Could Petty Enterprises Rise Again?

Another blogger has suggested that if, indeed, Kyle Petty has a 12-race deal in place with Wells Fargo, he should resurrect Petty Enterprises and resume his Sprint Cup career (read the story here). It’s a nice thought and presents a heartwarming scene; it would also doubtless make a whole bunch of people happy, perhaps even Kyle.

However, while Petty has made it very clear he’d like to race in Sprint Cup again, he’s been equally clear in asserting that he would do so only if he can find a competitive ride. "I’m not at the stage where I want to come down and beat [my] head against the wall," he told reporters at Daytona. "I’ve been doing that for the last five or six years, coming down here with cars that were uncompetitive. I don’t want to get in somebody else’s car that is uncompetitive." 

Aside from the inconvenient truth that Petty hasn’t been competitive in more than a decade — he’s had one top-five finish since 1997 — it seems doubly unlikely that he could suddenly decide to strike out on his own and rediscover the success he last enjoyed in the late 1980s and early 1990s when he registered five top-10 points finishes. And, after all is said and done, the last thing this story needs is yet another sad final chapter — I know I’m not eager to see the fantastically decent Petty continue to labor in futility. And neither is Kyle.

I’ve long believed that Petty is one of those rare public figures who is owed. That is, he’s given so much and sacrificed so much to his chosen field that he should have the opportunity to end things on his terms. Of course, I’m fundamentally naive and almost no business worth a damn runs on sentiment. And the idea that a 12-race deal with Wells Fargo gives Petty that chance is more naive than even I’m capable of being.

Which is too bad, because I kind of like it …


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