Not Racing Petty by John L. Neel

"There is no doubt about precisely when folks began racing each other in automobiles.  It was the day they built the second automobile." ~ Richard Petty

This is a very short story of an event that never happened.

I almost raced Petty!

Driving at the Petty Driving Experience

Not long after I bought my 2005 Mustang and after the new Charger came out, Austin, grandson of Richard Petty matriculated to VMI.  We already had one of the Luck boys in school, so we had become used to seeing the family around Post.  Richard was even seen at a couple of parades, signature black-feathered Cowboy Hat, go-to-hell Belt Buckle, and all.  The family even gave CPT Sarah and me a free pass to Richard Petty Driving Experience to drive at Winston-Salem Raceway.

VMI Color Guard at Goody's 400

While he was there, Austin became a big hit with the women in the Commandant's Office who were NASCAR fans.  He would spend a lot of time there, probably too much time for a Rat.

After Family Weekend, I walked into the office and the ladies told me to come to the back.  There sat Austin.

"Tell Him," Sandy said to Austin.

Austin jumped to attention.  I told him to sit and relax.  He began telling me about his trip to Wal-Mart with his father, Kyle, the past weekend.

As he told it, His dad was following me on Highway 11 in his new Dodge Charger, when Austin said, "That's the Sergeant Major in the Mustang." His dad, Kyle Petty, said, "We should race him." Austin pled with him not to do that, saying it would get him in trouble.

I stood there for a moment while that sank in.

I yelled, "What!? I had a chance to race Kyle Petty and you ruined it for me, Rat.  I could have talked about racing your dad for the rest of my life.  Now, all I will ever be able to say is that I Almost Raced Petty.  I should have you do pushups until your arms fall off!"

I told him, quickly, that I was kidding, to save him from jumping off the 4th stoop, but.  .  .

I wasn't.

Bess and I would have happily blown Petty's weak-ass Dodge off the road.

Kyle's View

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