LOUDON, N.H. (May 12, 2000) Adam Petty, a fourth-generation member of stock car racing's most famous family, died following a crash Friday during a practice run at New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon. Eyewitnesses report Petty...
LOUDON, N.H. (May 12, 2000) Adam Petty, a fourth-generation member of stock car racing's most famous family, died following a crash Friday during a practice run at New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon.
Eyewitnesses report Petty crashed heavily head-on going into Turn 3. The No. 45 Sprint Chevrolet briefly caught fire, and emergency crews had to cut the frame of the car to remove him. He was transported by ambulance to the helicopter pad outside the track, and then airlifted to Concord (N.H) Hospital after the accident, but died of head trauma at the hospital, said spokeswoman Jennifer Dearborn.
"We are very sorry to announce that Adam Petty, 19 years old, son of Kyle and Pattie Petty, grandson of Richard and Lynda Petty, died of head trauma after being rushed to Concord Hospital early this afternoon," she said. "Petty was participating in pre-event practice at the New Hampshire International Speedway."
Adam Petty at Texas Motor Speedway
The crash occured shortly after 12 p.m. ET during practice for Bud Pole Qualifying for Saturday's Busch 200.
Petty was 24th in the series standings, and had yet to score a top-10 finish in 11 races in 2000.
Petty is the grandson of seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Richard Petty and the son of Kyle Petty, a regular on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Adam's great-grandfather was Lee Petty, a NASCAR pioneer.
The latest family tragedy comes barely one month after Petty made his NASCAR Winston Cup Series debut in the DIRECTV 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Three days later, the family patriarch, Lee, died in a hospital in Greensboro, N.C., at age 86.
The elder Petty, Adam's great-grandfather, was the founder of Petty Enterprises, the winningest organization in American motorsports, and a 10-time national champion of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.
Petty Enterprises has won 271 races, including 198 by Richard. Richard's son, Kyle, is an eight-time winner on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.
Petty was 20th last year in the NASCAR Busch Series points race and third in the rookie of the year standings, finishing a career-best fourth in Fontana, Calif., in May.
Adam Petty made history in 1998 by competing in his first American Speed Association race, becoming the first fourth-generation athlete in all of professional sports.
Petty recently signed a new three-year sponsorship agreement with Sprint, and he planned to move to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series on a full-time basis in 2001. nascar.com and other sources contributed to this report