Thursday, October 25, 2012

October 25 - Kyle's Rockingham Romp

October 25 - Happy Birthday to 2012 Schaefer Hall of Fame inductee, Bruton! (Also known as @DollarDawg43 on Twitter.)

October 25 is also the anniversary of Kyle Petty's dominant win in the 1992 AC Delco 500 at Rockingham. For younger readers and/or novice NASCAR fans, the pony-tailed, goatee-sporting, hat-wearing, talking head you see on Speed's Trackside, Raceday, and Victory Lane shows was once a pretty good driver. Though he had only eight career Cup wins, Kyle had a lengthy career and was in the points hunt a couple of years in the early 1990s. Driving for SABCO Racing and sponsored by Peak Antifreeze and Mello Yello, the 42 Pontiac was almost unstoppable at Rockingham from the late 1980s through the early 1990s.

In the 1992 fall Rockingham race, Kyle's father - Richard Petty - made his final start at the track. The King started every race at Rockingham from its inaugural event in 1965 through his 1992 retirement season, and had eleven wins in his 54 starts.

Fittingly, Kyle won the pole for his father's final Rockingham start, and he then led all but eight of the 492 laps en route to victory.

Perhaps because I remember Kyle's win, 1992 doesn't seem that long ago. Yet its been 20 years - 2 decades - since his win. The passage of time and advances in technology, however, can perhaps best be illustrated by looking at the cell phone Kyle used to call car owner Felix Sabates from victory lane. An iBrick?

Before NASCAR's premier series was sponsored by Sprint (and Nextel before that), R.J. Reynolds' Winston cigarettes brand was synonymous with the sport for more than twenty-five years. I'm reminded in the following photo of the cute and classy Miss Winston ladies. No knock on today's Miss Sprint Cup girls but having them dressed in firesuits is just dumb.

The Petty family and racing are inseparable. For many of Richard's wins - especially those at tracks in North Carolina - his family was able to join him in victory lane. For Kyle's Rockingham victory, he continued the tradition. Interestingly, the one person noticeably absent from the group is the King himself.

Here is a revisit of the final few laps of the race and Kyle's victory lane interview. The YouTube clip is timed at about one hour; however, the content ends around the 30 minute mark.

Source: Portsmouth Daily Times via Google News Archive
So as we reflect upon Kyle's dominating day at The Rock in 1992, the Schaefer Hall of Fame and Ring of Honor wish Bruton a Schaeferiffic birthday. Just don't live too large Bruton - we'd hate to see you fade early.


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