When I Grow Up: Life in the Fast Lane

NASCAR legend Kyle Petty tells us what it&s like to be a famous race car driver.
Feb 06, 2013

Why my job is awesome: I really love being around all the guys from my crew, and also everybody else’s. We are with the same group of guys for almost 40 weeks straight, so we form close relationships and goof around a lot. That’s what makes it fun.


An average day: I guess it depends on what day. Often sponsor commitments keep me busy. For example, the first week of October, I was in Garyville, LA, for a marathon for one of my sponsors. The very next night I was in Birmingham, AL, for my other sponsor. I like looking at my schedule and seeing something different planned for each day.


How I first became interested: I grew up differently from most kids. I was 10 years old before I figured out that not everyone’s dad was a race car driver like mine. Racing is all our family knew – we grew up around the shop watching race cars being built, and we traveled with my momma to my dad’s races. I always knew I wanted to be a race car driver like my granddaddy and my dad before me, but my dad would not let me until I was 18.


How I got where I am today: I hung out in my daddy’s shop all the time and learned everything I could from people like Dale Inman (my dad’s crew chief) and Randy Owens (my uncle). Then just going to the racetrack every week, that’s how I got started.


What stinks about my job: Actually, nothing. I really don’t think I would change a thing if I could. Things are going great with the Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, NC, a camp my family started for kids with chronic illnesses and medical conditions. We’re planning to build a new camp in Kansas, and that’s coming along great, too.


How I stay safe: NASCAR has made some huge adjustments in the past 10 years to make this sport safer – the Hans Device that reduces neck and head injuries, the saver barriers that coat the old cement walls, and the Car of Tomorrow design. All of these changes have made racing much safer – not only for us drivers, but for the officials and crew members as well.


For my fans: Thank you for all of your support over the years. It’s so great to have seen this sport grow over the years – it’s nothing without you.

Raising Kids