- Petty Enterprises
Company Name = Petty Enterprises
| Owner(s) Name =
Racing Series =
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Championships = 10
Car Number(s) = #43
Driver(s) = flagicon|Texas
Kyle Petty/ flagicon|North Carolina Chad McCumbee/
Primary Sponsor(s) =
Cheerios/ Betty Crocker(#43)
Wells Fargo/ Paralyzed Veterans of America(#45)
Shop Location =
Mooresville, North Carolina(formerly Level Cross, North Carolina)
Homepage = [http://www.pettyracing.com/ Petty Racing]
Petty Enterprises is a
NASCARracing team based in Randleman, North Carolina. The team is owned by Richard Petty, his son Kyle Petty, and Boston Ventures. The team fields Dodge Chargers: the #43 Cheerios/ Betty Crocker Dodge, driven by Bobby Labonte, and the #45 Marathon Petroleum Company, Wells Fargo Dodge, driven by Kyle. In 1969, the team was first named Petty Enterprises.
Car #43 History
Arguably one of the most recognizable numbers in motorsports, the 43 team debuted in 1949, when
Lee Pettyformed Lee Petty Engineering and the NASCAR Grand National Division #42. The team's first win came that year in Lee's 5th start at Heidelberg Raceway, with Petty and the team finishing 2nd in points that season. Petty won one race in each of the years 1950and 1951, before collecting three victories in 1952. 1953saw the team expand to a multi-car team for the first time, fielding a Plymouth for Jimmie Lewallenat Palm Beach Speedway, who finished second to Petty. Lee grabbed five wins that season and finished second in points before winning the championship in 1954. He followed that with six wins the next season and two more the following year, making him one of the most dominating drivers in the series at that time. In 1957, Petty won four races as the team began running additional teams. Tiny Lund, Bill Mutz, and Ralph Earnhardtall ran races with the team, before Bobby Myers was killed in an accident at Darlington Raceway.
From 1954 to 1979, Petty Enterprises won 10 championships in NASCAR's premier series. Three of those championships came with Lee Petty driving the #42, and a record seven championships came with Richard Petty driving the #43.The car pictured is a 1979 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Show Car prepared by Petty Enterprises to commemorate Richard's 1979 Championship. The car that Richard drove to his 6th Daytona 500 win was similar but with no stripes or sponsor logos on the top half of the car.
From 1980 to 1984, Richard Petty won several races which brought his career total to 200 NASCAR wins. Unfortunately, these were his last wins. At the end of the 1983 season, Petty announced he was leaving Petty Enterprises to drive for
Following the 1985 season, Petty returned to the family operation, but failed to win another race before he retired in 1992. After his retirement,
Rick Wilsontook over the renumbered #44 car, but found little success. The car number was changed back to #43, and Busch Series Rookie of the Year Bobby Hamiltonwas hired in 1995, and he brought the team its first win since 1984 at Phoenix International Raceway. Hamilton won again at Rockingham in 1997, but left at season's end to tend to his own race team in the newly formed Craftsman Truck Series. In 1998, journeyman John Andrettiwas hired, and he gave the team another win at Martinsville, holding off Jeff Burton. Andretti would drive for the team until 2003, with little success other than a second place finish at Bristol. Despite a 2001 sponsor change to General Mills, Andretti was released in favor Brazilian driver Christian Fittipaldi, who struggled in his ride and was released. Andretti came back to the team for a few races before Jeff Green, recently released from Richard Childress Racing, signed on with the team for the rest of the season and all of 2004 and 2005. However, success was minimal and Green was released. In 2006, the team brought on not only 2000 Winston Cup champion Bobby Labonte, but also former Hendrick Motorsportscrew chief Robbie Loomis. Many analysts saw this combination as the key to putting Petty Enterprises back into victory lane. The team's first year together showed this, as Bobby finished 21st in the points. For 2007, Bobby returned to the team, which resulted in further improvement to 18th in points.
Car #44/#45 History
The #45 was not always part of Petty Enterprises. The car actually started out as the #44 with PE2 which was formed by Kyle Petty in 1997, when he was unable to drive for Petty Enterprises. Sponsored by
Hot Wheels, Kyle would not find success running his own operation. In 2000, Kyle merged PE2 into Petty Enterprises. Kyle would be sponsored by Sprint, now running the #45 in honor of his son Adam who was killed during Busch Series practice at New Hampshire International Speedway. From 2003 to 2005, Kyle would pick up Georgia-Pacificand Brawnyas his sponsors, but was still unable to bring Petty Enterprises back to its former days. With the addition of both Bobby Labonte and Robbie Loomis in 2006, as well as sponsors Wells Fargoand National Tire & Battery, Petty improved his position to 34th in the points. For 2007, with the passing of Benny Parsons, Kyle would join TNT for six races, dubbed their "Summer Series". During this time, John Andrettireturned to the team for four races, and Nascar Craftsman Truck Series driver Chad McCumbeemade his debut at Pocono Raceway. Before his stint in the booth for TNT, Petty had some significant on-track success, finishing 3rd in the Coca-Cola 600, his first top-5 Cup finish since 1997. After the Centurion Boats at the Glen, Kyle injured his hand in the team's hauler due to punching a desk. Petty would sit out two races while Kenny Wallace and McCumbee filled in. The #45 team finished 35th in the 2007 owners points. [http://www.nascar.com/drivers/dps/kpetty00/wc/bio.html]
The #44 remained in the Petty stable for several years, being run by
Buckshot Jonesand Christian Fittipaldibefore it was folded.
Late in the 2007 season, Petty Enterprises moved its shop into the old
Robert Yates Racingfacility in Mooresville, North Carolina. It will be the first time since the enception of the company that it won't be located in Level Cross, North Carolina. PEI believes that this is necessary to move forward with the team. Said Richard Petty, "It's kind of hard for us and the people in the community to accept maybe we're not there anymore. We just feel for us to move forward and keep up with where NASCAR is going, we just felt we had to try to go somewhere else." [http://sports.espn.go.com/rpm/news/story?seriesId=2&id=3098662]
One of the most distinctive features of the #43 car is its color. Petty Blue, as it's called, was created by the Petty Family. According to Richard, the color was created by accident when they didn't have enough white or dark blue paint to cover the entire car. The resulting mix of white and blue proved to be very popular and remains on the #43 car to this day. [http://www.allpar.com/racing/petty-plymouth-racing.html] Rumors state that Richard Petty would not allow STP to sponsor his car unless he could keep it painted blue. A compromise was reached to paint the car half Petty Blue and half STP Red. Thus was born one of the most famous paint schemes in racing history.
History of Drivers
In 2008, Boston Ventures invested into Petty Enterprises and Bobby Labonte signed a four-year extension to drive the #43 Dodge for the Pettys.
General Millswill leave the #43 after the 2008 season and go to Richard Childress Racing's fourth Cup car. Boston Ventures owns investments in companies such as Six Flags.
* [http://www.pettyracing.com/ Official site]
* [http://www.racing-reference.info/owner?id=enterpe01 All-time statistics at racing-reference.info]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.