Rather than just coincidence, certain events seem to be products of destiny. Retired NASCAR driver and current NBC commentator Kyle Petty experienced one of those moments, the intersection of sadness and joy, on Thursday.
Two tweets, one to a handsome young man and the other to a beautiful newborn girl, narrated the day for NASCAR’s first family.
Adam Petty, 19, died on the track on May 12, 2000
Adam Petty is the eldest son of Kyle Petty, himself the son of all-time NASCAR Cup Series race winner Richard Petty and grandson of racing pioneer Lee Petty. He died on May 12, 2000, at age 19 from injuries sustained in an Xfinity Series training crash at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Petty drives Petty Enterprises No. 45 Chevy less than a season and a half before the tragedy in the Busch 200 race week. Subsequent investigation determined that the throttle had stopped opening, and the car had hit the wall of Turn 3 almost hitting.
Kyle Petty took No. 45 Chevy for the remainder of the season and moved to that number from 2001-08 in the Cup Series. The number was informally retired for several years before Kurt Busch arrived at 23XI Racing for the 2022 season. The Petty family gave the blessing of putting the ‘45’ in the Toyota Cup Series.
Kyle Petty celebrates the anniversary of Adam’s death
When scrolling through NASCAR-related Twitter accounts on Thursday, a tweet from Kyle Petty jumped out. Inside is a photo of son Adam Petty standing in front of his racing car. The picture is rich in color, but what is fascinating is the smile of the driver.
Longtime racing writer Lee Spencer, one of the few people in NASCAR to notice the post on social media, tweeted, simply, “The Smile!” One does not have to be a racing diehard to recognize the resemblance to the smiles of previous generations in the Petty family.
Kyle Petty wrote: “This is how I always see Adam in my heart and in my dreams. A racetrack nearby and with a smile on his face. Not just now, I miss him every day.”
The birth brings Joy to Kyle Petty’s family
The photo on Twitter said it all, but Austin Petty added, “Now on all days.”
Petty, whose brother Adam died exactly 22 years ago, welcomed a baby girl, Ellington Montgomery Petty, into the world on Thursday. Petty, 40, is one of three children from Kyle Petty’s first marriage. He and wife Sarah have two more children, sons Stonewall and Rhett, according to NASCAR.com.
When it comes to the anniversary of Adam’s death, it’s a strange reminder of the circle of life.
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