Wood Brothers honor Kyle Petty with Darlington throwback

Kyle Petty knows something about racing as a family business.

Wood Brothers honor Kyle Petty with Darlington throwback

The third-generation racer started his career under the Petty banner and then moved to another family-owned team — the Wood Brothers — in 1985.

Driving the No. 7 7-Eleven Thunderbird, Petty earned his breakthrough Cup win with the Stuart, Virginia-based team at Richmond in 1986. But it wasn’t until 1987 that Petty posted his first-career win behind the wheel of the iconic No. 21 Ford in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Wood Brothers Racing will honor the accomplishment with a throwback paint scheme reflective of the No. 21 Citgo Ford — complete with Kyle Petty’s name above the driver’s side door — which at the time was a novelty for the young driver.

“My dad wouldn’t let me put any name above the door because he didn’t want to be associated with me,” Petty joked of the King. “Ed (Wood), Len (Wood) and those guys put my name above the door.

“I was so excited to drive the 21 — and then we got a sponsor (7-Eleven) and changed the number to 7, and it teed me off. Finally, we got to go to the 21 — and I won. These guys gave me an opportunity to drive a car that was winning races…I drove a car for my dad, but it was the second car.”

Racers have been known to be superstitious. And Petty acquired his own lucky charm while driving for the Wood Brothers — albeit a lucky charm of the unorthodox variety.

“I had a lucky pair of underwear that I wore when I drove this car, cause I won a race,” Petty said. "Win a race, wear the same underwear. Made sense to me. I left them on the truck and Terry Hall (Kim Wood’s husband) threw ‘em in the dumpster. So, I left home in Level Cross, (NC) where I lived and drove like two, two-and-a-half hours, and dug through the dumpster and got my underwear out.

“Nobody wanted to touch my underwear because they were sweaty and had been in the dumpster. So I put them in Clorox. Little did I know that if you leave them in Clorox overnight, they’d deteriorate pretty bad. So all that was left was the band — with a little bit of cloth on it. I wore it the rest of the year.”

Petty had more staying power than his underwear. He spent four seasons with NASCAR’s longest-running active team. Reflecting on his time with the Wood Brothers while at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Tuesday, Petty was reminded of how close-knit the clan was during his tenure and still is today.

“Listening to everyone talk up here, (Edsel) Ford, the Wood Family — that’s the word that kept coming up here was family,” Petty said. “When you go to drive for these guys, you become part of the family. That’s one piece of advice I would give Paul (Menard, the Wood Brothers new driver for 2018), become part of the family. Just like Curtis Turner, just like David Pearson, just like Neil Bonnett, just like Ryan Blaney, you become part of their family. To sit at their table and with Glen (Wood, patriarch) and Bernece (Wood), to hang out with you guys, it’s special.

“To drive this car was a real, real big deal for me personally, because as almost everyone in this room knows, it was Richard Petty, Dale Inman and Petty Enterprises against Glen and Len Wood and David Pearson for so many years — that was the rivalry. So for me to leave there and to come here was really special. So this is a huge honor. Thank you, Wood Brothers Racing. This is really special to me.”

shares
comments
Menards to partner with Ryan Blaney and Penske in 2018

Previous article

Menards to partner with Ryan Blaney and Penske in 2018

Next article

Roundtable: Reaching the younger NASCAR fan

Roundtable: Reaching the younger NASCAR fan
Load comments
From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview Prime

From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview

The death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500 shocked NASCAR to the core. At the Daytona 24 Hours, two weeks before his fatal accident, ‘The Intimidator’ shared his expectations of challenging for an eighth Cup title with JONATHAN INGRAM, in an article first published in the 15 February 2001 issue of Autosport magazine. Little did we know then what tragedy would unfold…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death Prime

The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death

On February 18, 2001, seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt – the fearless ‘Intimidator’ – was in his element at Daytona International Speedway. While his own DEI team’s cars ran 1-2 towards the finish line, his famed #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo was playing rear gunner to block any late runs from the chasing pack. As the cars tore through Turns 3 and 4 on that fateful final lap, Earnhardt maintained the strongarm tactics that encapsulated his persona… but his actions in those moments sadly proved to be his last.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR Prime

Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR

The NASCAR Cup Series is changing. Whether it be the gradual morphing out the seasoned drivers of yesterday as the next generation step up, a radical calendar shake-up featuring more road courses than ever before and the prospect of an all-new car on the horizon, stock car racing’s highest level is nearing the end of a huge facelift.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2021
The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021 Prime

The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 13, 2021
Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption Prime

Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a chance of redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Effectively replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith...

NASCAR Cup
Feb 11, 2021
Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon Prime

Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon

In this exclusive one-on-one interview, Roger Penske reveals the inner drive that has made him not only a hugely successful team owner and businessman but also the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar. He spoke to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Dec 28, 2020
Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started Prime

Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started

Chase Elliott's late charge to the 2020 NASCAR Cup title defied predictions that it would be a Kevin Harvick versus Denny Hamlin showdown. While the two veterans are showing no signs of slowing down, Elliott's triumph was a window into NASCAR's future…

NASCAR Cup
Nov 18, 2020
Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture Prime

Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture

“You can’t hear me? Hey n*****” Those fateful words uttered by Kyle Larson, spoken into his esports headset on April 12, were directed at his sim racing spotter – but instead they quickly became amplified around the world via social media, including his own Twitch stream.

NASCAR Cup
Oct 29, 2020