RICHARD PETTY (Owner Petty Enterprises Dodge Chargers)
NOTE: Petty announced Friday at MIS that he'll drive a 1972 Dodge Charger in the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England in one of the largest and most diverse celebrations in motorsports. Held on the grounds of historic Goodwood House in West Sussex, the festival will be held July 7-9.
"I've been invited over there before, but it came in a little too late and we had our schedule set up. Everything worked out good this time. It's like a big parade. They let you run up there by yourself. You don't know what's coming. As far as actually getting in the racecar and actually racing it, I'm probably over that part of it -- maybe not in my mind but in my body. You always feel like you can do it, but your mind tells you you're smart enough not to try to do it. I never dreamed about something like this coming up, but when it did we jumped on the opportunity.
"They're trying to introduce the new cars and the HEMIS. They wanted to go back with the old car and the new car. They're starting to do a bunch of stuff in Europe, and it was a chance to help them out and help me out. Me and Linda and Dale and Mary (Inman) get a trip to go over and work with these guys for four or fives days and stay a couple of days after that and wander around the countryside and see some stuff. Dale and Mary have never been, so that'll be exciting for them. We've been before, but every time you go you see something new. It's sort of like coming to Michigan. Every time you come, you come a different route and see something different."
DO PEOPLE RECOGNIZE YOU IN EUROPE?
"I don't know. I've been and people have recognized, but when you get to talking to them you find out they're from the states. I don't know if the general populace know of you or just never think about you being there and they wouldn't recognize you from that standpoint. There are a lot of race fans over there that keep up with this. We've got some friends over there and when we go we call them and they show us around. A bunch of their buddies are racers and when we go we'll have a picnic in the backyard or something and you should see the questions they ask. It's like going to one of these press conferences, but they've got some good questions."
DO YOU WEAR YOUR SUNGLASSES AND HAT WHEN YOU GO?
"The last time I went I didn't. I wear my boots, but I don't wear my belt buckle or hat. We went to Scotland last year and took some of the grandkids. I got one of those Scottish wool hats. I didn't get the skirt, but I got the hat."
WHEN IS THE LAST TIME YOU DROVE A RACECAR?
"Indy in 1993 was the last time I drove around a race track. All we ran was 150-160 mph. It was no big deal. As far as going around a racetrack, I think I've been in some of the driving school cars just to ride around a little bit, but no speed. The last speed I got into in Atlanta, I crashed, so I figured I'd better stay out of the speed cars."
COMMENT ON THE PROGRESS OF THE 43 AND 45 TEAMS
"They're a little bit better each week. For some of the stuff we're searching for, the team can see it's a little bit better. We're not outrunning a bunch of people, but it's enough to put you in front of a guy instead of staying behind that guy. It's a lot easier on Kyle. He can take off. Bobby stays with it all the time. They're a little bit better every week, so if we don't run out of races, I think they'll be in good shape."
WHERE DO YOU WATCH THE RACES?
"Everywhere. I'm down in the pits, up on the roof, on top of the truck, I go down in the corners and see how they're getting through the corners. I just wander around all day long. If I stay in the pits and talk to them, they don't pay any attention to me, so there's no use staying there."