For the first time since his wife Lynda passed away, Richard Petty is back at the track. Petty says that he spent the couple of weeks away from the track to have some time to heal, but is “ready to get back in the saddle again.”
Petty feels that right now getting back into the swing of things is the best thing for him to do to move on as he says, “The busier they keep me the better off I will be.”
NASCAR’s king was married to his queen for 55 years as Petty worked hard at making a living in racing while raising a family. As a result, certainly using someone whom you’ve known that long and loved would take it’s toll.
“I am surviving. It is going to be different I guess,” he commented. “After 55 years I have to start all over again. I was fortunate that all the kids came home for Easter. We had all the kids and grand kids home and that really made things work good.”
Many people have expressed their support to the entire family and Petty says that simply is due to the great personality that his wife had.
“She never met a stranger,” he commented. “Every once in awhile I would come in the house and see people I didn’t even know. She would invite them in the house to spend the night or whatever.”
In Petty’s return to the track, he and his team announced a charity initiative with driver Marcos Ambrose. The team unveiled a special “Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals” paint scheme for Saturday night’s race at Richmond. If Ambrose and his Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) team finish second or third, STANLEY, through the Ace Hardware Foundation, will donate $500,000 and $250,000 respectively.
“I think it kind of pacifies myself from the standpoint that we have troubles but a lot of other people have a lot of other trouble,” Petty commented. “Like with Victory Junction Gang camp and other stuff that we do, we were so fortunate. I had 4 kids and 12 grand kids and every one of them was perfectly healthy. And you look at all the people that are not that way. From that standpoint you just want to give back I guess.”
As Petty returns to the track, his pair of drivers Ambrose and Aric Almirola look to put on a show for their boss. Both drivers have ran good on the short tracks so far this season and fully expect that to continue with this weekend’s event.
“We are hoping our short track program will cross over to here but we know it will be slightly different with the configuration of the track,”Ambrose commented. “We have a lot of races to win this weekend. We have Richard Petty back and it is great to have him back at the track. We have a chance to win a million bucks for the sick kids in the Children’s Hospitals and we have a chance to make the Chase and a chance to win my first oval race. I guess it is all stacked up to be a lot of reasons to win and we know it. We have brought a really good package here with a car that we know has run well here in the 2014 season so we are looking forward to it.”