Pemberton Joins Petty

Robin Pemberton just couldn’t stay out of the business for very long. Racing is too much in his blood.

But advantage Pemberton will have in his new position as vice president and general manager of Petty Enterprises is that he won’t have to be on the road as much as he was when he was a crew chief for Penske Racing and Rusty Wallace.

One of the main reasons he cited for leaving Penske Racing South in early December was that he wanted to spend more time with his wife, Lisa, and his two children, Bray and Briggs. In his new position, that will be a reality.

Bill Wilburn replaced Pemberton as crew chief for Wallace’s No. 2 Miller Lite Ford.

Pemberton comes to a Petty organization that has been in a slump the past few years in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. This past season, Petty teams finished 31st (John Andretti), 41st (Buckshot Jones) and 43rd (Kyle Petty) in the Winston Cup points standings.

Pemberton, whose career began at Petty Enterprises and who has served with some of the top drivers in the business – Kyle Petty, Mark Martin, Bobby Allison, Neil Bonnett and Wallace – has 23 career Winston Cup victories as a crew chief. He won five races with Martin, three with Petty (between 1992 and 1994 at Team SABCO) and 15 with Wallace, so he brings impressive credentials back to P.E.

“Bringing Robin to our race teams is another important move in taking Petty Enterprises to where we want it to be,” said CEO Kyle Petty in making the announcement. “One of the winningest crew chiefs in Winston Cup history joining one of the best engine builders with Mike Ege and bringing them together with all three of our race teams under one roof, we think these moves are going to be big for us.”

Pemberton is confident that he can help bring Petty Enterprises back to its glory days in the Winston Cup Series.

“I like being a winner, and Petty Enterprises is that kind of organization,” Pemberton said, referring to the organization built by seven-time Winston Cup and NASCAR Grand National champion Richard Petty. “I’m really excited about the opportunity to work with Kyle again, as a driver and as the guy in charge of the business. I’ve seen what John Andretti has done and the potential Buckshot Jones has.

“I believe any crew chief will tell you – give me good drivers and a good engine, and I can beat a lot of people. Those three drivers, along with the engines Mike Ege puts together, and the leadership Kyle and Richard both offer, hey, this is a great situation for not just me but for everybody here.

“I started my career here at Petty Enterprises, and now I have the opportunity to be a part of it continuing its resurgence. This is a great race team and it’s where I want to be for the rest of my career.”

Pemberton won four races with Wallace in 2000, but the two combined for only one victory in 2001 while finishing seventh in the Winston Cup points standings. Pemberton never finished higher than fourth in the standings with Wallace (in 1998) in any one season.

Andretti managed just one top-five and two top-10 finishes this past season in his No. 43 Cheerios Dodge. Jones’ failed to qualify for six races and his best finish was 16th, at Talladega in April.

Petty’s season was the toughest of them all. Driving the car that was meant for his late son Adam, Petty failed to qualify for 12 races and his best finish was 16th, in the Pennzoil 400 at Homestead in November.

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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, 2002

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