LEVEL CROSS, N.C. (May 18, 2000) Steve Grissom will replace his boss, Kyle Petty, in the No. 44 Hot Wheels Pontiac in next week's Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Petty Enterprises announced Thursday. The naming of Grissom, 36, who ...
LEVEL CROSS, N.C. (May 18, 2000) Steve Grissom will replace his boss, Kyle Petty, in the No. 44 Hot Wheels Pontiac in next week's Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Petty Enterprises announced Thursday.
The naming of Grissom, 36, who drives Petty Enterprises' Dodge Motorsports Dodge Ram in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, was a follow-up to the withdrawal of the No. 44 Pontiac from this weekend's running of The Winston all-star race at the Concord, N.C., track.
The actions came in the aftermath of the death of Kyle Petty's oldest son Adam, 19, following an accident during a NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division practice session May 12 at New Hampshire International Speedway.
"You need someone with a great deal of talent, experience and focus to be successful at Charlotte," said Hot Wheels Pontiac crew chief Bobby Leslie fo the event, which is scheduled May 28. "Kyle Petty certainly has the talent and experience, but I believe he realizes focus is just going to be difficult for a while.
"We're fortunate to have someone like Steve Grissom in the Petty Enterprises family who can step in immediately and give us what we're going to need behind the wheel."
Grissom, a NASCAR Winston Cup Series veteran and former NASCAR Busch Series champion, is also Petty Enterprises' test driver for its developmental work of the 2001 Dodge Intrepid for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.
Grissom has finished in the top-10 in seven of the eight NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races in which he has driven the No. 43 Dodge this season, missing a perfect eight-for-eight by finishing 11th in the second race of the year.
He is fourth in the standings, a point out of third and within one race's striking distance of second, heading into Sunday's Grainger.com 200 at Pikes Peak International Raceway.
"We're all hurting pretty bad right now," Grissom said of the atmosphere at Petty Enterprises, "and I'm really glad there is something I can do to help out.
"One thing I found out right away is that when you go to work at Petty Enterprises, you become one of the family. That's the way I've felt since I walked in the door the very first time. We're all hurting but we're going to do everything we can do to make Kyle proud of us at Charlotte."
Petty Enterprises' No. 43 STP/Cheerios Pontiac, driven by John Andretti, will carry a special Wheaties paint scheme this weekend when it competes in The Winston.