What's Buzzing:

Petty makes emotional return at Richmond


RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today

RICHMOND, Va. -- Donning his trademark cowboy hat and wide grin, Richard Petty posed for photographs with children from the local Children's Miracle Network Hospital Friday morning at Richmond International Raceway.

It was the first time the Hall of Famer had been at a race track since his beloved wife of 55 years, Lynda, 72, passed away on March 25. And beyond the smiles, handshakes and polite greetings, it was obvious NASCAR's "King" was still grieving, still hurting.

His voice was soft and quivered at times speaking with a small handful of reporters.

"I'm still surviving," Petty said, his voice full of emotion. "I'm just going to have to live. ... (pause) It's going to be different, you know. Start all over again.

"Been fortunate all the kids came home for Easter and all the kids and grandkids and that really made things good."

Petty said the three races he missed during the last month mark the longest span away from the track -- ever -- and he's hopeful that being back will be a welcome distraction from what's been a sorrowful month.

"I just felt like I needed to sort of have a little time on our own, to be gone for two, three weeks," Petty said, pausing.

"But I'm back in the saddle now, learning to live all over again.

"The things we were supposed to do for the past three weeks were kinda put off, so we started Monday and we were in Georgia Monday, on Tuesday we were in Tennessee, Wednesday in Wyoming and got up there Thursday.

"The busier they keep me, the better it's going to be."

Both Marcos Ambrose and Richard Petty Motorsports teammate Aric Almirola expressed how pleased they were to have the boss trackside again -- important not only for the team, but also for Petty.

"He's our leader, he's the face of our race team," Almirola said. "To have him back and have him back on top of the trailer, back in the garage area is going to be big for me as a driver, but really big for our entire race team just to have his presence. It will be huge."

Petty acknowledged that he has been so genuinely touched by the outpouring of support from within the NASCAR community during this difficult time and seemed to perk up when speaking fondly of Lynda, even laughing at one recollection.

"It's just great that many people knew Lynda, of course she's been around a long time, too," Petty said smiling. "She never met a stranger. Every once in awhile I'd come in the house and see people I didn't even know; she'd invited them into the house, spend the night whatever.

"Again, it's just going to be different (for me)," he added.

Petty was especially moved to be a part of Friday's event with fans, children and Ambrose's No. 9 Stanley Ford racing team. Petty helped present a $100,000 check to the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and was enthusiastic about supporting the "Racing for a Miracle" program.

If Ambrose wins Saturday night's Toyota Owners 400, Stanley -- through the Ace Hardware Foundation -- will donate $1 million to the program. If he finishes second, the company will write a check for $500,000, and a third-place finish would net $250,000.

Petty said spending time with the children was as good for him as it was for them.

"We've got troubles but a lot of other people have troubles and so ? like you see it with Victory Junction Gang Camp, we were so fortunate," Petty said. "We had four kids and 12 grandkids and every one of them is perfectly healthy and then you look around at all these others that aren't.

"You just want to give back."

In this case, it appeared to be working both ways.


READ: Latest

WATCH: Latest
NASCAR video

Fantasy Live


View photo



? Latest news
? Standings
? Schedule

View Comments (58)
  • Carvajal concedes defeat in fitness fight for Euro 2016

    Carvajal concedes defeat in fitness fight for Euro 2016

    Real Madrid defender Dani Carvajal has announced he will miss next month's Euro 2016 tournament after the 24-year-old Spaniard sustained a muscular injury to his right leg during Saturday's Champions League final. "I got injured and the only thing … More »

    Reuters - 5 minutes ago
  • Ireland captain Keane a doubt for Euro 2016

    Ireland captain Keane a doubt for Euro 2016

    (Reuters) - Ireland captain Robbie Keane is in danger of missing next month's European Championship after suffering a calf injury in training on Saturday. The 35-year-old striker did not play in the 1-1 draw against Netherlands in Dublin on Friday … More »

    Reuters - 28 minutes ago
  • Former Croatia captain Boban given high-ranking FIFA role

    Former Croatia captain Boban given high-ranking FIFA role

    By Brian Homewood ZURICH (Reuters) - Former Croatia captain Zvonimir Boban was given a high-ranking role at FIFA on Monday when soccer's global ruling body named him as one of its two new deputy secretary generals. Boban, 47, will oversee the … More »

    Reuters - 36 minutes ago
  • Rashford signs long-term contract with Man United

    Rashford signs long-term contract with Man United

    (Reuters) - Striker Marcus Rashford has signed a new contract at Manchester United which will keep him at Old Trafford until 2020 with an option to extend for a further year, the club said on their website(www.manutd.com) on Monday. The 18-year-old … More »

    Reuters - 40 minutes ago
  • I will retire if no interesting job offers: Pellegrini

    I will retire if no interesting job offers: Pellegrini

    (Reuters) - Former Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini would consider retiring from management if he does not get any exciting offers. The 62-year-old, who guided City to their first Champions League semi-final this season, has been linked with … More »

    Reuters - 41 minutes ago