Richard Petty to serve as model in fashion show fundraiser

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Richard Petty has done a lot of things in his life.

He was voted into the inaugural class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. He’s the all-time race winner in NASCAR history with 200 wins. He also is tied for the most championships won with the late Dale Earnhardt.

He’ll soon also be a fashion model.

Well, kind of, according to the High Point (N.C.) Enterprise.

The man known as The King will take part in a special fashion show designed to give 12 students enrolled in the University of North Carolina-Greensboro’s CARS (Consumer, Apparel and Retail Studies) program an opportunity to show off their fashion designs.

The designs are inspired by Petty and significant moments of his long and illustrious career, based upon a recent visit by the students to the Richard Petty Museum in Randleman, N.C.

“A lot of the students did not know anything about ‘The King’ or about NASCAR, so it was a challenge for them to learn and understand about him and his history,” Jill Mongelli, of the Petty Family Foundation, told the Enterprise. “These kids have really thought outside the box.

“We wanted to challenge them, and I’m very impressed with what they’ve done. They got to know Richard’s history. They got to see the design of the cars, the edges, the colors, you name it, and they really took some of it to heart. Their inspiration came from many different aspects.”

Proceeds from the fashion show will go to provide scholarships for seniors in the CARS (Consumer, Apparel and Retail Studies) program at UNC-G, as well as to support Victory Junction Gang Camp.

The show, known as “Hot Pass To Fashion Challenge,” is a competition to determine the best student designs. Presented by the Petty Family Foundation, the event will be held Jan. 17 at Petty Enterprises in Level Cross, N.C.

Tickets are $43 general admission and $143 for VIP tickets that include front-row seating. To see and cast online votes for the designs that will be part of the fashion show competition, as well as more information, check out the “Current News & Events” tab at www.pettyfamilyfoundation.org.

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New study surveys drivers’ opinions on crashes, concussions, more

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Auto racing safety has continued to improve through the decades, but the sport remains inherently dangerous, according to a new survey.

At the close of 2018, a new organization called Racing Safety United emerged with the intention of reducing drivers’ risk of being harmed.

RSU is made up of more than 30 members including former NASCAR Cup Series competitor Jerry Nadeau, two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Randy LaJoie, NHRA team owner Don Schumacher and motorsports journalist Dick Berggren.

One of RSU’s first initiatives was to determine what current drivers thought of racing safety. The organization developed a 14-question survey and promoted it on select motorsports websites and forums. 

Participants were given the opportunity to disclose their identity or remain anonymous, and those who provided contact information were entered to win a $500 prize (for anonymous participants, the prize funds would be donated to a motorsports charity). 

More than 140 individuals participated in the survey over the course of 12 months. Below are the results of the survey:

Driver status

The vast majority of survey participants (60%) were amateur racers, while 26% of the participants were classified as Semi-Pro/Professional racers. The remaining 14% consisted of other individuals involved in the sport such as team owners and crew chiefs. 

When asked how frequently they race, 58% of driver respondents averaged 10 or more times per year on track, while 42% averaged 10 times or less.

The top five tracks respondents said they raced most often: Road Atlanta (21 votes), Watkins Glen (17 votes), Virginia International Raceway (16 votes), Mid-Ohio (16 votes), and Road America (13 votes).

Vehicular damage, injuries common

Over a third of respondents said they had been injured while racing, and almost two-thirds sasid they had suffered severe vehicle damage while racing

Driver error was cited as the top cause of vehicle damage (42 mentions), followed by concrete walls (26 mentions), mechanical failures (24 mentions), and other drivers (19 mentions). The study concluded those results indicated a need for better driver training/coaching, energy absorbing walls, and more technical inspections.

Almost a quarter of drivers said they had experienced racing-related concussions, and nearly half the respondents said one or multiple concussions would affect their decision to race in the future. 

Drivers primarily influenced by peers 

Roughly half the drivers said they would consider adopting new safety equipment if influenced by another driver (51 total mentions) and/or if recommended by a sanctioning body (47 total mentions). The study concluded those results indicated a need for drivers to become safety advocates and educate other drivers and for sanctioning bodies to mandate safety equipment. 

Drivers concerned with concrete walls

Approximately three-quarters of the drivers surveyed said they believed certain race tracks were more dangerous than others. Nearly half the drivers surveyed believe that concrete walls were the primary cause of damage to drivers and vehicles. 

Drivers willing to help

Just more than three-quarters of the drivers surveyed said that they would be willing to join a safety alliance to advocate for safer tracks. Two-thirds of drivers said that they also would be willing to contribute to a motorsports safety fund.

Click here for the full results of RSU’s survey

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