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When Bill France Sr. founded NASCAR in 1948, his goal was to turn stock car racing from an activity associated with bootlegging roughnecks into a successful spectator sport. To say he accomplished that goal would be an understatement, as the once-regional sport has become one of the most popular in the United States. How did this happen? And how did a competition once associated with outlaws and rogues become one of the most family-friendly sports in modern America? Anyone who knows NASCAR history will tell you that you can’t answer these questions without talking a lot about the Petty Family, and in this episode we do just that. Ladies and gentlemen, in episode #44 of The Road to Now, we talk the history of NASCAR with NASCAR icon Kyle Petty.
Kyle Petty is an American Stock Car racer who earned 173 top-ten finishes and 8 wins in his three decades behind the wheel in NASCAR. The Petty family, which also includes Kyle’s grandfather Lee, his father Richard, and his son, Adam, is unquestionably one of the most significant families in the history of NASCAR. Since retiring in 2008, Kyle began working as a race analyst for top networks, and currently works on pre- and post-race coverage for NBC. Kyle is also the founder of the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America, which has raised over $17 million to benefit children’s charities. Since 2004, the ride has benefitted Victory Junction, which was founded to enrich the lives of children suffering from chronic or life-threatening illnesses. Victory Junction was founded by the Petty Family in honor of Kyle’s son Adam, who died tragically on the racetrack in 2000.
-Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America
-Kyle Petty on twitter
-Kyle Petty Bio from NBC Sports
-Daniel S. Pierce, Real NASCAR: White Lightning, Red Clay and Big Bill France, (UNC Press, 2010).