Sunday, January 31, 2016

Richard Petty without the hat

About 20 years ago, we were on the Winston Cup media tour in Charlotte, and the tour was visiting with Darrell Waltrip.

DW was announcing his silver No. 17 car, I think, and there were a bunch of famous drivers in attendance, guys named Jarrett, Petty, Pearson and Earnhardt, to name four. Waltrip was big-time, too, with three Cup championships. Those five drivers had 24 Cup titles among them.

After the presentation, I went to the front and was talking to Jeff Hammond, Waltrip's crew chief then, and someone else was talking to DW.

Suddenly, someone taller than me put his left arm around my right shoulder, and I looked up at Richard Petty shaking hands with DW. Richard, sans cowboy hat and wearing a sports coat, pulled DW and me into a group hug, and Hammond said he wished he had a camera.

I said I wished he had one, too. And I did. It's a cherished, if perplexing, memory.

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