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By JIMMY SUPPLEE
The Trimble Banner
The man known to all NASCAR fans at the King of NASCAR, Richard Petty, came to Belterra Casino Tuesday, Jan. 31 for a Tireside Chat, a question and answer session hosted by the Kentucky Speedway.
Petty is a seven-time Sprint Cup Champion and won 200 races in his career. His father, Lee Petty, won the first Daytona 500 and his son Kyle also had a career in NASCAR. His grandson Adam also began a career in racing, but he died in a wreck in practice at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Kentucky Speedway drew the names of 250 season ticket holders to attend the Tireside Chat with Petty. It began with dinner in the ballroom with the fans and sponsors of the Kentucky Speedway. After dinner, autographed items signed by Petty were raffled off, and Kentucky Speedway General Manager Mark Simendinger gave the fans and sponsors an update on all the improvements being made at the racetrack.
Then came the moment the fans were waiting for, the opportunity to meet the man himself, Petty, who was introduced by legendary voice of NASCAR Doug Rice, President of PRN radio.
Doug and Petty sat in big leather chairs on stage with a big screen behind them and talked about Petty’s career before Petty began taking questions from the fans.
The question Petty is most often asked is what he remembers most. Petty’s answer to the fans was that he will always remember his first win, but the last race he won would be hard not to be the most memorable because everything fell into place. It was July the 4, 1984 at Daytona International Speedway, where NASCAR began. He said he had a fast car, good pit stops and the president of the United States was at the track.
Petty also said he remembers the races he almost won and had a flat tire on the last lap or crashed into someone.
Petty will be back at Kentucky Speedway in June with his two Sprint Cup teams and a Nationwide team this season. The 2012 NASCAR season starts in just 11 days with the Budweiser Shoot Out under the lights at Daytona International Speedway.