ABOUT KYLE PETTY
Kyle Petty is a retired American stock car racing driver. As the son of 7-time NASCAR Cup Champion and NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard "The King" Petty and grandson of NASCAR pioneer Lee Petty, Kyle grew up in the garage dreaming of following in their footsteps. He made his stock car debut at the age of 18 at the 1979 Daytona ARCA 200. Kyle won the race – his very first race – and became the youngest driver to win a major-league stock car race. Later that same season, Kyle made his Cup Series debut driving the No. 42 car (Lee Petty's number) for his family's race team. This was the start of his 30-year Cup Series racing career.
In 1983, Kyle switched to No. 7 upon receiving sponsorship from 7-Eleven. And in 1985, Kyle took that number and sponsorship to Wood Brothers Racing where he had a then career-high seven top-fives and his first top-ten points finish. The next season, Kyle won the 1986 Miller High Life 400 at Richmond, marking his first Cup Series win. In 1987, he switched to No. 21 and received new sponsorship from Citgo, as well as winning the 1987 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte.
In 1989, Kyle moved to the SABCO Racing team and gained a Peak Antifreeze sponsorship after he drove their car to a top-ten finish at the Daytona 500. Peak became the team's full-time sponsor in 1990, and Kyle finished eleventh in points after winning the GM Goodwrench 500 at North Carolina Speedway. Mello Yello would replace Peak as Kyle's sponsor in 1991. In 1992, Kyle won two races – the Budweiser at the Glen at Watkins Glen and the AC Delco 500 at Rockingham – driving the Mello Yello No. 42 car.
Still driving the Mello Yello No. 42 in 1993, Kyle picked up a win in the Champion Spark Plug 500 at Pocono. Coors Light became his new sponsor beginning in 1995, and Kyle won his final career Cup race in the Miller Genuine Draft 500 at Dover.
In the 1997 season, Kyle formed his own team – pe2 – and fielded the No. 44 Hot Wheels Pontiac Grand Prix for himself. He had two top-five finishes and nine top-ten finishes, and finished 15th in points, the highest points placement of all the new teams to run during the 1997 season. The next season in 1998, Kyle returned to Petty Enterprises and ran his team from their shop, and became Petty Enterprises' CEO.
Kyle finished the 1999 season with nine top-ten finishes. He had one top-ten early in 2000, the same year in which his son, Adam, died while practicing for a Busch Series race at New Hampshire. Following Adam's death in the 2000, Kyle moved to the Busch Series full-time to finish out the season in Adam's No. 45 Sprint Chevrolet. He had four top-tens in the car over a span of fourteen races, and attempted two Cup races with the No. 45 Sprint PCS Chevrolet in 2000.
In 2001, Kyle brought the No. 45 to the Cup Series full-time and drove it until his retirement in 2008. In those seven years, Kyle drove with sponsorships from Sprint, Brawny, Georgia Pacific, Wells Fargo, Schwan's and Marathon Oil. In 2008, Kyle stepped down as CEO of Petty Enterprises and drove his last Cup race at Phoenix.
In his 30-year Cup career, Kyle won eight races, earned 173 top-ten finishes and claimed eight starting pole positions. Currently, Kyle is ranked sixth on the all-time Cup starts list, having started 829 races in his career. Kyle has also been named or nominated by NASCAR, plus various media outlets and corporations, as Person of the Year, Father of the Year, Sportsman of the Year, True Value Man of the Year and the USA's Most Caring Athlete. He is an inductee in the Philanthropy Hall of Fame, the Humanitarian Hall of Fame and the Little League Hall of Excellence.