NOTE: Petty Enterprises and Wheaties announced a new program "Driving for Kids,' which will donate $43 to The First Tee organization for every lap that Jeff Green and the No. 43 Wheaties Dodge Charger complete in this Sunday's NASCAR Nextel Cup ...
Petty Enterprises and Wheaties announced a new program "Driving for Kids,' which will donate $43 to The First Tee organization for every lap that Jeff Green and the No. 43 Wheaties Dodge Charger complete in this Sunday's NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race. The First Tee is a national organization dedicated to impacting the lives of young people by providing leaning facilities and life-enhancing values through the game of golf.
JEFF GREEN (No. 43 Wheaties Dodge Charger) --
"I'm just excited about being here in California with our Wheaties car. Growing up in Kentucky with my heroes on a box of Wheaties, I'm pretty excited about driving a Wheaties car this weekend. Wheaties is going to donate $43 for every lap that I complete Sunday night, and if we're able to win this race, they're going to double it -- and I'm sure the team might double it, and I might double it too. So, we're looking forward to that, anyway. It's a great program. I'm glad to be involved with it. The people at Wheaties are very encouraged by the work that's being done with First Tee, and we're excited to be supporting that organization.
"I have a lot of respect for the values that is instilled in the First Tee organization. And those values that I try to live by every day are respect and integrity, things we do every day on the racetrack. I try to respect my competitors, my owners, and my teammates, and First Tee is trying to put kids on the right direction in life, and they're doing a great job of that. With that in mind, I'm proud to announce that Wheaties will help kids learn those values by making a donation to First Tee. While I'm talking to you here, they're finishing up the second round of Wal-Mart's First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. I got the chance to play at Pebble Beach earlier this week, and I figure I probably lost about $11,000 worth of golf balls, so I'm hoping that things out here at the racetrack are a lot better. We're excited about this program and to be part of something that special."
"I was lucky enough to go to Laguna Seca (Raceway) on Tuesday and drive the Richard Petty Driving Experience car around there with the ride-along program. I got to ride with a lot of kids around there and some grownups. I was able to stay on the track, for the most part. To go to Laguna Seca with all the history there, and then go to Pebble Beach and swing a club -- it probably wasn't very pretty, but the gold course was really pretty -- I'm just excited about that. And to be a part of this program is a dream come true for me. So, hopefully we can get the Wheaties Dodge Charger into Victory Lane this weekend and have a good finish for Dodge and General Mills and Wheaties and for Petty Enterprises. So, I hope it'll be good weekend for us."
Is it pretty easy for a driver to tell whether racecar contact during a race is intentional?
"Absolutely. There are things that go on in front of you that maybe you have to let off the gas when the guy gets into you that turns you sideways -- you know that. But if you're wide open and the when you're sideways, you know that he meant to do it. It all depends on how much of an altercation there is. Sometimes they turn you sideways and wreck you, and sometimes they just blip you out of the way. There's a difference. That's racing, I think, when then just blip you out of the way other than turning you sideways and wrecking you. It's easy to wreck somebody to get them out of the way. Anybody can do that. But, the good drivers come into play when they just have to blip you to get you out of the way.
RICHARD PETTY (Team Owner, Petty Enterprises) --
"It was pretty neat. I went to Pebble Beach. They wouldn't let me play, but I went up there and checked out Arnie's Army, and I got to talk to Arnold Palmer a little bit. He might be a little bit older than me. But we went through our deal sort of together. He was on the golf course, and I was supposed to be on the racetrack. Anyhow, we're always interested in working with people that help people. We've got the Victory Junction Gang Camp, and zillions of people have helped us with that deal there. Then we got the chance to get involved with Wheaties and Wal-Mart and their golfing program, I said, 'That's good. You're bringing in the kids and you're teaching them responsibilities, fair play and the whole deal.' We're just going at the kids a little bit different than Victory Junction with what Wal-Mart was doing. But, it's a way to get to the kids. It's really neat to be able to work with people all these years and stuff, and work with General Mills and Wheaties to bring this to kids and bring it to the forefront and let people know that there is a lot of people out there helping a lot of people.
On the Petty family's longtime contributions to children's charities:
"Well, you've got to figure that I had four kids and 12 grandkids, so I had to go along with the kids. It's something that we've been doing for a long time. We helped with the ballpark up there, Lynda was always involved with Scouts and 4-H and all this kind of stuff. I used to even coach a little league football team, believe it or not. So, we've always been out trying to do stuff in the neighborhood. Then, as time progressed, we were fortunate enough to move up the ladder a little bit and get more notoriety, and we were able to then take it out of the community, into the county, into the state and now we're doing things all over the states. The Kyle Petty Charity Ride across the country, that's a pretty big deal where we go to a bunch of different states. So we get a lot of that stuff out there, and especially getting the Victory Junction Gang Camp logo out in front of everybody. And we couldn't do it without a lot of people helping, and our sponsors have been one of the biggest things that really made it all work."
On the relief effort around Hurricane Katrina:
"I think everybody needs to get involved with that. You've got to figure that... you say, 'Okay, those people are down there,' but this is going to affect everybody. If the gas prices go up and everything else, then it's going to affect everybody in the United States. We're just fortunate that we weren't down there, we don't live down there. And you say, 'Well, why do you live there?' Hey, that's home. You're going to live at home no matter how bad it is, or whatever. We're fortunate enough now that we're still jumping around and doing things so we can help those people out, because some of these days, it's liable to hit our home. It's very important that for everybody to get involved, not just NASCAR but all the fans, the sponsors, every body that walks up and down the street. There's 300 million of us walking around the United States, and if everybody contributed then everybody gets the job done.