The end of Petty Enterprises?

Man what in the world is happening to NASCAR? Just 6 months ago Richard Petty sold a majority of the business to Boston Ventures, an investment business, in the hopes of breathing life back into the crown jewell of NASCAR. A Petty car has not been to victory lane since 1999 and Bobby LaBonte seemed like their best hope when they signed him up. Also 6 months ago at the same time they extended Bobby’s contract for 4 more years as a driver and beyond to serve in some type of capacity in Petty Enterprises. Basically it was a lifetime contract (or so it seemed). But today they announced that that contract has been tossed out the window. Seems like they decided together that it would be better for the two to part ways.

Petty Enterprises is in talks with Gillett-Evernham Motorsports for a merger and would only take the 43 car that Bobby drove. They already basically got rid of Kyle (Petty, not that snot nosed kid from Las Vegas) and he isn’t even sure of what he will be doing next year. Now Bobby is out of a job too. Seems that General Mills pulled their sponsorship over to Richard Childress Racing and left the 43 high and dry for a full time sponsor.

Here is the kicker for me though. If the merger between Petty and GEM falls through, Petty Enterprises will run the 43 as a one car team! So whowill be the driver if you let Bobby go? Chad McCumbee was supposed to drive the 45 so where does he fit in all this?

I think Kyle should be brought back to drive the 43 for Petty Enterprises. I don’t want to see a merger, but I certainly understand the need for one. These guys are taking a beating in this economy and they are doing what they can to survive. Don’t know why motorsports are taking such a hit but other sports aren’t. I do know that there were rumors that the Areana Football League would cancel the entier 2009 season, but it hasnt happened yet. You have the Yankees who just signed pitcher CC Sabathia for 7 years for $161 million bucks and offered a deal to another pitcher, 5 years $80 million bucks! NASCAR teams can’t get sponsors, Petty Enterprises can’t stay afloat, banks are failing, home prices have plummeted, hundreds of thousands of people are out of work, but a baseball pitcher can sign a record contract and get paid  $23 million a year to work around 35 days during the season, and sometimes they don’t even finish their job (releivers, gotta love em).

Something is wrong with this country. I hope it gets fixed soon.

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2 responses to “The end of Petty Enterprises?

  1. I think the problem in Nascar is the loyalty follows the driver not the team. You used the Yankees as an example… Steinbrener made over 6b last year with his brand the “Yankees” so 161m for a pitcher is not too bad. Sports like football, baseball, and basketball play to their market… The games are held locally and usually more acessable (baseball plays 82 home games a year, how many races in Chicago a year?)…

    With that, people will support the Yankees no matter who plays for them. Sure a big name (a-rod, pudge, CC) will draw even more people, but fans of football, baseball, or even basketball are fans of the “team” not just the players… Nascar is the other way around.. there is no loyalty to the “team” it is to the driver… Look at Dale Jr. as a prime example… The people that rooted for the number 8 Budweiser car were not rooting for the team… they were rooting for Jr… When he left to Childress they followed, replacing their number 8 merchandise with the 88 stuff…

    It will be hard for a team like Petty that has not been competitive for a long time to draw a big name contending driver. Until they do the sponsors will follow the driver, the person they see as getting the most air time, and the ability to put their brand in the lead…

    I don’t see Nascar fans ever going to a “Team” approach… The sport is not built like others are… Over the past few years they have tried to make it more team like by implementing the chase, limiting how many cars an owner can run, and standardizing the cars… Personally I think they need to go back to the way it was in the Winston Cup… Acknowledge the drivers are what people want to see, let them battle it out… stop trying to make everyone the same and creating some bogus “Playoff” system for the last 12 races…

    There is a fine balance… but Nascar, being a fairly young sport in its popularity as compared to baseball, is still trying to establish it’s roots in “Prime time”… rather than try to make things equal they need to celebrate the people who standout… just like football and baseball do… then you will get the Cinderella stories (i.e. Florida Marlins)…

    People need entertainment… Takes our minds off what is really bothering us…

    Just my $.02…

  2. Thanks for your 2 cents Ryan 🙂 I appreciate your comments and yeah I agree, the sponsors want to go where their brand gets seen and if Petty Enterprises isn’t winning races then I completely understand. But at the same time, you have to look at them and and any other sponsor that might follow suit, and say thanks for sticking it out with them. I mean when a football team is doing bad, fans still come to see the game. I’m not a huge Bobby LaBonte fan but I was willing to support him and Petty Ent all the way. I do wish the best for them and hate to see them merge with anyone, but business is business.