Friday, October 1, 2010

Kyle Petty Talks Bikes, Childress and the Chase

Kyle Petty is known as a guy who gives it to you straight.  Fans love hearing his no-bull approach to racing analysis.  And they also admire all he does for charity when the cameras are off.

Right now, Petty is getting revved up for the eighth annual Ride to Victory - a charity bike ride that will benefit Victory Junction, the camp for kids with chronic medical conditions and serious illnesses that Petty and his wife Pattie founded.

We caught up with Petty earlier today and asked him about this year's ride, the Childress penalty and other things NASCAR.  Here's what he had to say:

Describe what the Ride to Victory is like for folks who may be thinking about joining you.

"It's like one day on the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America. The riders show up and everything is handled from the moment they arrive at zMAX Dragway. All they have to do is get on the bike and ride.

We have one fuel stop at Pilot Flying J, 'the Official Travel Center of the Kyle Petty Charity Ride' with our amazing Charity Ride Fuel Team working the pumps. A typical day on the Ride Across America involved three to four pit stops. First-time riders are always amazed that hundreds of bikes can be fueled so quickly.

We're parading around Victory Junction and heading to my farm. This year we're adding something totally new to the mix - a Songwriters' Jam at my place. My good friend Mark Collie is joining us, along with Rafe Van Hoy and my son-in-law's father Billy Montana. These guys are amazing singers and songwriters and they've written for some of the biggest names in country music. Writers' rounds are really popular in Nashville - on any given night you can find one on Broadway. We've had a few of these songwriters' nights before and they've been a huge hit. This is something we're hoping to introduce to our area."

Can you give us a preview of your set list for the post-ride concert?

"You will recognize the songs from Billy, Rafe and Mark. Songs they've done and songs they've written for other artists you hear on the radio. My songs are all original and are only heard when I play a writers' night such as this or when I play for my friends."

Would you rather be at the race track on a Sunday or on your bike?

"At this point in life - it's a toss up."

The networks who broadcast NASCAR each year can take a beating when it comes to fans' criticism of their race coverage. Do you think NASCAR needs its own TV network? Would having an all-NASCAR, all-the-time channel boost fan interest or make it even harder to attract new fans?

"I don't think a NASCAR network would mean less criticism from the fans and I don't think it would attract new fans. The fans of the sport have access to NASCAR 24/7 365 days a year through the major networks, radio and other media outlets. Social networking and Twitter have a lot to do with this. Fans can ask a driver a question or make a comment and receive an answer from the driver himself, not through a PR rep or media statement. There's as much information for the fan today as there is misinformation for fans. So some of the criticism the sport and networks receive is not always justified."

Who's your dark horse for the championship?

"The 24 - Jeff Gordon"

What are the odds that NASCAR will eventually reduce the penalty against Richard Childress Racing and the No. 33 team? Should Childress just accept the defeat and move on?

"Slim to none. Childress shouldn't accept the penalty, but at the same time he has to move on."

If you were stranded on a desert island, who would you rather be with - Kenny Wallace or Darrell Waltrip?

" 'Kenny Waltrip'. He could talk up a storm that would blow us back to the mainland."

This year's Ride to Victory will take place on Sunday, Oct. 17.  For more information or to pre-register, visit or call (704) 714-4545.

1 comment:

  1. have a super ride. wish i could join you but don't have a bike any longer. will be w/ U in spirit.