The following is a sampling of the reaction from the NASCAR community to news of the death of 19-year-old Adam Petty following a crash Friday: NASCAR president Bill France: "It is difficult to express our sadness over the passing of Adam Petty.
The following is a sampling of the reaction from the NASCAR community to news of the death of 19-year-old Adam Petty following a crash Friday:
NASCAR president Bill France:
"It is difficult to express our sadness over the passing of Adam Petty. On behalf of the entire NASCAR family, we extend our hearts and prayers to his parents, Kyle and Pattie, his grandparents, Richard and Lynda, and the entire Petty family. The Pettys are an integral part of the sport of NASCAR. The entire NASCAR community will miss Adam Petty."
#10 Lycos Pontiac Driver Johnny Benson
Benson was at home in Cornelius North Carolina and made the following comments by phone after learning of Petty's death. "This is tragic. When I heard this I could not believe it. To have someone so young and with such a bright future ahead of him die like this is a hard thing to swallow. The Petty family has helped build this sport. It goes back to Lee, Richard, and Kyle and I know it would have continued with Adam. They are almost like royalty in our sport. For a family that has done so much for the sport and then to have this happen is just terrible. My Dad raced and that is how I got into this sport. It's hard to explain why we love racing and on days like this it is even harder. Its so rare for this to happen in NASCAR because they have made the cars so safe in recent years. Sometimes you get lulled into thinking it can never happen." Mike Johnson #65 Streetstock, Desoto Speedway, Bradenton, FL
"Our hearts go out to the Petty family. I was devastated when the TV report was printed. What a loss to a true race family. I will run a ribbon in Lee and Adams memory tomorrow night at Desoto Speedway Bradenton, Fl. Our deepest sympathy goes out to Richard, Kyle and the entire Petty family and to Nascar as well. We're all family and we love you!"
#31 Whelen Monte Carlo Driver Steve Park
Park qualified 21st on Friday for Saturday's Busch race. Park's comments came while standing in the team hauler after learning of Petty's death. "I don't know what to say. Adam and I were joking around this morning right before practice and then to have this happen is unreal. This hurts. I was on the motorcycle ride with Kyle the week before last and we raised a lot of money for charity. The Petty's do a lot for other people and it hurts that we can't do anything for them right now. I'm numb. Racing seems so unimportant right now. My prayers are with the Pettys."
H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, president of Lowe's Motor Speedway
"It's a terrible tragedy to lose a person so young and full of life. Our prayers and thoughts go out Kyle and Pattie and the entire Petty family. There is no question Adam inherited the Petty racing genes. He was a very talented driver and a real gentleman on and off the track. He provided one the most memorable highlights in our 40-year history when he won here in his ARCA and superspeedway debut in October 1998. That was truly a special moment to see him with the entire Petty family in victory lane. This untimely loss will touch all of us deeply for a long time to come."
NASCAR driver Serling Marlin:
"I remember when he was born, and not long after that sitting on his granddaddy's shoulders in Victory Lane at the Daytona 500. He looked like he was a natural there, and I've got the feeling he started making plans to get back to Victory Lane for the Daytona 500 as fast as he could."
EDDIE GOSSAGE, Motor Speedway General Manager
"Today's accident took from us a kind, wonderful young man whose bright personality won him the admiration of sports fans around the world despite the fact that his career was just beginning. This is a very personal loss to me because of the long, intimate relationship between my family and the Pettys, a relationship in which Adam figured prominently. He went to camp with my son. He joined me for dinner less than two weeks ago. He ran his only NASCAR Winston Cup race earlier this year at Texas Motor Speedway in part because of our personal relationship. We will all miss him.
"More importantly, my prayers and sympathies go out to his parents, Kyle and Patti; his brother and sister, Austin and Montgomery Lee; his grandparents, Richard and Lynda; the other family members and his fans around the world. The brightest stars often shine brightest for a brief period of time. I'm glad my last memory of Adam was only a week ago, laughing and cutting up as we took part in the annual Kyle Petty Charity Motorcycle Ride Across America. Adam was always smiling."