Kyle Richard Petty (born June 2, 1960 in Randleman, North Carolina) is an American NASCAR driver, the son and grandson of racers Richard Petty and Lee Petty, respectively and father of Adam Petty. He drives the #45 Marathon Petroleum Company Dodge Charger for Petty Enterprises. The Marathon Petroleum Company announced the sponsorship on August 8, 2006.
Petty decided to follow in his father's footsteps and he won his first stock car
race, the ARCA 200
event at Daytona International Speedway
using a retired (but refurbished) 1978 Dodge Magnum race car that his father campaigned the previous year. He then tried to enter the Winston Cup
soon after that, but crashed during qualifying in March, May, and just before the July 4th Daytona races. Using one of the few remaining Magnums (the others were wrecked beyond repair), Petty qualified for the August '79 Talladega race and finished a very respectable 9th place. The following year, when spare cars were available, Kyle raced as often as he could, but did not have a successful year, driving as a teammate to his father at Petty Enterprises
. He left his father's team in 1985
to drive for the Wood Brothers
team. His first Winston Cup win came the following year at Richmond International Raceway
. Petty formed his own team in partnership with Petty Enterprises, known as PE2, in 1997. This later merged into Petty Enterprises and Kyle is now CEO
of that team.
Petty's son Adam Petty had begun a promising career in racing as well, but was killed in 2000 in a practice accident at New Hampshire International Speedway. Upon his son's death, Petty finished the 2000 season racing his son's car in the Busch Series. Petty is active in many charitable causes, such as the Victory Junction Gang Camp for terminally-ill children, which he established to honor his late son, as well as an annual charity motorcycle ride across the country called the Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America.
He appeared in the 1983 Burt Reynolds movie Stroker Ace.
Below is a list of all of the different NASCAR teams for which Kyle Petty has driven at the Sprint Cup level, and the companies who sponsored him in each year.
- Kyle Petty won the first race he ever entered; the 1979 Daytona ARCA 200. Kyle used one of the Dodge Magnums (repainted and re-numbered as #44) that his father campaigned in 1978. This is the only time a Dodge Magnum won a superspeedway race in either ARCA or NASCAR.
- In 1995 grunge band Soundgarden released a song entitled "Kyle Petty, Son Of Richard" on their Fell on Black Days single.
- Kyle Petty won his first Winston (now Sprint) Cup race at Richmond International Raceway in 1986 when his two closest competitors Dale Earnhardt and Darrell Waltrip mounted the fence while brawling for the win. Petty avoided the mess and came home for his first win.
- Kyle Petty does not put his name above the window of his car like most drivers do. Instead he leaves it blank in honor of his late son, Adam Petty.
- Kyle Petty has driven a black paint scheme every year at New Hampshire International Speedway, the site of his son's death.
- Kyle Petty drove in place of Kevin Harvick during the fall race at Bristol in 2004 as Harvick had to get out due to arm pains. Since Petty's own car was damaged he got in the car and drove it to a 29th place finish. This resulted in a $40,000 fine from Dodge, as Kyle has an exclusive contract to drive only Dodges.
- Kyle has a nephew named Brian Petty II who lives in upstate New York that he mentioned in a magazine interview, he gave a "Happy Birthday" shout out in the interview.
- Petty drove the #12 Mobil 1 Ford for Roger Penske at the Brickyard 400 in 2000 because then-current driver Jeremy Mayfield was injured during a practice crash.
- Kyle Petty was the second NASCAR driver to have his likeness featured in a video game. This Super Nintendo Entertainment System game was loosely based on the 1995 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season and was called Kyle Petty's No Fear Racing. The first NASCAR driver to be featured in a video game was Bill Elliott in Bill Elliott's NASCAR Challenge.
- Kyle won the 1987 Coca Cola 600 when his closest competitors faltered in the final miles.
- Kyle's best race track was the now-defunct North Carolina Speedway. He notched back-to-back wins in 1990 and 1991 and earned a million dollars, which carried over from the previous year.
- Kyle Petty has been featured in STP Commercials for his father's former sponsor.
- Kyle Petty was the first driver to drive under the Coors Light and Felix Sabates's affiliation, and Coors and Sabates have maintained that relationship since 1995.
- Kyle has a cousin named Ritchie Petty who ran a handful of Cup races during the 1993-1994 seasons.
- Kyle Petty does an annual motorcycle ride for charity purposes.
- In 1991, Kyle Petty suffered a broken leg in a 21-car wreck in the Winston 500 at Talladega. It put Kyle on the sidelines for 11 races. Bobby Hillin, Kenny Wallace and Tommy Kendall took over in Petty's absence. Kyle made his return in the Southern 500 at Darlington in September.
- Kyle was associated with the infamous wrestling stable, the New World Order, when he was introduced on a 1996 edition of WCW Monday Nitro as the driver for the nWo NASCAR Busch car.
- In a recent story by the Dallas Morning News, Kyle Petty admitted to listening to Megadeth, Dire Straits, and Tim Dog during the race weekend to relax.
- Kyle has not won a race since 1995 and his last top 5 finish since then was in 2007 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, where he finished third, this was his first top 5 finish since fall 1997 at Dover International Speedway.
- During the 2007 Toyota/Save Mart 350 as an in race reporter, he accidentally swore during the broadcast while he was in his car before the first lap.
- As of 2008, Kyle Petty wears eyeglasses when he is racing in the Sprint Cup.
Kyle Petty actually won 8 races
- Patti Petty, Kyle's wife said in a interview with the Winston-Salem Journal on September 28,2008 that Kyle is no longer with the famly team after the race at Kansas. Patti said "They told him 3 years ago we dont want you anymore. At Watkins Glen, Kyle was in his driving suit and they told him they dont need him."