45 when Kyle Petty gets out for the summer. Petty is scheduled to compete in the Coca-Cola 600 and then miss the next seven races (one for his daughter's wedding and the other six to work as an analyst for TNT). McCumbee likely will drive at Dover and Chicago. Terry Labonte likely will drive in the other five races. Labonte's addition is key for Petty Enterprises because the #45 car is not in the top 35 in car owner points. Labonte's second of his two titles came in 1996 -- that makes him the most recent champion not in the top 35 since Bill Elliott's title came in 1988. Thus, Labonte would be guaranteed a starting spot each time he starts, while the Wood Brothers would lose that even with Elliott in the seat. This would be the second time the Labonte brothers have run as teammates. Terry Labonte drove in five races for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2005 when Bobby Labonte was there. Terry Labonte ranks fourth in series history with 851 career starts. He won 22 races.(Roanoke Times)(5-11-2008)
UPDATE: Petty Enterprises announces its driver lineup for the #45 Marathon/Wells Fargo/PVA Dodge for the races beginning with the June 1 event at Dover through the
July 12 event at Chicagoland. Kyle Petty is scheduled to step away from the car at Dover to attend his daughter's wedding. Petty will also return to the broadcasting booth to cover the Sprint Cup events that will air on TNT Sports, which begin with the June 8 event at Pocono. Petty made his TNT Sports broadcasting debut in 2007 to rave reviews and accolades. Petty will return when the series makes its annual mid-summer trek to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Chad McCumbee will bookend Petty's hiatus by getting behind the wheel of the #45 Dodge at Dover and Chicagoland. He previously filled in for Petty at Pocono and the Michigan International Speedway in 2007 and at the Texas
Motor Speedway last month. McCumbee's best finish for Petty Enterprises came at Pocono when he came home 25th. "As a father there aren't many days more special than the day you get to give your daughter away in marriage," said Petty. "I appreciate Chad jumping in the car at Dover to allow me to do that. He is strong on the intermediate tracks and I'm confident that he will do a great job at Dover as well as Chicagoland. It's just another part of our evaluation process of him." For the remaining five races, Petty will turn the reins of the #45 Dodge over to a familiar friend and competitor. Two-time Sprint Cup Series champion, Terry Labonte, will become a teammate to his younger brother, 2000 series champion Bobby, for only the second time in their Sprint Cup careers. The Labontes are the only brothers to both win the series championship and have combined to win 43 Sprint Cup races.(MCG Sports/Petty Racing)(5-13-2008)
Petty's Visit VA Medical Center: While in Richmond this week, Richard and Kyle Petty visited with paralyzed veterans in the Spinal Cord Injury Unit of Richmond’s Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center. The two spent time with seriously wounded troops and met with members of the Paralyzed Veterans Virginia Mid-Atlantic Chapter.
The Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) will adorn the hood and sides of Kyle Petty’s #45 Dodge this weekend for the Crown Royal Presents the Dan Lowry 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Petty Enterprises recently donated sponsorship of the #45 Dodge to the PVA for the Kobalt Tools 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The organization will join the team again at the Pocono 500 held on June 8 at Pocono Raceway. The Petty’s were proud to spend their afternoon with some of our nation’s service men and women. They are longtime supporters of the armed forced and have a deep appreciation for the commitment and sacrifice made by American troops. The PVA, founded in 1946, works to ensure that all veterans, people with disabilities, and their families have everything they need to thrive. For more information on the organization, visit www.pva.org.(Petty Racing), see images of the PVA.org car on my #45 Team Schemes page.(5-3-2008)
Richard and Kyle Petty Make 'Pit Stop' to Meet Paralyzed Veterans at Richmond VA Hospital: Richard and Kyle Petty, in advance of the Crown Royal Presents Dan Lowry 400, May 3 at the Richmond International Raceway, will drop by to meet paralyzed veterans at Richmond's Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center on May 1, 2008. The legendary duo will visit with seriously wounded troops and meet leaders and members of Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) Virginia Mid-Atlantic Chapter. The Pettys are longtime supporters of Paralyzed Veterans' work to ensure that those who have served and sacrificed have everything they need to thrive. Petty Enterprises recently donated the primary sponsorship of their No. 45 Dodge at the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway and the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway to Paralyzed Veterans. Petty Enterprises announced in November 2007 that Paralyzed Veterans will serve as a primary sponsor on the #45 Dodge Avenger for two races during the 2008 Sprint Cup season. The events will be the Crown Royal Presents Dan Lowry 400, May 3 at the Richmond International Raceway and the Pocono 500, June 8 at the Pocono Raceway. The organization will be an associate sponsor on the #45 Dodge for the remaining 34 races of the season. For more information, visit www.pva.org/petty.(Petty Racing), see images of the scheme on my #45 Team Schemes page.(4-29-2008)
"Tri Primary" Scheme for Kyle Petty at Talladega: Kyle Petty: "Petty Enterprises is truly fortunate in that we have three great primary sponsors on my #45 Dodge. So this weekend we are going to show our appreciation by sporting a tri-primary paint scheme. Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil, Wells Fargo and the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) will all get primary treatment."(Petty Racing PR)(4-23-2008)
New crew chief for Petty: The #45 team welcomes new crew chief Stewart Cooper onboard this week. Cooper comes to Petty Enterprises from the #38 NASCAR Nationwide Series team. Billy Wilburn, former crew chief for the #45, is now heading up the test team for Petty. Wells Fargo will adorn the hood and sides of the #45 this weekend for the fourth time this season. Quotes from Kyle Petty: “Stewart Cooper is going to take over as my crew chief on the #45 Wells Fargo Dodge this weekend. Stewart is that new breed of crew chief that couples a mechanical engineering education with a lot of practical at track experience. With the success he has had as a crew chief in the Nationwide Series, I know Robbie (Loomis) has been trying to get him in the organization for some time. The 45 team is a talented race team and we’ll benefit from having a guy like Stewart at the helm. Something that should not be lost in the crew chief change is the fact that Billy Wilburn will remain with Petty Enterprises. Billy’s going to take over as crew chief of our test team and he will be a huge part of improving the product that we take to the race track. With the addition of Derrick Finley in the off season as our technical director, and the addition of several other talented people in our engineering department, we really have a lot of great information coming out of this group. Billy’s experience will help validate new ideas at the track and give our crew chiefs more options for the races. To really learn this new car you need to be on-track as much as possible and we have devoted more resources to track testing this year. It is great to have somebody of Billy’s experience level to lead this team.”
Quotes from Stewart Cooper: “It’s an honor to come onboard a race team like Petty Enterprises. Everyone here is committed to making this #45 Wells Fargo Dodge competitive on a weekly basis. If we do that, the points thing will take care of itself. Petty Enterprises has the pieces and they are all in place, we just have to put the pieces to work. Our first priority is to qualify Kyle into the show this weekend and then perform well on Saturday evening. Kyle, Billy and the team participated in the test at Phoenix last month so we have a nice book of notes to help us accomplish that. Billy Wilburn and Robbie (Loomis) have assembled a good team here and I’m looking forward to working with these guys.”(MCG Sports/Petty Racing PR)(4-8-2008)
Petty will skip Dover race for daughter's wedding: Kyle Petty said Friday at Texas that he will miss the June 1 Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway because of the wedding of his daughter. Montgomery Lee Petty will marry Randy Schlappi on May 31, a spokesman for Petty Enterprises said Friday. Petty is already skipping six Cup races later this year because he will serve as an analyst on TNT’s race broadcasts, and Petty is not driving this weekend’s race at Texas. Montgomery Lee Petty is Kyle and Pattie’s only daughter.(SceneDaily.com)(4-5-2008)
Petty, Loomis differ on who made call for McCumbee; Petty Would Consider Driving for Another Team: Kyle Petty isn't happy about the decision to replace him with rookie Chad McCumbee at Texas. He made it clear on Friday that it was not his decision to step aside even though Robbie Loomis, the vice president of competition at Petty Enterprises, said it was. "I don't care what he said,'' Petty said. "I said it wasn't. Why would I get out of a car?'' Petty would not say who made the decision, whether it was Loomis or his father, seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty. He referred to the decision-maker only as "they.'' "Quite frankly, Kyle is the one that came up with the idea,'' said Loomis, adding Petty will be back in the car next week at Phoenix. "On Monday, Kyle and Richard came to the shop and talked to me and said, 'Hey, I know you're trying to strengthening this team up. Let's try to leave as much as that intact as you can right now and let's put Chad in there and give him a chance.''' That didn't mesh with Petty's story. "I told them I'll do whatever it takes to make this team better,'' he said. "They felt in order to make this team better was me being out of the car and somebody else being in it. If that's the way they feel then that's their option because they run the place. "Do I think I'm the problem?'' he said. "No, I don't think I'm the problem, but I'm pretty arrogant on that side…I think we have problems, but I don't think Kyle Petty is the problem.''(ESPN.com)
AND: Kyle Petty said he would consider driving for a different organization if "there's not a place for me here" at Petty Enterprises. The 47-year-old veteran replied "Oh, yeah" without hesitation when asked Friday afternoon whether a new race team could be in his future if it is determined that Petty Enterprises wants to go in a different direction. "Even though you think I make a living running my mouth, I try to make a living driving," he said. "And if there's no place for me here, then you'd have to go someplace else." Petty emphasized that such a move would not be made until his current team has chosen the direction it will take. Therefore, a change is not imminent. (SceneDaily.com)(4-5-2008)