Saturday, October 25, 2008

Kyle Petty's Black Hat Makes A TV Statement


It is just a little thirty-minute TV program where two panelists talk about the NASCAR topics of the day. Tradin' Paint is a series on SPEED that takes place at the SPEED Stage on each Sprint Cup Series weekend.

The program host is SPEED veteran John Roberts. He leads a two-person panel through a series of topics with a live crowd listening-in as well. This panel consists of a NASCAR driver and a member of the NASCAR media.

While the media member is different almost every week, the driver selected for the program appears on every show. It was Michael Waltrip that got this series off the ground originally several seasons ago. Unfortunately, Waltrip and his new MWR team ran into some problems at Daytona and his credibility took a big hit.

SPEED and Waltrip came to an understanding that he would leave Tradin' Paint. His replacement was a popular one and a great choice for SPEED. Kyle Petty was a proven veteran with a long family history in the sport. He was also about to embark on a part-time TV career with the TNT Network covering the six races that network televises during the summer months.

In 2007, the first year of The Daly Planet, we documented Petty's season on Tradin' Paint. The word "meltdown" was used rather frequently. Petty found that several members of the NASCAR press corps did not agree with everything he said and sometimes disagreed completely. That did not go over well.

Credit goes to Petty for sticking-out the entire season and beginning to get his "TV legs" in this talk show format. Working with Bill Weber and the TNT crew helped tremendously in this pursuit. Weber is foremost a journalist and Petty clearly benefited from working with a veteran media member who also has extensive TV experience.

This year, Petty has been walking a very fine line on the program. His TV skills and ability to talk with anyone on any topic are now outstanding. Reporters like Bob Pockrass and Jenna Fryer who caused titanic Petty meltdowns in 2007 now get a head shake and a smile when they go-off on tangents.

Unfortunately, the dark underlining of this show has been the real meltdown at Petty Enterprises. Kyle has gone from the smiling host of the press conference introducing the Boston Ventures investment firm to now being pushed-out by the CEO of the new company.

The Daly Planet article about the press conference in June was called "SPEED Televises The NASCAR Culture Clash." Click on the title to read the full column. Basically, a non-racing group bought the majority of Petty Enterprises to use the Richard Petty name, logo and properties for their own purposes.

On one hand, Kyle is in the middle of a growing TV career and a new direction in life. On the other, so much of what is personal and almost sacred where his family business and racing is concerned is being forcefully taken away.

This weekend, Tradin' Paint welcomed reporter Bob Pockrass back to the program in Atlanta as the media guest. It was cold outside and Kyle Petty wore a Petty Enterprises jacket and a black baseball hat for his #45 car and its sponsors. Only this week, TV viewers saw that something was different.

In the same way that policemen and firemen put a black band around their badges when a co-worker is lost, Petty had a black band firmly placed right through the numbers on the front of his baseball hat. It was clear for all to see that the #45 car that Kyle had clung-to in memory of his late son Adam was no longer his.

The frustration emerged on a day when it was reported that Boston Ventures CEO David Zucker had said the company would field two cars for 2009, but that Kyle Petty was not going to be involved with either effort. "Part-time if a sponsor could be found" was the phrase used to describe Petty's future opportunities.

Petty's words on that topic came out during a Tradin' Paint discussion about mergers. "I have not seen an acquisition help any team in the sport yet," said Petty about the new wave of outside investors. "I have not seen Boston Ventures help Petty Enterprises be more competitive now than what they were at the beginning of the year."

"When you look at it and ask what do they get (in mergers), I don't have a clue what they get," continued Petty. "You are taking two organizations who are falling or stable and just putting them together. Sometimes, warm water and warm water (combined) just gets colder."

It was a shame that Roberts or Pockrass did not take a moment to ask Petty about the black band on his hat and the future of his beloved #45 car. As the season draws to a close, it is also a shame to see what has happened to the Petty family business. The one thing that is very clear for all to see is the tension on Kyle's face.

Sunday in Atlanta, rookie Chad McCumbee will once again be piloting the #45 Petty Dodge in the Sprint Cup Series race starting from the 41st position. While Kyle Petty may have been in Atlanta for Tradin' Paint, he is not working on the TV broadcast of the race and may once again not even be at the track on Sunday.

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42 comments:

Dot said...

I thought I saw the black tape on Kyle's hat. I didn't get to see the whole show, but I'm surprised someone didn't mention it.

This whole Petty Ent issue makes me sad for Kyle. I really hope that Kyle finds his happiness. He really needs to be on TV. Maybe ESPU will fire all the car owners next season and he could replace one of them, or Boris on NN. At least Kyle has current driving experience. Whatever he does, I wish him well.

glenc1 said...

I saw it right away--couldn't figure out the meaning...

I think he would do them better in another capacity...but I think it's a lot about what you can bring to the team....I can't begin to know what's going on here...made me sad though...

majorshouse said...

It is really sad to see what has gone on at Petty Enterprises and what all about the talk I have been hearing about Ganasie merging with Petty? I just wonder what kind of a deal that would be?

Anonymous said...

I like Kyle Petty, and I of course respect the Petty name, but you kinda gotta wonder what Petty thought would happen when they took capital (cash injections) from what is basically a hedge fund. Did he think those guys were investing so that he could have a free ride finishing 39th every week until he is 60? Or did he realize that maybe the investment group thought they could do a lost more with the marketing of Petty's famous 43 car? Did Petty really believe that the wall street suits were going to invest in car technology so that they could finish higher (maybe move from outside the top 35 to top 20) and make a few extra bucks in purses? Or did he realize that maybe the bankers they went into business with were more interested in a brand name?

I don't think mergers are bad... but you have to be careful who your partners are and what their motivations are. For me, back when this story broke, I didn't have to read past the words "Boston Investment Group" before I realized this was less a merger than the Petty's cashing in by selling their brand name.

Who knows, maybe they were tricked into thinking the deal was going to be more... but to me it always seemed obvious: If you take on Rahal-Letterman as a partner maybe they care about winning races. If you take on stock brokers as partners, they care about making some money.

I sympathize for the Pettys, but I can't say they got the raw end of the deal. Looks like, sadly, they got exactly the deal they signed up for.

wickedj said...

I like Kyle but lets face it, hes a backmarker at this point in his career, PE as a whole is sinking and i think Kyle would be best if he stepped out of the car for good and went into an ownership or TV role. DJ got the hint a few years too late. DW got the hint *WAY* too late..Kyle your turn

Todd Crane said...

Now I'll wear black to church today because even though I don't watch NA$CAR anymore, another long story, I've always rooted for Kyle Petty, not for his finishes on the track, but for what He does off the track. God bless You Kyle...You are getting the shaft!

Anonymous said...

I watched "Paint" yesterday as I do every week and quickly noticed the black tape on Kyle's cap. Paint is my least liked Nascar show on Speed.To me,it's just 'fill' until Nascar Performance or something else I want to watch comes on. Having different drivers each week would be interesting.Who appointed Kyle Petty to be the sole authority of expert views on Nascar???

Anonymous said...

Maybe Kyle should have done a better job of running the family business if he wanted to keep the "45". The sport is a business, period, and it has been known to be a business for years, especially during the time that Kyle was "in charge". Playing the victim is the "in" thing to do in today's time. What Kyle has to realize he has stayed in this sport for a number of years BECAUSE of his name, not his performance, or else we not be having to write about him.

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Ken said...

Like the Wallaces and the Waltrips, the younger Pettys have survived in the sport because of their name with marginal racing ability. As the racing fans change, many of the newer generation have never seen the original racers in the family race. They don't understand why backmarkers are racing when they haven't produced. Sometimes, it is time to move on to other things.

Daly Planet Editor said...

The rules for posting are located on the right side of the main page. If your comment has been deleted, please return and re-post.

Perhaps, some posters who seem to be rather young or new to NASCAR might like to take a quick look around the Internet at Kyle Petty's history in the sport before offering an opinion on his contributions to NASCAR.

Thanks,

JD

Anonymous said...

Well, Kyle's apparently sure it is over, because burning bridges like this does nothing good.

As another poster observed, an outside investor wants only one thing: results. Petty hasn't delievered results, and given that Bobby Labonte has the same equipment and finishes MUCH better than Kyle week in and out, Kyle can't be surprised that he's not the driver the investors want in their car.

By the way, considering the nasty thing he said to people last year on this show, looking for sympathy now seems a little unrealistic.

majorshouse said...

I really think it is sad that today all sponsors and fans are looking for are results. Maybe Kyle needs to retire, but let's face it, he has not really been racing the last few years to win, he has been racing in memory of Adam and the love of the sport. How many racers do you know now who feel that way? It is sad that the Petty's got snookered with a really bad investment deal and I am sure that they wanted to stay in racing because of where they have come from in the sport, but let's face it folks, there is not a Dodge team in the cup series right now that has even gotten close to being consistent and there is not one single Dodge team in the top 12 racing for the chase as well. I have always liked Kyle because he is Kyle and doesn't conform to anyone's style or dictating. Sure he has ruffled many feathers either on the track or on television, but that is what I have always liked about him. He seems to be a genuine individual that not only cares about racing, but humanity in general and I cannot say that about too many people not only in sports, but in life in general

Dave said...

For all who do not understand racing and teammates. You say Kyle has the same equipment as Bobby. Maybe he does. Terry Labonte, and Chad Mcumbee can't finish in the top 20. Boris Said couldn't finish in the top 15 at a road course. You don't see Dale Jr or Jeff Gordon really having a shot at the championship like Jimmie Johnson. Put Kyle in Johnsons stuff and he will probably run 10th but not 35th every week.

Newracefan said...

I caught the tape but could not figure out who he was mourning. Thanks for clearing that up JD and I am sure you are right. While I can respect Kyle wanting to continue to honor Adam (I can't even imagine the pain of losing a child) his attempts to keep everything the same should take some of the blame for the situation in which PE found themselves. He believes that his being in the race helps promote VJGC, with where he is running I doubt that is the case. I truly believe NASCAR will never forsake the camp and Kyle needs to find a better way. That way is TV. BV is showing him some respect(little I know) by taking back the 44 and reserving the 45 for Kyle to use, they could have dumped him and kept the 45 for 2009. Kyle is buring some pretty big bridges and I hope the King isn't one of them.

Anonymous said...

Sure he has ruffled many feathers either on the track or on television, but that is what I have always liked about him.

He spent most of last season's TP shows telling anyone who disagreed with him that HE knows what's what and you shouldn't dare to disagree with him.

Unfortunately for Kyle, even though he wanted you to know that he knows more about racing than anyone else, he doesn't seem to know how to win a race.

So he shouldn't be surprised that he's not welcomed by invetsors who got into the sport to make money, not to fund a driver who spent his Fridays telling reporters that they didn't know what they were talking about, then spent Sundays as a backmarker.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I sympathize for the Pettys, but I can't say they got the raw end of the deal. Looks like, sadly, they got exactly the deal they signed up for.

Yep, it does. If they didn't realize it going in, they had their heads in the sand.

Daly Planet Editor said...

There is a new post up for the morning pre-race TV shows on Sunday.

JD

Dave said...

Dale Jr will run past his prime just like everone else because they are race car drivers. He will have a ride because of his name. Dale when the time comes should finish his time in a DEI car(if they are still around). Kyle should finish his time in a PETTY car not a Boston Ventures car with thr Petty name. We should be pointing more fingers at the man in charge Mr Loomis.

Anonymous said...

We should be pointing more fingers at the man in charge Mr Loomis.

No. The man making the decsiion was the King. Richard allowed this to happen, and he's got to take the blame for it.

ri88girl said...

I noticed the tape but didn't even get as far as it was for mourning, I'm that stupid.

I think Kyle has so much fire in the belly he should take his stake and start his own truck team and do TV. As Dale Jr. has walked away from a family firm of the same last name to remake that name in his own light; Kyle can do the same thing.

He's right about the merger stuff that happens with non racing partners. The whole sport has suffered from the thirst for expansion over the last three seasons.

When the hedge funds and big companies blow up or are forced to pull back, the only people left at the track regardless of last name will be racers and fans of racers and the media that chooses to cover that. We may not be in Cali or Vages, but the sport won't die, and King Brian won't have to try so hard to get us back to our roots, that's all that'll be left.

DrTeplisky said...

I am reminded of Mark's Gospel 8:36
and the history of the 45 car (and all of the good that has come from the Victory Junction Gang). I think Kyle is suffering a bad case of buyer's remorse.

Unfortunately, the sport is becoming less and less sport, more and more commerce, and, IMO, doing neither particularly well or economically.

It is a shame that a legendary name is being debased by Boston Ventures; but I must agree with Anon 1:25am 's analysis.

This, too, shall pass. The good guys (and Kyle's picture is included with that definition in the Picture Dictionary) win out over time.

Dave said...

NASCAR started this deal. They caped the amount of teams an owner could have. Now you have two owners forming partnerships. Roush/Yates, Hendrick/Stewart/Hass. How can a two car team compete with the resources and amount of information from an 6 or 8 car team. Now they (NASCAR) want to open up testing. Example... Two cars test 4 times thats 8 bits of information. 8 cars test 4 times thats 32 bits of information. You are behind after the first test. Equaling a 20th to 35th place race teams. NASCAR can't do a thing about it now, they need the cars and the teams.

Anonymous said...

I just saw an interview with Michael Waltrip. What a positive guy. If kyle was just a little bit more like that, maybe sponsors would gravitate toward him.

NASCAR is trying to bring appeal to a new audience. Kyle just comes off as a disgruntled guy. The sport nor his team needs that.

Dave said...
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Daly Planet Editor said...

There is a new post up for the morning pre-race shows. Just click on the TDP logo at the top of the page.

JD

Anonymous said...

I agree that Mickey has made mistakes. But when you have someone like Dale Jarret say what a great guy he is, I believe it.

Mickey went out on his own. Started his own team. Took his licks and paid through the nose.

Mickey never talks like NASCAR owes him anything. Why do you think Best Western has him in commercials every day?

Anonymous said...

I don't care who your daddy is, if you can't perform as a driver, crew cheif, or owner, than I simply don't care if you can't field a car.

The top 35 rule is a rather low bar NASCAR sets as a mark of success, and the #45 couldn't even acheive that.

Dave said...

Kyle Petty speaks the truth and what is on his mind. A lot like Tony Stewart, and Kyle Bush. They aren't the pupets on a string like a lot of other drivers out there. Quick coment about Petty Ent. I have been a Petty fan for 31 years. The way I see it now is to many chiefs and not enough indians over there.

Dave said...

I have seen the King stay for hours after a race to make sure everyone that wanted an autograph got one. Now the drivers don't even stop or look at you when they sign an autograph let alone stay after a race. All they want to do is get on there plane and get out of there. Real fan friendly. A lot of the drivers would chare for an aotograph if they could get away with it. Not all but most would.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that just because you agree with management, you are a puppet. Also, just because you disagree with them, makes you smart.

midasmicah said...

I think in their haste to state how Kyle Petty has lost his edge and needs to get out of the #45, a very important matter is NOT being discussed. Kyle does need to let someone else drive the car, but when a proud organization like Petty Enterprises has to sell their heart and soul to outside interests that know nothing about racing and could care less about anything, but the bottom line, it shows what the real problem in today"s na$car. Newer fans need to just shut up about the state of na$car because they're talking out of their behinds. To anybody who has been following the sport for a long time like I have, IT'S THE SPORT THAT'S LOST IT'S HEART AND SOUL. In the not too distant future, there"ll only be a few teams left in na$car. Any and all smaller teams like Petty who don't sell out will be gone. Period, end of quotation. This is quite possibly my last year of giving my undivided attention to the sport. I NEVER thought I'd be saying this. For the last couple of weeks I've found myself watching football and periodicly checking on the race. That would have been unheard of a couple of years. I feel for Kyle Petty. He had to watch his father hold out his hat to a company that could care less about his contributions to the sport. Thanks na$car for basicly chasing me away from the sport I've loved for years. Thanks for listening.

midasmicah said...

Though I just submitted a rather long winded response to your column, I want to add one more thing. A recent article was comparing ticket prices between na$car and other sports. Speaking froma personal perspective (I've attended a few races) you have to add a few more $$$"s to the cost of attending a na$car race. Like the traveling costs (try Sacramento, CA to Fontana, CA). Add the cost of a hotel room. Attending a na$car has some not very well hidden costs. Thanks for listening.

Anonymous said...

Kyle was a good, but not great driver. none of his 8 wins came in a Petty owned car. 2 for the Wood Bros. in the late 80's 6 for Sabco, in the early to mid 90's. Nothing since. For those saying it's way past time for him to get out of a race car, & I'm not saying it's not. Where is your voice when Mikey is making his 1000th start, with what, 4 wins? all at plate races, where the car is way more important than the driver. This while Dale Sr. was running the co. Guys, & Gals this is a monument to mediocrity, that will never be broken, guaranteed!
Back to Kyle, when you sell the family business, you no longer control it. That's a fact of the business world. When the Co. was sold, the writing was on the wall for Kyle.
Had Adam not been killed, Kyle would not still be in a car. Personally, I think maybe he thinks his being in the car, raises his profile vis-a-vie, the Victory Junction Gang.
Long story, short. I'm not sorry to see Kyle get out of the car. I am, however sorry to see him FORCED, out of it.

dawg

Anonymous said...

Where is your voice when Mikey is making his 1000th start, with what, 4 wins? all at plate races, where the car is way more important than the driver.

He runs his own company; he can do whatever he wants. Maybe the Pettys should have made a deal like he did, with a moneyman who has a feel for racing, and lets MW call the shots.

Anonymous said...

How can a two car team compete with the resources and amount of information from an 6 or 8 car team.
Well, for starters, they could form alliances like the other guys instead of complaining that they have such a small operation.

Anonymous said...

While many complain about the fact that NASCAR has changed, Kyle has made over $1.3 million and just raced in 14 races (with not very good results) Last year he did not race a full schedule and still made near $3 million.

I suspect losing all that money is part of why he is so unhappy. He will also lose his presence in the garage.

If he can ignore the hurt feelings, maybe he can go after stuff he has not had enough time for, his music and Victory Junction. I wish him luck.

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Geeze said...
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