Kyle Petty said yesterday that he is unhappy that Richard Petty Motorsports failed to inform him before running a retro-paint scheme commemorating his first career victory on AJ Allmendinger’s Valvoline Dodge in the Daytona 500.
Petty told reporters last week that he was "crushed” by the move, adding, “I was hurt and I'm not going to get over it for a while. That was my paint job and my car and my number and my stuff from my first win. Not for Petty Enterprises or GEM or whoever that is."
Petty phoned Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway yesterday to clarify his comments, and also address what some see as a rift between himself and his legendary father’s new race team.
“That #44 -- Petty blue and white with Valvoline on the quarterpanels -- was the car I drove in my first ARCA race at Daytona 30 years ago,” said Petty. ”(RPM) went to Daytona with a car lettered up in that paint scheme, and nobody had the cohones to call me and tell me that they were doing it on the 30th anniversary of my first win. That’s what I was crushed about.”
Petty called the move, “a little bit of chicken crap diplomacy,” calling his ARCA win “a personal thing (that has) nothing to do with the #44, George Gillett, Boston Ventures or GEM. It is something I would like to have had the opportunity to commemorate, not somebody else.”
Petty repeated earlier comments about the 2008 sale of Petty Enterprises to Boston Ventures, saying he feels his family team ceased to exist when Boston Ventures came aboard and moved the team from its longtime home in Level Cross, NC. He also conceded that at some point, all parties will have to agree to disagree, and move on.
“Definitely,” said Petty. “I was at a press conference announcing a golf tournament for the Victory Junction Gang Camp, and the question was, `Were you invited to the press conference, or made aware that they were running a retro paint scheme?’ The answer to that was, `no,’ and when they asked how I felt about it, I said, ‘crushed.’ I don’t care about getting an invitation, I just wanted a heads-up on it. When I came to Daytona, I got blindsided by it.
“If the Chicago Bulls are having a Reunion Tour and they don’t invite Michael Jordan, that’s their fault," said Petty. "If they don’t want to (include him), that’s their deal. But I’m sure they would give him a heads-up and say, `This is what we’re going to do, we’re just not going to include you.’"
Petty also insisted that there is no rift between himself and his father, saying he had answered a very specific question, and that his answer had been taken out of context.
“I sat and talked (to the media) for an hour and a half, and they wrote a 25-word story,” he said. “It never comes across right. That’s not the writer’s fault or the editor’s fault, it just happens. Sometimes things get taken out of context and lead (people) in a different direction.
"This whole issue revolved around one single car, one single press conference and one single heads-up. I didn’t get that, and I was teed off about it. That’s as simple as it was."