Coffee with Kyle: Richard Petty and Dale Inman went separate ways

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With the end of the 2018 season, Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus have parted ways. Johnson has a new crew chief in Kevin Meendering; Knaus has a new driver in William Byron.

The latest edition of “Coffee with Kyle” takes a look at another legendary pairing that split up: Richard Petty and his cousin Dale Inman.

Petty and Inman both believe Knaus has a better chance at winning another championship than Johnson. They came to that conclusion based on experience.

Petty and Inman combined for 166 wins and seven championships before they split up.

“(Going our separate ways) was probably one of the best things that ever happened to both of us,” Petty said. “Because once we got away from each other we realized how we depended on each other.”

Separating might have been good for them personally, but Petty’s performance was never the same. He went on to win just two more races.

Petty’s 199th win came at Dover in May 1984.

“Dover was a big win,” Petty said. “It had been a while since we won. But then everything was ‘the next race, the next race, the next race’ before we went to Daytona. Everybody was expecting the 200 anytime. We was too. But it couldn’t have been any better than for us to win the 200th race July the 4th in front of the President of the United States (Ronald Reagan).

“If you wrote a script, nobody would have bought it.”

Part 1: Richard Petty: Racing ‘took us to the real world’
Part 2: The story behind debut of Plymouth’s NASCAR Superbird

Inman was hired by Rod Osterlund in 1980 and crewed the car for Dale Earnhardt and later Joe Ruttman without another win. 

“Then we got Tim Richmond and what a natural he was,” Inman said. “Didn’t know nothing about a race car. … Even Earnhardt respected him a lot, because he came in and raced Earnhardt.”

In 1982 Richmond won twice at Riverside. Those were the first wins for Inman after leaving Petty Enterprises.

Inman scored another championship with Terry Labonte in 1984. They won on consistency with only two wins but top fives in 17 of 30 races that year.

Regarding a short-lived pairing with Earnhardt, Inman said: “He couldn’t control himself. Darrell Waltrip intimidated him so bad it was unreal. The bad thing on my resume was I never won a race with Earnhardt.”

The episode can be found on the NBC Sports YouTube page.

Click here to watch the “Coffee with Kyle” episode with Tony Stewart.

Jeff Gordon, Red Farmer named to NMPA Hall of Fame

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Jeff Gordon and Charles “Red” Farmer will be inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association’s Hall of Fame Class of 2019.

Gordon’s career defined an era. His first Cup race came at the age of 20 in the 1992 season finale. That race was the last for Richard Petty. His last appearance was the 2016 fall race at Martinsville driving in relief for an injured Dale Earnhardt Jr. Gordon scored his 477th top 10 with a sixth-place finish in that race.

Gordon’s first 93 wins came in the 1994 Coke 600 at Charlotte. Later that year, he won the inaugural Brickyard 400. In fact, Gordon had a penchant for winning big races with three Coke 600s and five Brickyard 400s to his credit along with five Southern 500s and three Daytona 500s.

At the age of 24 in his third full-time season, Gordon became the second youngest driver to win a championship. Bill Rexford won the crown in 1950 at the age of 23. Gordon added three more championships in 1997, 1998 and 2001.

Farmer’s first NASCAR Cup race also came at the age of 20. He finished 45th in 1953 on the Daytona Beach and road course in a field of 57 cars. His last top level NASCAR race ended with a 44th-place finish in the 1975 August Talladega race, but his greatest achievements came on short tracks in the Southeast. One of Farmer’s two NASCAR top fives came on the half-mile Middle Georgia Raceway in Macon, Georgia in 1967. His other top five was earned at Talladega in 1972.

It is believed that Farmer won more than 800 races on dirt and paved short tracks during a career that continues at the age of 86.

Gordon and Farmer will be officially inducted during ceremonies scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 27 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Coffee with Kyle: Story behind debut of Plymouth’s NASCAR Superbird

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One of the most famous cars in NASCAR history, the Plymouth Superbird, was created to lure Richard Petty back from Ford, Richard Petty recounts in the second part of Kyle Petty’s conversation with his father and Dale Inman in “Coffee with Kyle.”

PART 1: Richard Petty: Racing ‘took us to the real world’

In 1969, the Dodge Daytona featured a large rear wing and aerodynamic advantage. Richard Petty said he went to Plymouth and said: “Are we going to get a wing? They said no. I said, can I have a Dodge? They said you’re a Plymouth man, you’re winning all these races anyway, you don’t need a wing.

“If I can’t have a Dodge and you’re not going to fix the Plymouth, then I’m going to go across the street and talk to Ford. We went the same day, went all the way to the top and had a deal when we came back down. All in one day.”

Months later, the tone changed at Plymouth.

“April of (1969), the head guy at Plymouth came down to the house, came down to our shop and we had won a race or two already with a Ford. He said what’s it going to take to get you back in a Plymouth. I said give me a wing. They built the Superbird.”

That’s just part of the stroll through history Kyle takes with his father and Inman. Other stories include Richard Petty’s first Daytona 500 win 1964 and the battles Richard had with the Wood Brothers and David Pearson, Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough. Also, Inman and Richard Petty share a humorous tale of Kyle Petty’s first racing experience.

For more, watch the video above.

Click here to watch “Coffee with Kyle” episode with Tony Stewart 

 

 

 

 

 

Coffee with Kyle: Richard Petty: Racing ‘took us to the real world’

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Before auto racing came along, cousins Richard Petty and Dale Inman lived within a half-mile of each other in Level Cross, North Carolina.

“I lived on a paved road, he lived on a dirt road,” Inman told Kyle Petty in the latest episode of “Coffee with Kyle.” “No telephones, no televisions, no indoor plumbing.”

Said Richard Petty: “We didn’t know that existed until daddy (Lee Petty) started racing and took us to the real world. Then we realized we was no poorer than the guy living next door. So it was plain country people, growing up during the second World War.”

Eventually their world got bigger, as Petty and Inman became a driver and crew chief combination that won seven Cup titles and 171 races with Petty Enterprises.

But it all started with the racing career of Lee Petty, who made his first Cup start on June 19, 1949 at the old Charlotte Speedway dirt track.

“My dad borrowed a car from some guys at a service station where he hung out,” Richard Petty recalled. “When we got there, he went into a Texaco station, pulled it up on the rack, took the muffler off of it, took the hub caps off of it. I think he knocked some holes in the floor board and put a seat belt in. That was it. That’s basically the way it started.”

Watch the above video for more from the first of three “Coffee with Kyle” episodes with Richard Petty and Inman.

The episode can be found on the NBC Sports YouTube page.

Click here to watch the “Coffee with Kyle” episode with Tony Stewart.

 

NASCAR America: Assessing Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus’ historic tenure

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After 17 years, seven Cup championships and 81 wins, the checkered flag will wave on Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus this weekend.

Sunday’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway will mark the final time Johnson and Knaus will work together as driver and crew chief.

In 2019, Johnson will be paired with Kevin Meendering while Knaus will work with William Byron on the No. 24 team.

On NASCAR America, three-time Cup champion and Hall of Fame crew chief Ray Evernham and Kyle Petty discussed the legacy of the Johnson-Knaus pairing and how it compares to what was accomplished by Richard Petty and crew chief Dale Inman and Jeff Gordon and Evernham.

“The most underrated record in this sport is five (championships) in a row,” Petty said, referring to the No. 48 team’s title run from 2006-10. “Nobody gives them enough credit, I just don’t think so. … The crew chief job that Ray did is a completely different job than what Chad does. The crew chief job that Chad does, Dale Inman wouldn’t even recognize it in 1967, ’68.”

Said Evernham: “Jimmie and Chad are right there with those guys. Without a doubt it’s Petty-Inman, Johnson-Knaus. What Jeff I did together was great, but we weren’t together that long. … To me it’s incredible to win that many championships, not just mechanically, but what it takes emotionally to do that. To hold those teams together and be that good for that many years is to me incredible. That’s longer than most marriages.”

Watch the above video for more.