Adam Petty

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Not to be confused with Adam Peaty.
Adam Kyler Petty
Born (1980-07-10)July 10, 1980
Trenton, New Jersey
Died May 12, 2000(2000-05-12) (aged 19)
Loudon, New Hampshire
Cause of death Basilar skull fracture from crash in Turn 3 of practice for the 2000 Busch 200
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career
First race 2000 DirecTV 500 (Texas)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 0 0
NASCAR Nationwide Series career
43 race(s) run over 3 year(s)
Best finish 20th (1999)
First race 1998 CarQuest Auto Parts 250 (Gateway)
Last race 2000 Hardee's 250 (Richmond)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 4 0
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career
First race 1999 Virginia Is For Lovers 200 (Richmond)
Last race 1999 O'Reilly 300 (Texas)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 1 0

Adam Kyler Petty (July 10, 1980 – May 12, 2000) was a professional racing driver. He was the first fourth-generation driver in NASCAR history.

Early life[edit]

Petty was raised in High Point, North Carolina into stock car racing "royalty". The son of Kyle Petty, he was widely expected to become the next great Petty, following in the footsteps of his father, grandfather Richard, and great-grandfather Lee. He was the first known fourth-generation athlete in all of modern American motor sports to participate in the chosen profession of his generations.

Racing career[edit]

Petty began his career in 1998, shortly after he turned 18, in the ARCA RE/MAX Series. Like his father Kyle, he won his first ARCA race, driving the #45 Sprint/Spree sponsored Pontiac at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

Petty moved to NASCAR Busch Series full-time in 1999, driving the #45 Sprint-sponsored Chevrolet. Petty finished sixth in his first Busch Series race at Daytona and had a best finish of fourth place, though he also failed to qualify for three of the Busch races. Petty finished the 1999 season 20th overall in points.

Petty Enterprises planned to have Petty run a second Busch season in 2000, while giving him seven starts in the 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup series, in preparation for a full Winston Cup campaign in 2001. He struggled early in the Busch season, but managed to qualify in his first attempt at Winston Cup during the DirecTV 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 2. He qualified 33rd and ran in the middle of the pack most of the day before his engine expired, forcing him to finish 40th. Adam never got to race alongside his father. Kyle failed to qualify and eventually relieved an ill Elliott Sadler, but Adam was already out of the race. Lee Petty, Adam's great-grandfather, and 3-time NASCAR Champion, lived to see his Winston debut, but died just three days later.

Death[edit]

On May 12, 2000, Petty was practicing for the Busch series Busch 200 race[1] at the New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. While entering turn three, Petty's throttle stuck wide open, causing the car to hit the outside wall virtually head on. Petty was killed instantly due to a basilar skull fracture.[2]

Petty's death, along with 1998 Winston Cup Rookie of the Year Kenny Irwin, Jr.'s in the same corner at the same track eight weeks later,[3] led NASCAR to mandate the use of a kill switch on the steering wheel and the adoption of the Whelen Modified Tour restrictor plate for the September Cup race; the plate was abandoned after that race. These two adjustments addressed the cause of the deadly accidents, but did not address the basilar skull fractures suffered by both drivers. The HANS or Hutchens devices, designed to prevent the rapid-deceleration head-and-neck movements associated with the injury that Petty and Irwin Jr. suffered, was not mandated by NASCAR until 2001, after the similar injuries and deaths of Tony Roper, Dale Earnhardt and ARCA driver Blaise Alexander.

Kyle Petty, Adam's father, who drove the #44 car at the time of the crash, drove Adam's #45 car in the Busch Series for the remainder of 2000. He then used the #45 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series throughout the rest of his driving career.[4]

Legacy[edit]

President George W. Bush is joined at Adam's Race Shop on the grounds of Victory Junction Gang Camp, Inc., in Randleman, N.C., by NASCAR drivers Kyle Petty, Richard Petty, Michael Waltrip and Jimmie Johnson. White House photo by Paul Morse

In October 2000 five months after Petty's death, his family partnered with Paul Newman and the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp to begin the Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, North Carolina, as a memorial to Petty. The camp has received support from many NASCAR drivers, teams, and sponsors, including Cup Series sponsor Sprint, which has placed a replica of Petty's 1998 car in the camp. The Victory Junction Gang camp began operation in 2004, and is an official charity of NASCAR. Petty also appears as a special guest driver in the video games NASCAR 2000, NASCAR Rumble, NASCAR 2001 and NASCAR Arcade.

In December 2013, his brother Austin named his newborn son after Adam in tribute.[5]

Motorsports career results[edit]

NASCAR[edit]

(key) (Bold - Pole position awarded by qualifying time. Italics - Pole position earned by points standings or practice time. * – Most laps led.)

Winston Cup Series[edit]

Busch Series[edit]

Craftsman Truck Series[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Adam Petty driver statistics at Racing-Reference