Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Big News at Petty Enterprises

Richard and Kyle Petty today announced their new partnership with Boston Ventures, an equity firm that will be investing heavily in the Mooresville, NC race team. Kyle introduced David Zucker, who will be CEO of the new organization, the first time in it's history that Petty Enterprises has not had someone named Petty in charge.

David Zucker made statements reassuring fans of the organization that Boston Venture's primary objective will be to help Petty Enterprises regain some of it's prominence in Nascar. Basically, the Pettys will continue to do what the have always done best, leaving them free to concentrating on racing, while not having to be as concerned over the financial shape the organization has been in. It's a move becoming more common into today's Nascar climate, having seen Rousch team up with Fenway and Evernham join forces with Gillette. For an organization that has struggled over the last several years, it's a move that was bound to happen sooner or later.

It is somewhat sad, as you might say it's the end of an era, but really it's not. Kyle will continue to drive, and Richard will continue to be very involved in helping out wherever he can. Not much will change outwardly about the team, but hopefully, given time, Petty Enterprises will visit victory lane again.

The other big news at the press conference is Bobby Labonte's new contract extension. I have felt for a while that Bobby would stay with the Pettys, and indeed that will be true for at least the next 4 years. I have read some comments from fans asking why Bobby would stay with a team that has been running so poorly, but I think the answer is simple. Bobby Labonte is still a competitive driver, and he sees Petty Enterprises on the way up, and not as a declining team. Bobby Labonte is nearly the same age as I am, and I've been watching the sport nearly as long as he has. Back in the early 70's, there simply was no stock car more famous than the 43 of Richard Petty. Many people my age dreamed about driving that 43 one day, and fortunately for Bobby, that dream came true a few years ago.

I'm not sorry to see Bobby Labonte stay at Petty. As a matter of fact, I'm very happy for him. I hope very much that Petty Enterprises will now be able to recapture some of that old glory that they've been missing for so long.

Other topics covered in the press conference was Petty Enterprises will hopefully adding a 3rd car, as soon as they are able to find sponsorship and get a team and driver in place. The Pettys will also be actively seeking new sponsorship for 2009 and beyond. With the new financial backing, and the continued involvement of Nascar's winningest driver, I see sponsors willing to take a closer look at the new Petty Enterprises.

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