Saturday, May 12, 2007

In Memory of Adam Petty

As many of you know, I am a NASCAR fan. My driver is Kyle Petty, but if it hadn't been for a terrible accident on this date seven years ago I would be cheering for another Petty also. Adam Petty.

Adam was the shining star on the horizon for the Petty family that featured Great-grandfather Lee Petty, the inaugural Daytona 500 in 1959, Grandfather (King) Richard Petty and Father Kyle Petty, racings "Royal Family" He began his career with a victory, just as his dad Kyle had, in his start at Lowe's Motor Speedway in 1998. Adam was just 18. In 1999 he ran full time in the Busch Series driving the Sprint 45 car. Petty Enterprise had planned to have Adam drive full time in the (then named) Winston Cup in 2001 and would start him out with seven starts in 2000 while he still drove the Busch series full time. Adam was able to qualify in his first Winston Cup attempt, but was disappointed that his father Kyle had not. As fate would have it, Kyle was able to race in the same race as a relief driver for Elliot Sadler after Sadler fell ill during the race. Father and son raced together for only a few precious laps until Adams engine failed giving him a 40th place finish. Adams Great-Grandfather Lee was able to see the race, along with Grandfather Richard. Lee would pass away just three days later.

Just over a month later, Adam was practicing his Busch car at Loudon Speedway in New Hampshire when his throttle stuck and sent him head-on into a wall. The impact killed Adam instantly. He was just 19.

Suddenly, the kid with the infectious smile and unyielding determination was gone.

"Adam was so full of life and just awful happy to be where he was. He knew how lucky he was, and he made everyone else realize it, too." Once said Hank Parker Jr. He and Adam both broke into the Busch Series full time in 1999.

"Adam Petty was this big, tall, goofy kid who looked like a high school kid out on a Friday night at a football game. He was having the time of his life this year. It's really sad to see something like that happen to someone who was so nice, so innocent and naive." NASCAR President Bill France Jr said.

How does a family carry on after loosing a child? Kyle and Patti Petty have two other children, Austin Kemp Petty and Montgomery Lee Petty.
I guess you do what ya gotta do!
The Petty's were and still are a very close family that still makes time to pray together.

Kyle now drives the 45 car in the Nextel Cup races in honor of Adam. Kyle calls himself a "fill in driver" and while other drivers have their name above the window of their car, Kyle does not. And in Adams memory, Kyle and Patti started the Victory Junction Gang Camp.

Every year when the series come to Loundon, Kyle drives an all black car in honor of Adam. Kyle does not do well at this track, but who could blame him. What memories must flood back to him every time he passes the spot where his son died. Tonight, Kyle will once again take to the track that took the life of his son. I don't look for a win, top 10 or even a top 25, (although what would be better than a win there?). All I hope for is peace and safety for a man who truly deserves it today.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Why cant they do a "MIKE YOUNG its his birthday" thing for him!