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‘Mind over matter’ philosophy keeps ‘The King’ going as he nears 80

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Richard Petty has been through a lot in nearly 80 years of life and 35 years of NASCAR racing.

“The King” has broken bones, had parts of his stomach and gallbladder removed and survived a brush with prostate cancer in 1995.

“I got a really good DNA as far as healing,” Petty said last month at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

After all the battle scars sustained through 1,184 Cup races and afterward, Petty feels like he did the day he retired in 1992.

“My daddy (Lee Petty) always said,’ I don’t know how you’re supposed to feel when you’re this old,’ ” Petty said. “So, I don’t know if I’m 80 or 70 or 50. Basically, physically … I don’t hurt nowhere right now. … I don’t feel like I feel any different than 10 years ago, 20 years ago or 30 years ago.”

Still a constant presence on the Cup circuit, the seven-time NASCAR champion can be seen in the garage and pits in his trademark cowboy hat and sunglasses serving in his roles of team owner and NASCAR ambassador.

And don’t expect that to change anytime soon.

“That is part of it,” Petty said. “If you own the team and you’re not interested in going to see what happens, that can’t be good morale for the team. I go because I want to go, too. I enjoy being around and watching all the stuff. You go in there and try to give them … they don’t listen to what I want them to do. At least give them support, ‘You guys can do this, you can, just keep working at it.’ It’s a confidence-builder for them to know I pay the bills, but I’m also interested in what comes out in the end.”

Photo by Daniel McFadin

Three months from celebrating his 80th birthday (on July 2), Petty is able to see his family’s story documented in the Hall of Fame’s “Petty: Building a Family Legacy” exhibit, which runs until July.

But according to NBC Sports analyst Kyle Petty, his father wouldn’t have made it this far if not for fulfilling his desire to keep tabs on Richard Petty Motorsports and NASCAR.

“My sisters and I have talked about it,” Kyle Petty said. “If it wasn’t for racing, he wouldn’t make it to 80. … Because he would just sit down and stop. He wouldn’t have anything to do.

“If it wasn’t for racing people and being able to walk through that garage and talk to people, yeah, he wouldn’t have made it this far.”

His father agrees.

“Mentally, I couldn’t do it,” Richard Petty said. “I’m a strong believer in mind over matter. You do what your mind tells you to do, whether your body wants to do it or whatever. I think that’s what kept me going from that standpoint.”

If not for racing, the Petty family’s trajectory might not have taken them far from Level Cross, North Carolina, where Lee and Elizabeth Petty raised their family. Richard and Kyle attended the same school in Randleman. The small student body meant Richard was one of 13 or 14 members of the football team and a performer in the marching band that played at halftime.

Photo by Daniel McFadin

This part of “The King’s” life is touched on in the Hall of Fame exhibit by his trumpet.

But it was the music provided by stock-car engines that fueled the Pettys.

“We lived on a dirt road and all the guys around us were the same way,” Richard Petty said. “They had nothing. So I didn’t know that until dad started racing. We’d go to Greensboro, we’d go to Martinsville or we’d go to Philadelphia. They had indoor plumbing, this is great. We grew up in that era. So that made you appreciate all the stuff going on. … Racing was all I ever knew. We raised a garden, so I knew how to raise a garden, but I didn’t know how to farm. I didn’t know how to be in the lumber business like my granddaddy was. I didn’t want to be in the liquor business.”

Because the Pettys pursued racing instead of farming – and liquor – the Buick Regal driven by Richard Petty to his seventh and final Daytona 500 win in 1981 sits next to a replica of the 1959 Oldsmobile Lee Petty drove in his own Hall of Fame career.

Not far away is the No. 42 Pontiac Grand Prix Kyle Petty drove to one of his eight Cup wins. Next to it is a No. 45 Monte Carlo Kyle’s son Adam drove in his tragically brief career.

Display cases show letters, typewriters, pictures, trophies and oddities that make up the Petty story.

Photo by Daniel McFadin

Not many athletes, in auto racing or any sport, can say the end of their career was honored by a comic book.

The exhibit chronicles the family dynasty and its many contributors, from Richard’s brother and engine builder, Maurice Petty, to his cousin and crew chief, Dale Inman, and his late wife, Lynda.

What does Richard Petty hope today’s generation of drivers can learn from the family oriented exhibit and the Hall of Fame as whole?

“I would like for the next generations coming in to go back and appreciate what Bobby Allison, David Pearson, Lee Petty and Fireball Roberts did,” he said. “Because if it hadn’t been for them, they wouldn’t be doing what they’re doing. I hope they don’t get away from who built the fan base. I was just part of the foundation. … It took all of us to do it. I hope that they don’t think they’re the ones making it happen.”

But Richard Petty still is helping to build the sport, 25 years after he last took a checkered flag.

Don’t expect him to ever hold a news conference in Daytona announcing he’s stepping away from the sport full time.

“That would go over like a lead balloon,” he said. “I don’t want to start a new life. I’ve been going to races for 68 years since 1949. I don’t know I wouldn’t cut back on going to all the races. But I’m still interested in being nosy enough to know who’s doing what.”

2020 Cup, Xfinity and Truck Series schedules

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We’re less than a month away from the start of the 2020 NASCAR season.

While the Daytona 500 is scheduled for Feb. 16, the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series season begins in 25 days at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 14.

The schedules for all three national series have big changes in 2020.

Here are some of the changes, including:

  • Miami moves from the end of the season to March 22 for the Cup Series
  • The first Cup race under the lights at Martinsville Speedway (May 9)
  • The first weekend doubleheader for Cup, which occurs at Pocono (June 27-28)
  • The Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis will be held July 5. On July 4, the Xfinity Series race will be held on IMS’ road course.
  • Daytona International Speedway’s summer race shifts to August 29 and will be the final Cup race of the regular season.
  • The Xfinity Series returns to Martinsville Speedway for the first time since 2006 on Oct. 31.
  • The Truck Series returns to Richmond Raceway for the first time since 2005 on April 18.
  • Darlington Raceway hosts the opening race of the Cup playoffs on September 6.

And there’ll be a new site for the championship races for all three series — Phoenix Raceway from Nov. 6-8.

NBC will air Cup races at Indianapolis (July 5), Daytona (Aug. 29), Talladega (Oct. 4), Charlotte Roval (Oct. 11), Kansas (Oct. 18), Martinsville (Nov. 1) and Phoenix (Nov. 8).

Here’s how the schedules for all three series look for 2020:

2020 NASCAR Cup Series Schedule

Date Location Network Start Time Radio
Sun., Feb. 9 Daytona 500 Qualifying FOX 12:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sun., Feb. 9 Busch Clash at Daytona FS1 3:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Thurs., Feb. 13 Gander RV Duel at Daytona FS1 7:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sun., Feb. 16 Daytona 500 FOX 2:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sun., Feb. 23 Las Vegas Motor Speedway FOX 3:30 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sun., Mar. 1 Auto Club Speedway FOX 3:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sun., Mar. 8 Phoenix Raceway FOX 3:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sun., Mar. 15 Atlanta Motor Speedway FOX 2:00 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sun., Mar. 22 Homestead-Miami Speedway FOX 2:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sun., Mar. 29 Texas Motor Speedway FS1 2:00 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sun., Apr. 5 Bristol Motor Speedway FS1 2:00 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sun., Apr. 19 Richmond Raceway FOX 2:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sun., Apr. 26 Talladega Superspeedway FOX 2:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sun., May 3 Dover International Speedway FS1 2:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sat., May 9 Martinsville Speedway FS1 8:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sat., May 16 All-Star Open FS1 7:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sat., May 16 All-Star Race FS1 9:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sun., May 24 Charlotte Motor Speedway FOX 6:00 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sun., May 31 Kansas Speedway FS1 2:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sun., Jun. 7 Michigan International Speedway FS1 2:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sun., Jun. 14 Sonoma Raceway FS1 3:00 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sun., Jun. 21 Chicagoland Speedway NBCSN 2:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sat., Jun. 27 Pocono Raceway NBCSN 3:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sun., Jun. 28 Pocono Raceway NBCSN 3:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sun., Jul. 5 Indianapolis Motor Speedway NBC 3:30 p.m. IMS/SiriusXM
Sat., Jul. 11 Kentucky Speedway NBCSN 7:30 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sun., Jul. 19 New Hampshire Motor Speedway NBCSN 3:00 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sun., Aug. 9 Michigan International Speedway NBCSN 3:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sun., Aug. 16 Watkins Glen International NBCSN 3:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sun., Aug. 23 Dover International Speedway NBCSN 3:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sat., Aug. 29 Daytona International Speedway NBC 7:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sun., Sept. 6 Darlington Raceway NBCSN 6:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sat., Sept. 12 Richmond Raceway NBCSN 7:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sat., Sept. 19 Bristol Motor Speedway NBCSN 7:30 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sun., Sept. 27 Las Vegas Motor Speedway NBCSN 7:00 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sun., Oct. 4 Talladega Superspeedway NBC 2:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sun., Oct. 11 Charlotte Motor Speedway NBC 2:30 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sun., Oct. 18 Kansas Speedway NBC 2:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sun., Oct. 25 Texas Motor Speedway NBCSN 3:00 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sun., Nov. 1 Martinsville Speedway NBC 2:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sun., Nov. 8 Phoenix Raceway NBC 3:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM

 

2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series Schedule

Date Location Network Start Time Radio
Sat., Feb. 15 Daytona International Speedway FS1 2:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sat., Feb. 22 Las Vegas Motor Speedway FS1 4:00 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sat., Feb. 29 Auto Club Speedway FS1 4:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sat., Mar. 7 Phoenix Raceway FS1 4:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sat., Mar. 14 Atlanta Motor Speedway FS1 4:00 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sat., Mar. 21 Homestead-Miami Speedway FS1 3:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sat., Mar. 28 Texas Motor Speedway FS1 1:00 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sat., Apr. 4 Bristol Motor Speedway FS1 1:00 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sat., Apr. 25 Talladega Superspeedway FS1 1:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sat., May 2 Dover International Speedway FS1 1:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sat., May 23 Charlotte Motor Speedway FS1 1:00 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sat., May 30 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course FS1 1:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sat., Jun. 6 Michigan International Speedway FS1 1:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sat., Jun. 13 Iowa Speedway FS1 8:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sat., Jun. 20 Chicagoland Speedway NBCSN 4:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sun., Jun. 28 Pocono Raceway NBCSN 12:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sat., Jul. 4 Indianapolis Motor Speedway NBC 1:30 p.m. IMS/SiriusXM
Fri., Jul. 10 Kentucky Speedway NBCSN 7:30 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sat., Jul. 18 New Hampshire Motor Speedway NBCSN 3:00 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sat., Aug. 1 Iowa Speedway CNBC 2:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sat., Aug. 8 Road America CNBC 3:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sat., Aug. 15 Watkins Glen International NBCSN 3:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sat., Aug. 22 Dover International Speedway NBCSN 4:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Fri., Aug. 28 Daytona International Speedway NBCSN 7:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sat., Sept. 5 Darlington Raceway NBC 4:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Fri., Sept. 11 Richmond Raceway NBCSN 8:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Fri., Sept. 18 Bristol Motor Speedway NBCSN 7:30 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sat., Sept. 26 Las Vegas Motor Speedway NBCSN 7:30 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sat., Oct. 10 Charlotte Motor Speedway NBC 3:30 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sat., Oct. 17 Kansas Speedway NBC 3:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sat., Oct. 24 Texas Motor Speedway NBC 3:30 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sat., Oct. 31 Martinsville Speedway NBCSN 8:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sat., Nov. 7 Phoenix Raceway NBCSN 4:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM

2020 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Schedule

Date Location Network Start Tim Radio
Fri., Feb. 14 Daytona International Speedway FS1 7:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Fri., Feb. 21 Las Vegas Motor Speedway FS1 9:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sat., Mar. 14 Atlanta Motor Speedway FS1 1:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Fri., Mar. 20 Homestead-Miami Speedway FS1 8:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Fri., Mar. 27 Texas Motor Speedway FS1 9:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sat., Apr. 18 Richmond Raceway FS1 7:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Fri., May 1 Dover International Speedway FS1 5:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Fri., May 15 Charlotte Motor Speedway FS1 8:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sat., May 30 Kansas Speedway FS1 8:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Fri., Jun. 5 Texas Motor Speedway FS1 9:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Fri., Jun. 12 Iowa Speedway FS1 8:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Fri., Jun. 19 Chicagoland Speedway FS1 8:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sat., Jun. 27 Pocono Raceway FS1 12:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Thurs., Jul. 9 Kentucky Speedway FS1 7:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Thurs., Jul. 30 Eldora Speedway FS1 9:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sat., Aug. 8 Michigan International Speedway FS1 1:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Fri., Aug. 21 World Wide Technology Raceway

at Gateway

FS1 9:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sun., Sept. 6 Canadian Tire Motorsport Park FS1 2:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Thurs., Sept. 17 Bristol Motor Speedway FS1 7:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Fri., Sept. 25 Las Vegas Motor Speedway FS1 9:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sat., Oct. 3 Talladega Superspeedway FS1 1:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Fri., Oct. 30 Martinsville Speedway FS1 8:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Fri., Nov. 6 Phoenix Raceway FS1 8:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM

 

Kyle Larson scores first Chili Bowl Nationals victory

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Kyle Larson passed Christopher Bell with 17 laps left and went on to win his first Chili Bowl Nationals crown Saturday night.

Bell, vying for a record-tying fourth consecutive win in the country’s premier midget race, finished second in the 24-car field at the River Spirit Expo Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Cannon McIntosh, 17 years old, finished third. NASCAR Xfinity driver Justin Allgaier placed 21st. 

A year ago, Larson lost this race on the last lap to Bell. Larson had a large enough lead late in Saturday night’s race that Bell wasn’t close enough to make a move.

“Its a pretty different range of emotions 365 days later,” Larson said on the MavTV broadcast. “I feel like I’m going to pass out.

“I’m sorry NASCAR, I’m sorry Daytona, but this is the biggest (expletive) race I’ve ever won. I hope to win Daytona in a few weeks but this is bad ass.”

Here’s how other NASCAR competitors did in the various races Saturday that led to the A main that Larson won:

Dillon Welch, Alex Bowman and J.J. Yeley each failed to advance from the B2 Main.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. failed to advance from the C1 Main.

Ryan Newman failed to advance from the D1 Main.

Chase Briscoe failed to advance from the B1 Main

 

Parker Kligerman will not return to No. 96 Cup car

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Parker Kligerman said Friday that he will not drive the No. 96 Cup car for Gaunt Brothers Racing this season.

Kligerman ran 14 races for the team last year, finishing a season-high 15th in the Daytona 500 and also in the fall Talladega playoff race. Kligerman ran four races with the team in 2018, placing a season-best 23rd at Sonoma.

“It was a super cool opportunity,” Kligerman told NBC Sports of driving for Gaunt Brothers Racing. “I didn’t think I was going to get a second shot at Cup. Then I had that opportunity at the Coke 600 (in 2018 with the team) and last year we did way more races than I ever thought we would do and got to be a part of the Toyota family.

“I felt like we really, as race team, improved and improved and improved and got to where our last race at Texas was one of our best races of the year. We were just solid, speed-wise and execution and all that stuff. It was cool to see that and be a part of that. That’s why I did that. I felt like we were building something.

“(Owner Marty Gaunt) has been great to me, super open to the process in the offseason. In my position, being a driver that doesn’t have any personal funding, you always know, especially being a part-time driver, you’re on borrowed time. I’m very happy for them. I wish them all the best.”

Kligerman said he does not have any rides for 2020 in any of NASCAR national series. Kligerman is a NASCAR on NBC broadcaster and co-host of the show “Proving Grounds” on NBCSN.

The team has not announced its plans for the 2020 season. Daniel Suarez, linked to the team, has not announced his plans for this year after losing his ride at Stewart-Haas Racing after last season.   

Gaunt Brothers Racing debuted in 2017, running one race with D.J. Kennington. The team ran 22 races the following year between Kligerman, Kennington, Jeffrey Earnhardt and Jesse Little. The team ran 15 races last year with Drew Herring running once along with Kligerman’s 14 starts.

Kaulig Racing announces crew chiefs for full-time Xfinity teams

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Kaulig Racing announced Friday the crew chief lineup for its two full-time Xfinity Series teams this year.

Bruce Schlicker, a former race engineer for Stewart-Haas Racing, will lead Ross Chastain and the No. 10 team.

Alex Yontz returns as crew chief on Justin Haley‘s No. 11 Chevrolet. Yontz led Haley’s team in 14 races last year following the death of Nick Harrison in July.

More: Kaulig Racing to attempt to make Daytona 500 with Justin Haley

Schlicker was a race engineer at Richard Childress Racing from 2012-2016 before joining Stewart-Haas Racing.

“I’m excited for the opportunity at Kaulig Racing,” Schlicker said in a press release. “It’s a great team with great resources and even better drivers. We’ve got some great support from Nutrien Ag Solutions, who will be on the No. 10 car for the majority of the races in 2020. I’m looking forward to running a full season in the Xfinity Series with Ross Chastain, winning races and chasing after the championship.”

Yontz served as a crew chief for Kaulig Racing in 24 races in 2019, also working with Austin Dillon, Elliott Sadler, A.J. Allmendinger and Chastain in addition to Haley. He was on the pit box when Chastain earned Kaulig Racing’s first NASCAR victory in the July race at Daytona.

“I’m excited to be back with Justin Haley this season full time,” Yontz said in the press release. “We have a few races under our belts together from the end of last season, and we built a really good relationship. I’m looking forward to winning races with him in 2020.”