lynda petty

NBC Sportsworld: Joe Posnanski on the life and times of NASCAR’s King, Richard Petty

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After 200 victories and seven championships, Richard Petty ran his last NASCAR race on November 15, 1992.

More than two decades later, the life of NASCAR’s King is no longer being run at 200 miles per hour. But it’s still very much running along.

Whether it’s meeting his fans at the Petty Museum in North Carolina or helping tend to the Sprint Cup team that bears his name, there’s always something to do.

He’s 77 years old and long removed from the cockpit, but he still can’t stop. And he doesn’t plan to.

As Petty summed up recently for NBCSports.com columnist Joe Posnanski: “Guess I’ll keep moving ’til I drop.”

Petty has seen incredible highs and lows, both byproducts of the racing life. Those moments are chronicled in Posnanski’s latest piece, “Life And Times of the King,” which is now up on NBC Sportsworld, the new home of NBC Sports’ long-form stories and documentaries.

As Petty winds his way through the museum that pays tribute to he and his family’s accomplishments in American motorsports, he tells Posnanski of tales like how he and brother Maurice attempted to pave the garage floor for father Lee when they were pre-teens (“It’s sorta straight if you look at it right,” Petty says); his late wife, Lynda, handling the pressures of the real world so he could focus on his racing; and him dealing with the numerous tragedies that befell him in his career (“You don’t put a question mark where God put a period,” he says while, as Posnanski writes, staring into nothingness).

For every fan of the King and NASCAR history, it’s a must-read.

North Carolina legislators honor late Lynda Petty

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NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty’s late wife Lynda was honored Tuesday by the North Carolina General Assembly for her decades of service to the community and NASCAR.

Lynda Petty passed away March 25 after a long illness. She was 72.

Lynda and Richard had been married 55 years at the time of her death.

North Carolina state Sen. Jerry Tillman (R-Randolph) read an official proclamation in front of the General Assembly praising Lynda Petty for her years of service for a number of causes, including 16 years on the Randolph County Board of Education, founded several philanthropic organizations and served on several charitable boards.

Tillman also cited Lynda Petty for her years of service to the NASCAR community, to which Tillman called her “the First Lady of NASCAR.”

Richard Petty was present to accept the honors bestowed upon his late wife.

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Patricia Petty, wife of Maurice and sister-in-law of Richard, died on Sunday

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The Petty family is dealing with another loss.

Earlier today, Richard Petty Motorsports confirmed the death of Patricia Petty, the wife of NASCAR Hall of Fame engine builder/crew chief Maurice Petty and the sister-in-law of seven-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Richard Petty. She passed away on Sunday.

Her loss comes less than two months after Richard’s wife, Lynda, died at the age of 72. Richard has released the following statement:

“We all love Patricia. She was another cornerstone in the Petty family and was always there for Maurice and allowed us to do what we loved to do. She was just another special part of the family. We’ll miss her and give our love and support to Maurice and his family at this time.”

The confirmation of Patricia’s death comes on the 14th anniversary of the 2000 death of Adam Petty, Richard’s grandson and the first fourth-generation driver in NASCAR history.

Our thoughts are with the Petty family at this time.

Kyle Petty: Richard Petty “doing pretty good” but still adjusting to life alone

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Yesterday at Long Beach, NBCSN contributor and former Sprint Cup driver Kyle Petty provided an update on his father, seven-time Cup champion Richard Petty, who is still mourning the recent loss of his wife, Lynda.

Mrs. Petty, known for her gentle spirit and for being the rock of one of NASCAR’s most important families, died March 25 at her home in Level Cross, North Carolina. She was 72 years old.

Her passing brought about an outpouring of condolences from the NASCAR world, and Richard has stayed away from the race track in order to grieve.

He and Lynda were married for over half a century, and together, they raised four children – son Kyle and daughters Sharon, Lisa, and Rebecca.

“He’s doing pretty good, he’s used to going to the racetracks and being at the racetracks alone, but he’s not used to being at home and being alone,” Kyle said according to the Associated Press. “So I’ve stayed with him some, and my sisters have stayed some.

“It’s just going to take time. They were together 57 years and even though he spent 50 of those 57 years on the road, according to him, at race tracks, it’s been a lot harder and a lot tougher [than he thought].”

Multiple drivers, including the Richard Petty Motorsports duo of Marcos Ambrose and Aric Almirola, honored Mrs. Petty during the Martinsville race weekend in late March with a memorial decal on their cars.

At the time, NBCSN contributor and USA Today writer Nate Ryan tweeted that Richard was expected to return for the Toyota Owners’ 400 at Richmond International Raceway later this month.

Marcos Ambrose, Aric Almirola earn solid results for mourning Petty team

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Shortly before the start of today’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway – the first race after the loss of Lynda Petty, wife of seven-time Sprint Cup champion Richard Petty – the Richard Petty Motorsports team tweeted a vow:

Ultimately, a win was not to be for either of RPM’s drivers, Marcos Ambrose and Aric Almirola. But the two still netted solid results today in Martinsville with Ambrose finishing fifth (his second Top-5 in the last three races) and Almirola finishing eighth (his second Top-10 in the last three races).

“We’ve had a really tough week,” Ambrose said after the race, which did not have Richard in attendance (USA Today and NBCSN contributor Nate Ryan reports he is expected to return next month at Richmond).

“We lost Miss Lynda. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Petty family right now. We really wanted to win for them bad out there, but we’ll take a Top-5. We’re really proud of our efforts.”

Ambrose was especially stout this afternoon. Starting 17th, Ambrose made his way into the Top 5 shortly after the Lap 100 mark, and then on pit stops under a yellow at Lap 170, his pit crew was able to help him win the race off pit road and claim the lead on Lap 173.

The Australian would hold the point for the next 22 laps before Matt Kenseth passed him at Lap 194. Ambrose would hover around the Top 10-15 in the middle stages before making a late charge back into the Top 5 on the strength of solid pit work and a good car on long stints.

“We had great pit stops all day,” Ambrose said. “Our guys probably had their best day on pit road in a long time and [crew chief] Drew Blickensderfer and [team engineer] Derek [Stamets] on the pit box made great calls late in the race and if we would have had another round of pit stops, we might have had something for them.”

Like Ambrose, Almirola was able to keep around the Top 10 for the majority of the race even though he admitted that his car could never quite find a sweet spot.

“Our car was very touchy to the clouds,” Almirola explained. “When it would cloud up, my car would get real loose and then when the sun would come out my car would get better and it would tighten out, but we bounced around on adjustments all day and couldn’t ever get the car balanced right.

“We would either be too tight or too loose and we really struggled for forward drive, which really hurt us on longer runs.”

Nonetheless, Almirola was buoyed by another solid performance all-around for RPM.

“Marcos had a really good run as well, so we’re doing things right,” he said. “If we keep running like this, we’ll get to Victory Lane.”

Now more than ever, that’s the goal for RPM: A #WinForMissLynda.