Petty Says Family Doing Well

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CONCORD, N.C. -- With dignity befitting his stature in the sport of automobile racing, the driver known as "The King" faced the press on Wednesday.

Barely two weeks had passed since Richard Petty's 19-year-old grandson, Adam Petty, died in a Busch Series practice crash at Loudon, N.H. Yet, Richard Petty came to Charlotte Motor Speedway to speak of the future.

"Petty Enterprises is going to go on,” Petty said. "Right now we're just re-evaluating everything we had because everybody knows we were putting a lot of future and a lot of things in the basket with Adam to sort of carry the torch for us.

"So now, we just have to re-evaluate everything, and it will be a little bit of time before we have it all figured out. Everybody seems to be doing real good. Its like everything else, as long as everyone stays busy, everything is going good. We just sort of tried to get away from all the racing stuff and just slow down a little bit."

Members of the Petty family went their separate ways to mourn the loss of Adam. Richard Petty and wife Lynda escaped to their ranch in Wyoming for some quiet time, while Kyle, wife Patti and son Austin and daughter Montgomery Lee traveled to Eastern North Carolina for a horse show.

"Kyle's been real, real busy trying to put everything together," Petty said. "Patti's been real good, I think. Lynda -- she gets emotional every once in a while. Montgomery Lee has done really good because she was able to go and get back with the horses. Austin, he's just been busy with the girls, so he's OK."

For the King himself, the last month has been devastating. He lost his father, family patriarch Lee Petty in April, just weeks before Adam's accident May 11. Richard Petty opted to stay home in Level Cross, N.C., during his father’s last days and missed Adam's Winston Cup debut at Texas. Kyle Petty often joked that Adam was the son that Richard always wanted, and there was a degree of truth to that.

But on Wednesday, the King was still able to flash that famous Petty smile and assure the media that he will continue to go with the flow.

"It's tough losing anybody in your family," Petty said. "I just lost my father about six or eight weeks ago. We're still dealing into that with my mother, and then all this other happens. After you get to be 62 years old you sort of go with the flow, and that's what we've been doing."

There has been much speculation about Kyle's future as a driver. Richard Petty said that Kyle, who has been overseeing the day-to-day operations of Petty Enterprises in addition to piloting the No. 44 Hot Wheels Pontiac will return to his driving duties next week at Dover. Petty's truck series driver, Steve Grissom, will substitute for Kyle in the Coca-Cola 600.

"I think was just a little too quick for him (to return to racing)," Petty said. "I think he needs to sort of settle down. Plus, the business part of it, the family part -- all that stuff just thrown in on him at one time -- I think he said, 'OK, just sort of take a week off here,' and try to sort of get that stuff together so that he could go forward with it. Yeah, he'll be ready for next week."

Petty said that his grandson's legacy will be the compassion he had for other people.

"I think that you see very few 19-year-old kids that have touched as many people as what Adam has," Petty said. "I think he was too young for anybody to really evaluate what his career was going to be from the professional standpoint. But I think the majority of the people that have ever met him remember his smile, the patting on the back, that he'd joke with them or whatever.

"So I guess that's probably the best memory that anybody could ever have of anybody is that, hey, he was a pretty good kid and always seemed to get along with everybody. That's how I'm going to remember him anyway."

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