NASCAR: 12 questions with Richard Petty
Source: Jeff Gluck, USA TODAY Sports
Q: When you were driving and got on a long green-flag run where you were not racing around anyone, what did you think about?
A: Every one of them was different circumstances. Are you leading the race? Is somebody catching you? All that kind of stuff. So you never went blank during the race no matter what. You were always thinking about what we need to do, what we’ve done wrong, whatever. You’re still racing — even if you’re running by yourself.
Q: Fans often come up to you and want to discuss a moment or race from your career. Which one comes up the most?
A: I’ve been doing this so dang long, there ain’t no one moment, you know what I mean? It’s not a win or a wreck. Most people, when they come up to you, want to talk about where they met you at or the time they got a picture taken with you when they were 10 years old and they want another picture. Stuff like that.
So it’s like, “Hey, remember when I met you in 1973?”
Exactly. One of them kind of deals. It’s like, “Oh yeah, I remember that.” (Laughs)
Q: If someone paid you $5 million to design a new racetrack and gave you an unlimited budget, what kind of track would you build?
A: I would build a short track. Probably three-quarters of a mile or something like that — something where it’s not sheer speed. I would try to build a track that from my standpoint is a driver’s racetrack — not a car’s racetrack, OK? … I’d design the deal where the infield would be completely underground so you could stand on the frontstretch and see all the way around the racetrack. To me, you design a racetrack for the drivers but you also design it for the spectators.
When it gets right down to it, the spectators are more important than the racetrack is.
Q: If you had a day off to do anything in the world you wanted, what would you do?
A: Go home and shut the gate. Turn all the radios off, the telephones and all that stuff and just hibernate, OK?
So just some peace and quiet?
Nobody around to bother you, nobody around to tell you when to get up, nobody to tell you when to eat. Just divorce yourself from the world for 24 hours.
Q: Obviously, You’ve had a lot of amazing experiences away from racing through your job over the decades. What’s one that sticks out as being really special?
A: I’ve done so much. Been all over the world. But we went to Vietnam for a few weeks for one of them Christmas deals (visiting troops in 1971), and I really enjoyed that. It was kind of miserable to do it, but to see what these guys in the service have to go through, it gives you a different perspective when you see them and talk to them and thank them for being able to do what we want to do. … So this was actually during the Vietnam War? Yeah, it was 1970 I think (actually 1971, according to drag racer Don Garlits’ autobiography). There were four or five different guys who went over there, so we spent 20-some days over there (visiting troops who couldn’t go home for Christmas).
Q: When you would go home after a bad day at the track, did you vent to someone about it or just keep it to yourself?
A: I’ve won races and went home and couldn’t sleep because I knew I didn’t do a good job. And I’ve run fifth or 10th in a race and would go home and sleep like a baby because I knew — in my mind, anyway — nobody could have done a better job than what I did.
So all my thoughts were inward — not to blame somebody else, or circumstances or whatever. It was, “What could I have done to make it better?”
Q: There are a lot of little kids running around the track these days. If you could point to another driver as a good example for children, who would it be?
A: You know, no matter how you try to raise your kids, you raise them to your thoughts but you leave it up to them as to who they admire. I can’t tell them, “Hey, you need to go see Jeff Gordon and be just like him.” I can’t do that, because with their personality, they might not like that. They might like a Busch, you know what I mean? (Laughs)
So I can’t say. You can’t do that, because it ain’t right. They have to make up their own mind.
Q: When you stand around with other drivers and tell old racing stories, what’s one of your favorites to tell either about something that happened to yourself or someone else?
A: I tell a different one every week. (Laughs) There are just so many. It’s according to what the circumstances are or where you are. It’s not a single deal.
Q: What’s a TV show you’re really into right now?
A: I watch a little bit of everything. I watch the History Channel, anything with science, outer space crap. As far as just sitting down and watching a show, it doesn’t turn me on. When I read, I read biographies and true stuff; I don’t read fiction. So a lot of times, there’s so much fiction on TV. I’m bad about watching cowboy stuff though. I like those.
Q: What’s the last movie you saw and was it any good?
A: Ooh. (Thinks for awhile) Probably Driving Miss Daisy or something like that. That’s how long it’s been since I’ve been to a movie. (Laughs) That’s what, 20 or 30 years ago? (Actually 25.) I couldn’t even tell you.
Q: If you could give a piece of advice to your younger self — something you know now that you didn’t know then — what would it be?
A: Wow. Probably that I should have — from my standpoint — looked at my life more outside of racing. I was so consumed with racing that I didn’t even know what was going on in the world. If I had to go back, I’d still do my racing deal, but I’d try to join the world, I guess. …
Q: So you’d just have more of a life outside racing? A: Just know more about what’s going on around you. Like helping service people or the Victory Junction Gang Camp — that came on in the latter part of my life where I should have been involved in stuff like that way earlier.
Q: I’ve been asking each person to give me a question for the next interview. Last week was Brian Scott, and he wanted to ask how you’re doing since your wife died in March. How are you doing these days?
A: Basically, After being married 55 years, I’ve got four kids, 12 grandkids, three great-grandkids — and now I don’t have a wife, OK? So I’m just having to live my life all over again. I’m having to start from here (points downward) and think different in a lot of the ways I do stuff. I’m doing the thinking myself now. Before, my wife did a lot of thinking for me. (Chuckles.) So it’s a different lifestyle.
Q: And do you have a question for the next driver?
A: Yeah. Ask the guy what he’d do for a living if he had to go work for a living. (Laughs)
GSA Visits FSI Dealership and Training Center, Onsite Fleet Services of Florida
The U.S. General Services Administration(GSA) recently visited the FSI Dealership and Training Center, Onsite Fleet Services of Florida in Lakeland, FL to evaluate it’s facility for approval to award fleet maintenance contracts to the FSI Dealership.
A representative met with Laura Basenese, President of Onsite Fleet Services and Trainer for all new FSI Dealerships. Satisfied with the facility’s ability to provide consistent service and quick turnaround on all vehicles, Onsite Fleet Services of Florida was approved to become a fleet maintenance provider for the federal government.
Since 1954, GSA Fleet has been providing quality vehicles to over 75 participating federal agencies. The GSA Fleet is one of the largest non-tactical federal fleets in the U.S. government. The GSA fleet includes: automobiles, buses, ambulances, light, medium, and heavy trucks as well as passenger vans.
As a GSA vendor each Fleet Services International Dealership becomes the “face” to the customer, a GSA “partner” in meeting the needs of their mutual customers. With 19,000 plus contracts in place-and more being added every day – GSA vendor competition is stiff.
“The GSA is the primary purchasing entity for the federal government. This agency offers services to millions of multi government departments allowing exposure to your business.” said Laura Basenese, President and CEO of Onsite Fleet Services of Florida.
OnSite Fleet Services of Florida is an authorized dealer in the Fleet Services International, Ltd. network of dealerships across the USA and a certified NAPA Truck Care Center, providing truck repair in Polk, Osceola, Orange and Hillsborough counties since 2010. As a NAPA Truck Care Center they are able to provide the benefits of an established national entity while maintaining the personalized service of a family owned business.
For more information contact: Fleet Services International (404) 699-9669.
Fleet Services International, Ltd. and Flyers Energy Fuel Discount Program
Fleet Services International, LLC has just negotiated an agreement with California fuel distributor Flyers Energy to offer Fleet Fuel Cards to new and existing dealers at a discounted cost. Flyers Energy, LLC is the largest commercial fueling network in the U.S. with cards that work at 92 percent of gas stations nation-wide (over 230,000 fuel and maintenance locations).
In an effort to add value to our vendor network for new and existing dealers, Fleet Services International, LTD has partnered Flyers Energy to offer a full service commercial fuel discount program to current and new dealerships.
“Having a fuel discount accompanied with security and accounting features at no additional cost gives a real tangible benefit to our dealers and we are pleased to have Flyers Energy as our partner,” says Karla Startup, Marketing Director of Fleet Services International.
Since it’s inception in 1979, Flyers Energy has expanded to become one of the premiere fuel suppliers in the nation driving $2 Billion of revenue annually. Flyers delivers over 1 million gallons of fuel product per day, is the fuel marketer to over 110 major brand gas stations, and is the largest member of the Commercial Fueling Network (CFN). In 2010 Flyers formed a partnership with US Bank to allow their Flyers Fleet Card to be accepted at more locations in the United States and Puerto Rico than any other commercial fuel card.
Fleet Services International Dealers receive access to the Flyers CFN Card and Flyers Fleet Card, with acceptance at over 92% of gas stations nationwide. At no additional cost, this program also comes with security and accounting features that can potentially save our dealers thousands of dollars per year. Flyers Energy will also provide a FREE no obligation fuel analysis on our dealership’s most recent fuel invoice or receipts to determine if the Fleet Services International discount can bring the dealer added value and savings with the Flyer’s complete fuel management system.
Some of the program highlights:
- Dealer discount off of average retail price for both diesel and gasoline at CFN locations only.
- Dealer discount per gallon using the Flyers Fleet Card at over 92% of retail locations.
- Lower fuel costs with full integration with all major GPS and Fuel Management Software providers, including Fleetmatics.
- NO TRANSACTION FEES, NO PER CARD CHARGES, NO REPORTING FEES, NO INTEREST
- Fleet Services Dealers can control limits and monitor activity such as set gallon/dollar limits, disable cards, set driver ID/PIN numbers, and much more
For more information contact: Fleet Services International (404) 699-9669.