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.

Michelin appoints new North American motorsports director

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Michelin North America has named Tony Ménard as director of motorsports, effective Jan. 1, 2020.

Ménard is succeeding Chris Baker, who has held the role for the past eight years. Baker is scheduled to retire in March of 2020, ending a lengthy career that began with Michelin in 1982.

“Chris has played a vital role in the growth and success of our motorsports program, both for BFGoodrich and Michelin in North America,” said Matthieu Bonardel, global director for Michelin Group’s motorsports business entity. “His passion and understanding for motorsport fueled growth in the organization and established credibility in the market. Chris’s leadership propelled the Group, which experienced tremendous success with race wins, and advanced the way the brands leveraged our motorsports participation to benefit the overall business.”

A native of Le Mans, France, Ménard has served in several positions during his 30-year career with Michelin, most recently serving global business leader for Michelin brand in the passenger-vehicle category. Ménard has worked closely with the North American motorsports team since early July in preparation for the transition.

Baker oversaw the development of the motorsports function for Michelin and BFGoodrich Tires brands as a single business unit in North America. He also directed the expansion of Michelin’s involvement in IMSA sports-car racing as the “Official Tire of IMSA” and BFGoodrich Tires partnership with SCORE International Racing as the “Official Tire of SCORE.”

During Baker’s tenure, BFGoodrich achieved an unprecedented 650 off-road class wins, including five overall victories in the Baja 1000. The brand also demonstrated performance in the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires, Lucas Oil Off Road Racing, Ultra4 King of Hammers, and provided strong support of grass roots racing across North America with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), National Auto Sport Association (NASA), and Super Production Challenge in Canada.

“I am incredibly grateful to Michelin for the opportunities and support throughout my career, and to all the folks that I have worked with and continue to work with,” Baker said. “I want to thank all the teams, partners, officials and fans who have made our relationships so successful and are essential to the brands’ successes. I look forward to witnessing the continued success of our motorsports programs under Tony’s leadership, as well as the contributions of the Michelin Motorsport North America staff and volunteers, who are completely dedicated and invested in representing our brands in competition.”