Yes Im Kyle Petty Too

Nearly everyone in line for crew member autographs at the Johnny Benson Fan Club Open House in Grand Rapids, Mich. this month asked if that was the tirechanger’s real name.

NASCAR Winston Cup reporters who see crew lists each week always make the same inquiry. "That’s not really that guy’s name is it?"

He’s used to the questions.

"I’ve heard it all my life," said Kyle Petty, who works as the tire specialist as well as the front tire changer on pitstops for Johnny Benson’s No. 10 Pontiac. "I’m used to it and try to have a lot of fun with it. Fans seem to get a kick out of it."

In 1960, in North Carolina, Richard and Linda Petty named their eldest son Kyle. In 1972, in Ohio, Steve and Rita Petty named their first-born son Kyle after the character on the Marcus Welby television show.

They may not have had the famous racing family in mind, but racing has been part of the Ohio Petty family as well. Steve was the vice president of club racing for the SCCA and before a family trip to the Charlotte NASCAR race, Rita wrote a letter to Kyle, the race car driver, asking him to meet her son.

"He came over by the gate where I was standing and we talked a while," said tire changer Kyle Petty. "He was pretty nice and we laughed about our names."

Young Kyle moved to Charlotte in the early 1990s and began his racing career working for Genzman Racing, Active Racing, Group III, Melling, Mattei, and even Petty Enterprises 1998.

"We didn’t talk too much about it when I worked there," said the tire changer. "I can do his signature, but I sign my last name differently.

Sometimes I get Kyle’s mail at the house and NASCAR even sent me a packet of his fan mail that got redirected. I took it to the track and gave it too him."

Kyle said he looks upon the name similarity with a mixture of humor and nuisance.

"It’s always been a weird subject," he said. "Sometimes I get tired of hearing that I am the "other" Kyle Petty. But it doesn’t bother me. I like my name."

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