RPM brings back history with number change for Brian Scott

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Richard Petty Motorsports is going back to the past with its car number for Brian Scott this season.

Scott will drive the No. 44 Sprint Cup car in place of the No. 9 the organization has run since 2009. Scott will be a teammate to Aric Almirola, who drives the No. 43 car.

The No. 44 is one of six numbers in the 40s that have been used by the Pettys through the years. Richard Petty’s brother, Maurice, used the No. 44 in select races in the 1960s and Richard Petty’s son, Kyle, ran the number from 1997-2000. Petty Enterprises continued to use that number with other drivers from 2001-03.

“After the 2015 season, we had an opportunity to make some changes and get the No. 44 back,’’ Richard Petty said in a statement from the team. “ We felt that it was good timing. We really wanted to get that number back in the Petty family where it really belongs.

“Brian is coming on board, and he really hasn’t had a number in the Sprint Cup Series. Everything has just come together to really bring back a Petty tradition.

“For us, the numbers are more than just a number you could say. They really represent our family history, our legacy and everyone who has worked for us or raced for us. We take a lot of pride in that and are glad to have the 44 back home.”

Said Kyle Petty in a statement from the team: “It’s good to see the 44 number back where it belongs. I grew up knowing that my uncle Maurice raced the 41, my grandfather raced the 42 and my father raced the 43. I would go on to race the 44 and Adam eventually drove the 45.  With Pete Hamilton driving the 40 at one time for PE, to me, those numbers were always ‘Petty’ numbers. Looking forward to seeing Brian Scott carrying on our tradition.”

Added Scott in a statement about his new number: “I think it’s special to be with an organization with such history and then to be able to put your name in their history. Richard Petty’s history and recognition around NASCAR is his number. To go back to what everyone considers to be Petty history with the 44, I think it’s really special to be the driver that gets to do that.”

Here’s a look at the Petty history with car Nos. 40-45:

Car No. 40

Pete Hamilton raced this number for Petty Enterprises during the 1970 season and won three races, including the Daytona 500.

“We’ve had a lot of other drivers race for Petty Enterprises and Richard Petty Motorsports, but when Maurice wanted to be the crew chief for the Superbird in 1970, we hired Pete Hamilton who was a big star racing up in New England,’’ Richard Petty said. “We really felt that car was a big part of the Petty stable, so we used the number 40. Pete and (Maurice) won the 500 and swept the races at Talladega that year. That built the legacy of the number 40 with the family.

Car No. 41

Lee, Richard and Maurice Petty each used this number in 1962 and ’64. Richard Petty and Jim Paschal, driving for Petty  Enterprises, each won with this car number.

Car No. 42

CHARLOTTE, NC - MAY 24: The #42 Plymouth belonging to NASCAR Hall of Fame member Lee Petty is displayed, during the Hall of Honor unveiling at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on May 24, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jason Smith/ Getty Images for NASCAR)
CHARLOTTE, NC – MAY 24: The #42 Plymouth belonging to NASCAR Hall of Fame member Lee Petty is displayed, during the Hall of Honor unveiling at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on May 24, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jason Smith/ Getty Images for NASCAR)

Lee Petty, who started Petty Enterprises, and once was NASCAR’s winningest driver, used this number when he won all three of his NASCAR titles. Kyle Petty also drove this number during his career. “To speak about us changing our car number, you first have to go back to the beginning with my Dad (Lee),’’ Richard Petty said. “He started Petty Engineering and later Petty Enterprises, and he was there right when NASCAR all started. He put together a car, and the first race he entered he actually raced a car numbered 38. But, that was it. He then went and got his own car. He had to a put a number on it and saw the number 42 on a license plate, and that’s how it all started. It just went forward from there.’’

Car No. 43

Perhaps the most famous car number in NASCAR (or right there with the No. 3 with Dale Earnhardt). Richard Petty won all seven of his titles with the No. 43 and most of his 200 career wins. Since Petty’s retirement, Bobby Hamilton, John Andretti and Aric Almirola have each won driving the No. 43 car.

KANSAS CITY, KS - APRIL 20: A detail of the #43 STP Dodge which was driven by Richard Petty is seen during practice for the NASACAR Sprint Cup Series 400 at Kansas Speedway on April 20, 2012 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
KANSAS CITY, KS – APRIL 20: A detail of the #43 STP Dodge which was driven by Richard Petty is seen during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 400 at Kansas Speedway on April 20, 2012 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

“After my brother (Maurice) and I got older, we wanted to race too,’’ Richard Petty said in a statement from the team. “We put a car together with Dale (Inman), and when it was time to go to the track, we needed a number. The car we had was one of Daddy’s old cars, so it was easy to just take the 4 off, and we raced under the number 2 for a few races. I think one race we just switched the numbers and raced with the number 24.

“When we got going into the 1959 season, it just made sense for me to go to the track with the 43 number with Daddy still racing the 42. That allowed me to have my own identity, and fate took it from there.’’

Car No. 44

Maurice Petty used the No. 44 in select races in the 1960s and Richard Petty’s son, Kyle, ran the number from 1997-2000. Other drivers who raced for the Pettys from 2001-03 also used that number, including Greg Biffle, Jerry Nadeau and Buckshot Jones. The No. 44 also was

9 Apr 1999: Kyle Petty #44 driving on the track during practice for the Food City 500 of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Squire /Allsport
9 Apr 1999: Kyle Petty #44 driving on the track during practice for the Food City 500 of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Squire /Allsport

Kyle Petty’s number when he made his stock car debut, winning an ARCA race in 1979 at Daytona International Speedway.

“Back then, it wasn’t just Daddy and I racing,’’ Richard Petty said. “Maurice was building the engines, but he did some racing too.  When it was time, we were using the 42 and 43, so he was one of the first to use the number 44 in the family. Later, he started using the 41, and then, that really became his family number that he used.’’

Car No. 45

Adam Petty raced this number from 1998-2000 and made his Sprint Cup debut in the No. 45.

8 Apr 2000: Adam Petty who drives for Team Sprint Chevrolet is in action during the Bell South Mobility 320 at the Nashville Speedway USA in Nashville, Tennessee. Mandatory Credit: Robert Laberge /Allsport
Adam Petty in action during the Bell South Mobility 320 at the Nashville Speedway USA in Nashville, Tennessee  on April 8, 2000. Mandatory Credit: Robert Laberge /Allsport

“When Adam came along, he saw that his great-grandfather raced the 42, I raced the 43 and so on,’’ Richard Petty said. “He saw the order, and he just started right out with the 45. That worked for him and Petty Enterprises, too. He won in the No. 45 at Charlotte in his first ARCA start. He then carried that number with him.  That’s the number that everyone thinks of when they think of Adam.’’

 

Long: NASCAR needs to quickly correct officiating issue from Texas

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NASCAR’s admission that it did not see William Byron spin Denny Hamlin under caution during Sunday’s Cup playoff race is troubling.

With video evidence of impropriety and Hamlin’s team vigorously arguing for relief, there were enough reasons for series officials to take a closer look at putting Hamlin back to second before the race returned to green-flag conditions. Or some other remedy even after the race resumed. 

Add the lack of access series officials had to Byron’s in-car camera— something fans could readily see at NASCAR.com and the NASCAR Mobile App — and changes need to be made before this weekend’s playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway.

While NASCAR should make every effort to judge matters between drivers regardless of their playoff status, that it was two playoff drivers involved in an incident demanded greater attention. With three races per round, one misstep can mean the difference between advancing or being eliminated. 

Just as more is expected from drivers and teams in the playoffs, the same should be expected of officials.

“If we had seen that (contact) good enough to react to it in real time, which we should have, like no excuse there, there would probably have been two courses of action,” said Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition Sunday night. “One would have been to put Hamlin back where he was, or the other would be to have made William start in the back.”

Here is how the incident played out:

The caution waved at Lap 269 for Martin Truex Jr.’s crash at 8:19 p.m. ET.

As Hamlin slowed, Byron closed and hit him in the rear. 

Byron admitted after the race the contact was intentional, although he didn’t mean to wreck Hamlin. Byron was upset with how Hamlin raced him on Lap 262. Byron felt Hamlin forced him into the wall as they exited Turn 2 side-by-side. Byron expressed his displeasure during the caution.

About 90 seconds after the caution lights illuminated, the USA broadcast showed a replay from a low angle of Byron directly behind Hamlin’s car and apparent contact. 

Contact can happen in multiple ways. It can come from the lead car hitting the brakes and forcing the car behind to hit them, or it can come from the trailing car ramming into the car ahead. The first video replay did not make it clear what caused the contact, making it difficult for any official to rule one way or the other based solely on that.

This also is a time when NASCAR officials were monitoring safety vehicles on track, checking the lineup and making sure pit road was ready to be open. It’s something NASCAR does effortlessly much of the time. Just not this time. 

A different replay aired on USA 11 minutes, 16 seconds after the caution that showed Byron and Hamlin’s car together. That replay aired about a minute before the green flag waved at 8:31 p.m. ET. Throughout the caution, Hamlin’s crew chief, Chris Gabehart argued that Hamlin should have restarted second.

But once the race resumed, the matter was over for NASCAR. Or so it seemed.

Three minutes after the green flag waved, the NASCAR Twitter account posted in-car video that showed Byron running into the back of Hamlin’s car while the caution was out. Such action is typically a penalty — often parking a driver for the rest of the race. Instead, Byron was allowed to continue and nothing was done during the rest of the event. 

After the race, Miller told reporters that series officials didn’t see the contact from Byron. 

“The cameras and the monitors that we’ve got, we dedicate them mostly to officiating and seeing our safety vehicles and how to dispatch them,” Miller said. “By the time we put all those cameras up (on the monitor in the control tower), we don’t have room for all of the in-car cameras to be monitored.

“If we would have had immediate access to (Byron)’s in-car camera, that would have helped us a lot, being able to find that quickly. That’s definitely one of the things we’re looking at.”

But it didn’t happen that way.

”By the time we got a replay that showed the incident well enough to do anything to it, we had gone back to green,” Miller said.

NASCAR didn’t act. By that time maybe it was too late to do so. But that’s also an issue. Shouldn’t the infraction be addressed immediately if it is clear what happened instead of days later? Shouldn’t officials have been provided with access to the in-car cameras so they could have seen Byron’s actions earlier and meted the proper punishment? Instead, Miller hinted at a possible penalty to Byron this week.

Miller didn’t reveal details but it wouldn’t be surprising to drop Byron in the field, costing him points. He’s 24 points from the cutline, so a penalty that drops him from seventh to 30th (the position ahead of Truex) could be logical and that would cost Byron 23 points, putting him near the cutline. 

Texas winner Tyler Reddick said something should have been done. He knows. He was parked in a 2014 Truck race at Pocono for wrecking German Quiroga in retaliation for an earlier incident.

“In William’s situation, whether he ran him over on accident or on purpose, there should be some sort of penalty for him on that side because he’s completely screwed someone’s race up, whether it was on purpose or not,” Reddick said. “I feel like there should be something done there.

“I’m sure (NASCAR will) make some sort of a decision. I’m sure there will be something they’ll address this week, updates, on NASCAR’s side. I’ll be curious to see what that is. We can’t really have this where you dump someone under caution, they go to the back and you don’t. That could potentially be an interesting situation in the future.”

Texas shuffles NASCAR Cup playoff standings

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Texas marked the fourth consecutive playoff race that the winner didn’t advance to the next round.

All three races in the first round were won by drivers not in the playoffs. Tyler Reddick won Sunday at Texas, a week after he failed to advance from the Round of 16 and was eliminated from title contention.

Texas did shake up the playoff standings. Chase Elliott entered as the points leader but a blown tire while leading sent his car into the wall, ending his race. He falls to the No. 8 spot, the final transfer position with two races left in this round. He’s tied with Daniel Suarez, but Suarez has the tiebreaker with a better finish this round.

Chase Briscoe, who scored only his second top 10 in the last 22 races, is the first driver outside a transfer spot. He’s four points behind Elliott and Suarez. Austin Cindric is 11 points out of the transfer spot. Christopher Bell is 29 points out of a transfer position. Alex Bowman is 30 points from the transfer line.

The series races Sunday at Talladega (2 p.m. ET on NBC).

 

XFINITY SERIES

Noah Gragson’s win at Texas moved him on to the next round. The win was his fourth in a row.

Ryan Sieg and Sam Mayer are tied for the final two transfer spots to the next round. Riley Herbst is one point behind them. Daniel Hemric is eight points from the final transfer spot. Brandon Jones is 13 points from the last transfer spot. Jeremy Clements is 29 points shy of the final transfer position.

The series races Saturday at Talladega (4 p.m. ET on USA Network).

 

 

CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES

The series was off this past weekend but returns to the track Saturday at Talladega. Ty Majeski has advanced to the championship race at Phoenix with his Bristol win.

 

Winners and losers at Texas Motor Speedway

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A look at the winners and losers from Sunday’s marathon race at Texas Motor Speedway:

WINNERS

Tyler Reddick – Reddick isn’t acting like a lame duck. Headed for 23XI Racing in 2024 (if not sooner), Reddick now owns three wins with Richard Childress Racing, the team he’ll be leaving.

Justin Haley – Haley, who has shown flashes of excellence this season for Kaulig Racing, matched his season-high with a third-place run.

Chase Briscoe — Briscoe wrestled with major problems in the early part of the race but rebounded to finish fifth. It’s his second top-10 finish in the last 22 races.

LOSERS

NASCAR Officials – Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, admitted that series officials missed William Byron spinning Denny Hamlin under caution after Martin Truex Jr.‘s crash. Such a situation could have major playoff implications, although Miller hinted that series officials may still act this week.

Christopher Bell – Bell met the wall twice after blown tires and finished a sour 34th, damaging his playoff run in a race that he said was critical in the playoffs.

Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. – Harvick (finished 19th) and Truex (31st) were late-race victims of the day’s tire dilemma. Both crashed while leading.

Track workers  Somebody had to clean up all that tire debris.

Chase Elliott – Elliott remains a power in the playoffs, but he left Sunday’s race in a fiery exit after a blown tire while leading and finished 32nd. He holds the final transfer spot to the next round heading into Talladega.

 

 

Blown tires end race early for several Texas contenders

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FORT WORTH, Texas — A Goodyear official said that air pressures that teams were using contributed to some drivers blowing tires in Sunday’s Cup playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. all crashed while leading after blowing a tire. Among the others who had tire issues were Alex Bowman, Chris Buescher Cole Custer and Christopher Bell twice. 

“We’re gaining as much information as we can from the teams, trying to understand where they are with regard to their settings, air pressures, cambers, suspicions,” said Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of racing Sunday. “For sure I can say without a doubt air pressure is playing into it. We know where a lot of the guys are. Some were more aggressive than others. We know that plays a part.

MORE: NASCAR says it missed William Byron spinning Denny Hamlin under caution 

“I’m not saying that’s the only thing, but it’s certainly a factor, so we’re just trying to understand everything else that is going on with regard to specific teams. We know a lot of guys have not had issues. We’ve had guys put full fuel runs on tires, but, obviously, other guys have had issues. We’ll be working with them to try to sort through that is.”

Eight of the 16 cautions were related to tire failures that caused drivers to spin or crash.

“It’s not a good look, that’s for sure,” Ryan Blaney said of the tire issues others had. “How many leaders blew tires tonight? Three or four?

“You just don’t understand what is making these things do that. From last week to this week, it’s really unfortunate. It’s just luck now.

“You never know if you’re going to blow one. You go into (Turn) 3 almost every lap with 40 laps on your stuff and I don’t know if one is going to blow out or not. That’s not safe. That’s for sure. Running (180) into (Turn) 3 and the thing blows out and you have no time to react to it. It’s unfortunate. I hope we can figure that out.”

Blaney said he was confused that the tires were blowing partly into a run instead of much earlier.

“It was weird because those tires didn’t blow right away,” he said. “Like the pressures were low. They blew like after a cycle or two on them, which is the weird thing.”

Asked how he handles that uncertainty, Blaney said: “Nothing I can do about it. Just hope and pray.”

After his crash, Elliott was diplomatic toward Goodyear’s situation:

“I’m not sure that Goodyear is at fault,” he said. “Goodyear always takes the black eye, but they’re put in a really tough position by NASCAR to build a tire that can survive these types of racetracks with this car. I wouldn’t blame Goodyear.”

Tyler Reddick, who won Sunday’s race at Texas, said his team made adjustments to the air pressure settings after Saturday’s practice.

“We ran enough laps, were able to see that we had been too aggressive on our right front tire,” he said. “So we made some adjustments going into the race, thankfully.”

This same time was used at Kansas and will be used again at Las Vegas next month in the playoffs. 

Reddick is hopeful of a change but also knows it might take time.

“I just think to a degree, potentially, as these cars have gotten faster and we’re getting more speed out of them, maybe, hypothetically speaking, we’re putting the cars through more load and more stress on the tire than they ever really thought we would be,” he said. 

“I know Goodyear will fix it. That’s what they do. It’s going to be a process. I know they’re going to be on top of it. Hey, they don’t want to see those failures. We don’t want to see them either. They’re going to be working on looking through and trying to find out exactly what is going on. We’ll all learn from it.

“It’s a brand-new car. It’s the first time in the history of our sport we’ve gone to an 18-inch wheel and independent rear suspension. All these things are way different, diffuser. All these things, way different. We’re all learning together. Unfortunately, just the nature of it, we’re having tire failures.”