August 1, 2011 through July 31, 2012. Whew. A year. 200 wins by Richard Petty, 200 posts ... almost. Plus, I threw in a couple of bonus posts for his first professional racing start, his first NASCAR Grand National start, and his first racing win - a convertible race at Columbia Speedway.
As a kid, my uncle took me to my first race - a late model sportsman
event - at Nashville Speedway in 1974. At the time, he drove a light blue Plymouth with a hood as long as a Kansas prairie. And he'd started following a young driver named Richard Petty in the early 60s because the guy drove Plymouths.
My uncle told me I better become a
Richard Petty fan if I planned to follow Winston Cup racing and have him take me to races - so I did
beginning in 1975. I immediately began accumulating photos, postcards, decals, newspaper articles, programs, tickets, die-cast, magazines, autographs, patches, etc. (And my uncle did take me to my first Cup race at Nashville in 1978 and my first Daytona 500 in 1980.) Over the years, I often wondered how I could share my interest in racing with others. Before Al Gore invented the interwebs, it was pretty much impractical. But I kept wondering. More recently, I wondered how I could share my specific interest in the history of Richard Petty with others.
I started by trying to compile a list of Petty-related, daily trivia nuggets. While I still don't have 365 days' worth, I'm pretty close. The trivia I have compiled rotates daily as a side panel here and has been there pretty much since this blog began 3+ years ago.
Then I met Jerry Bushmire, a fellow Petty fan, through JalopyJournal's H.A.M.B. and TrackForum.com. It didn't take me long to realize Jerry was a bit more ... um, uh, ahem ... seasoned than me.
Over the next few weeks of winter and spring 2011, my inbox received a deluge of new messages from Jerry with scans of Petty related articles and photos from his archives going back to ground zero of Richard's career. And I thought it was me who was consumed with The King's history.
So off I charged. I'm no Raymond Babbitt, but I originally thought I could hold my own with a lot of Petty trivia. But I learned a ton of new information over the last year. I also got input from a bunch of existing friends - as well as from a few new ones. Many are fellow Petty fans. Some didn't pull for him but respected him and still had memorable stories or other information to share. I soaked it all in and tried to work in the various anecdotes and other contributions where I could. Hopefully, I was solid in giving attribution as appropriate throughout the last year.
As the dust settles, I posted something for 198 of the King's 200 NASCAR Grand National / Winston Cup victories. Two wins eluded Jerry and me. Neither of us had anything in our collections nor was the web much help for RP's 10th win on August 15, 1962, in Roanoke, Virginia or his 40th win on September 17, 1965, in Manassas, Virginia. Got anything on these two wins? If so, pass 'em along to me at toomuchcountry (at) gmail (dot) com, and I'll feature them ASAP.
So at the risk of leaving someone out, I'm going to attempt to list the names who helped make an enjoyable project for me become a reality.
First of all - The King himself - Richard Petty. The cat was cool and talented from the time I was first lectured by my uncle to follow him. And he remains so today.
Secondly, Jerry Bushmire. Without your contributions, I would not have undertaken this effort. You are the wind benea ... No, wait. Scratch that. Not going there. Thanks and we'll leave it at that.
Former Petty Enterprises crewman, Billy Biscoe
Photographer, Al Consoli
Retired journalist, Buddy Chapman
Photographer, Brian Cleary of bcpix.com
Journalist, writer, musician & lifelong David Pearson fan, Monte Dutton
Writer, Greg Fielden and his great series of books - Forty Years of Stock Car Racing
Mrs. Margaret Frank
Founder of RacersReunion.com, Jeff Gilder
Former Petty Enterprises crewman and NASCAR crew chief, Steve Hmiel
Brian 200WINZ Hauck
Writer, Tom Higgins
Writer, Rick Houston
NASCAR Hall of Fame crew chief, Dale Inman
Former NASCAR Grand National driver, Paul Lewis
Doug Murph from Petty's Garage
Smyle Media owner, Don Smyle
Writer, Perry Allen Wood
Philly, My fellow Schaefer Hall of Fame co-founder and brother from another mother
The staff at the Richard Petty Museum
The staff at the Riverside International Automotive Museum
All the great, anonymous folks and your YouTube videos
All the folks who sold Petty related things on ebay and didn't watermark your images
I raise a hearty Schaefer scha-loot to each and every one of you. Hopefully, I'll see some of you at the track.
Finally, thanks to everyone who has read a post, left a comment, sent me an e-mail, re-tweeted a link, texted me, featured me on Facebook, etc. about these entries. I'm glad they were enjoyed.