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Sunday, October 24, 2010

NASCAR - CUP: Another Rocky Road For The King -

CUP: Another Rocky Road For The King

Richard Petty faces another hurdle as the team that bears his name struggles to survive...
Mike Hembree | Posted October 23, 2010 Martinsville, VA

Robbie Loomis stepped down from the rear of the Richard Petty Motorsports team hauler Saturday into a sea of news media and, battling a wave of engine noise from race cars warming for Martinsville Speedway morning practice, tried to explain – however briefly – the current state of the racing operation fronted by the most famous man in the history of stock car racing.

It was the latest sad moment in what has seemed to be a painfully long but not-quite-completed obituary for what once was one of international motorsports’ supreme operations.

Once upon a time, there was Petty Enterprises, and there was everybody else. The Level Cross, NC-based team, which expanded from Lee Petty’s small reaper shed in the 1940s to the virtual capital of NASCAR in the 1960s, won 268 races and 10 national championships. For a generation-plus, no one did it better.

And the foundation for the continuation of the magic was set. Richard followed Lee, Kyle followed Richard, Adam followed Kyle. The Pettys could rule as long as there was racing.

But along came people like Rick Hendrick and Jack Roush and Dale Earnhardt. The game changed, and big money shoved its way into the garage. Technology leapfrogged street smarts.

The King drove on through 1992, his closing seasons defining the struggle to compete, a battle that was being lost in Level Cross. Kyle moved along and was in and out of the door of the family operation, and then came the hardest hit of all – the loss of Adam, the fourth generation and a driver with a seemingly unlimited future, in a crash in practice at Loudon, NH. Read Entire Article

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