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DETROIT -- If you look up legend in Webster’s Dictionary odds are Richard Petty will be listed. After all “The King” won a record seven NASCAR championships, won 200 races and during the 1967 season he won a record 27 races. That’s right, 27 races in a single season! Petty raced one season (1969) for Ford during his illustrious NASCAR career winning ten races and finishing second to fellow Ford driver David Pearson. This past off-season Richard Petty Motorsports joined the Ford Racing family with its driver line-up of Kasey Khane, A.J. Almendinger, Elliott Sadler and Paul Menard.
“The King” was in Detroit Monday for an appearance at the 2010 Ford Dealer Intro Show and he took a few minutes to answer a few of the questions submitted by you via @Ford.
Click here to watch Richard Petty respond to some of your questions and read below to see how he responded to the rest of the questions submitted!
Q. AFTER BEING WITH CHRYSLER FOR SO MANY YEARS, HOW DOES IT FEEL BEING PART OWNER OF A FORD TEAM?
A. Well you know we were with Ford in 1969 and we had a really good year. With the circumstances of the economy and all this stuff now we look at Ford as being an American outfit and from that standpoint we know that they are stable and that they are going to be here a long time. Plus they have a heckuva of a good race car so that is one reason I wanted to go back.
Q. FORTY YEARS AGO, MR. PETTY SWITCHED TO FORD. I'M CURIOUS ABOUT THE TRANSITION; WHAT WAS INVOLVED IN SWITCHING FROM ONE MANUFACTURER TO ANOTHER?
A. Way back in 1968 to ’69 when we changed to Ford from Chrysler cars we threw away everything we had as far as rear ends, front ends, back ends motors, chassis and bodies and we started all over again. This time when we switched from Dodge to Ford because NASCAR has a specific chassis, and everybody has got basically the same chassis since basically all except the nose and tail of the car is the same. So getting used to the engine deal and getting used to the difference in the horsepower and the torque those were the really big changes that our team had to come up with.
Q. AS YOU LOOK BACK OVER YOUR CAREER, WHAT IS THE MOST EXCITING AND MEMORABLE WIN FOR YOU?
A. Probably the last one because that is the closest one, 1984, and I can still remember a little bit of that one. We won our 200th race on July the 4th in front of the President of the United States (Ronald Reagan) on the very last green flag lap. It couldn’t have come together better for us to remember. When you look back the first race was just as important as the tenth race or twentieth race as far as trying to get to 200. All the races were very very important and again the reason I remember the one from ’84 is that was the last one that I won.
Q. WHAT ARE YOUR IMPRESSIONS OF THE NEW FR9 ENGINE?
A. Well we really haven’t had a lot of experience with it so far. So far from what we can pick up it is going to be an improvement on what we have got. The deal is we will be able to build off of something since we have just about maxed out what we already have. So if we start with something, which is already as good as what we had, then we will have a great future to look forward to.
Q. YOU ARE HERE AT THE DEALER INTRO SHOW, HAVE YOU HAD A CHANCE TO DRIVE ANY OF THE NEW FORD PRODUCTS?
A. No we have been walking around checking everything out. I have seen a couple of cars that my wife might be interested in. I was asking about the Ford Edge and I think that is about the size she wants and something she would be interested in. So I am going to get her to check out one of the Edge’s.
Q. YOU RECENTLY TOOK TIME AWAY FROM RACING TO SPEND WITH YOUR WIFE, HOW IS SHE DOING?
A. She is doing really good. We took her to Duke in January / February and she had cancer in her head. We went back last week and they have completely eliminated that particular deal. Now she is getting around better and walking better and doing things. We still have to go through treatments, but the big deal is they got it stopped and headed in the right direction.