End of an Era: Richard Petty Sells Controlling Interest in NASCAR Team

·2 min read
Photo credit: Chris Graythen - Getty Images
Photo credit: Chris Graythen - Getty Images

It appears that for the first time in NASCAR’s 72-year history there won’t be a Petty as an active participant in some aspect of the sport next year.

It was announced late Wednesday that long-time team owner Maury Gallagher has purchased the majority interest in Richard Petty Motorsports, effective immediately.

Family patriarch Lee Petty competed in the first Cup Series race at Charlotte in 1949, finishing an accident-related 19th. He raced virtually full-time (54 victories and three championships) until serious injures ended his Hall of Fame career in 1963. By then, his eldest son, Richard, was well on the way to his own Hall of Fame career that included 200 victories and seven championships.

Late in Richard’s career, his son, Kyle, began his own driving career. He won eight races between his debut in 1979 and his retirement in 2008. He remains close to the sports as a well-regarded television commentator.

Upon his retirement in 1992, Richard moved full time into team ownership. It was a solo venture for several years, until he joined with Ray Evernham and George Gillett, and later with New York businessman Andrew M. Murstein. It was renamed Richard Petty Motorsports in 2008.

At various times throughout the 1990s-2000’s Petty-affiliated teams have featured Kyle Petty, both Terry and Bobby Labonte, Christian Fittipaldi, John Andretti, Aric Almirola, Bill Elliott, Kasey Kahne, Marcos Ambrose, Sam Hornish Jr., A.J. Allmendinger, Patrick Carpentier, Elliott Sadler, Bubba Wallace, Erik Jones, and Brian Scott. Its last victory was from Almirola, a rain-shortened race last season at Loudon, N.H.

Fourth-generation racer Adam Petty—Lee's great grandson, Richard's grandson, and Kyle's son—was killed during an Xfinity Series practice session in May of 2000 at Loudon, N.H. He was 19, and likely going to move into the Cup Series within the next two or three years,

Gallagher, from Las Vegas, came into NASCAR with the Camping World Truck Series in 2013. He’s been full-time in that series for the past nine years, getting 41 victories from 14 drivers. His GEM team won the 2016 Truck Series title with Johnny Sauter and the 2020 title with Sheldon Creed.

The sale from Petty to Gallagher includes the two RPM charters for use in 2022. It remains uncertain whether the new GMS team will retain Erik Jones, last year’s RPM driver, or Gallagher will bring his own driver. Details of the sale are expected to be announced next week in Charlotte.

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