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Drivers Meeting- Chicagoland Speedway – July 12, 2008 July 12, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, NASCAR, Trackside.
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Chicagoland Speedway logoImage via WikipediaThe driver’s meeting here at Chicagoland Speedway was full of star power and there was some really moving moments involving the “King” Richard Petty. I’ve seen moments with drivers and retirements announced at the driver’s meeting and the drivers stood for a standing ovation -and clapped heartily. But this was special.

NASCAR President Mike Helton marked Petty’s 50th year in NASCAR as he addressed the drivers. “On behalf of everybody in the industry,” Helton told Petty from the Microphone, “Congratulations on your 50th anniversary. We hope you’ll be around to celebrate 55 or 60 or 70 of them and thanks for being all you’ve been to NASCAR and all the people around it and to reminding us that there’s a lot to be thankful for in the fans who are the heart and soul of what we do.”

Helton, who does not throw compliments around, continued, “You’re the King – you’re the Icon of our sport. I don’t know what else to say – we have a token, it cannot ever ….give back the full appreciation of everything that you’ve done for our sport – the standards that you’ve set, the records that you’ve given this crowd – the drivers to shoot for – some of which can never be accomplished – but if you’d step up here –

Petty stepped to the front of the room and was presented with a crystal bowl. Not only did the drivers stand and give him an ovation there was loud cheering and hollering of approval. It was pretty impressive and I wish you all could have been there.

Petty stepped to the microphone and looked straight at the drivers and crew chiefs, “I appreciate what you are doing now ’cause I am making a living out of racing now – that I probably didn’t make back when I started ok?,” he said. ” So its up to you all to carry it forward from here. I always told them, I said, Richard Petty was maybe where everybody came to. I didn’t do anything by myself. I had all the people, the sponsors the NASCAR deal. Again to redo that whole deal – without them fans guys – you all take time for the fans. They the ones that buy the products that we sell. The reason we’re here is because of the fans. Not because of NASCAR…I hate to beat on that drum deal but always remember that you know we are not alone the fans is what makes it work. Again I just want to say thank you for all the support that everybody’s done for me over the years and I’m going to still stay around and aggravate you all ok?”

More hollering and loud cheering from the drivers and crew chiefs.

Richard Petty is indeed special.

Speed Rules –
Pit Road Speed 45 MPH
Caution Car Speed 55 MPH
Pit Road Speed Begins – 210 feet before the first pit box
Pit Road Speed Ends – 75 feet past the last pit box
Minimum Speed: 34.90 MPH

There were no questions from the drivers and we prayed. I asked Race Director David Hoots if he had seen the weather radar and he said the storm system was passing us and we’d be good for the race. I’m banking on his assessment. It looks like good news and Hoots aught to know. “Have a great race,” I told him. Up to the tower he went.

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