I'm thrilled that it looks like Jimmie is *this* close to winning the championship for the third year in a row. I mean, seriously??? I admit that when I first became a fan it was mostly because he was hot in his fire suit while the racing came second, but I had no idea it would end up like this! I'm just so proud of my guy...even if he did marry someone who wasn't me...but it won't last. I know it. Anyday now! *fingers crossed*
BTW, did you know that Jimmie didn't even win Rookie of the Year? Nope, Ryan Newman did. How do I know? Because I'm awesome of course and know way too much about the man. Plus, that was the year I became a lifelong fan.
But that wasn't what I was going to talk about believe it or not. We all know Jimmie is awesome...that goes without saying. But if I had to pick the NASCAR driver I admire most in the world that would be Kyle Petty. He's just such a great man and does so much for the sport and the world. After his son Adam died racing in 2000, he didn't just quit while cursing the sport that took his son away from him. Instead he went back out and raced week after week using his son's number in tribute to him. He's not even that great of a racer...but just seeing him there week after week made my heart smile. Once in awhile I'd see him help out another driver even though he'd lose his position in the race (as bad or as good as that could be at the time). But he'd do whatever he could to help.
In fact, I modeled Jake from my books after him...not totally him, but just in the way his personality was much more important than his skills as a racer ever were.
Anyway, I wasn't sure what Kyle had been up to in the past few years until I saw an article about him today on NASCAR.com.
Basically it said he's been running a limited schedule while they test out different drivers and that he has a lot of things going on right now (including his awesome Victory Junction Camp he built in memory of his son) and that he wanted to race, but wasn't sure if he would. But what made me want to cry is this:
One minor issue is the use of the No. 45, which Petty began using as a tribute to Adam, who was killed at New Hampshire in 2000. If he remains at Petty Enterprises, the No. 45 would likely be used in only the races Petty drives.
But if he leaves for another team, the number won't go with him.
"The only thing I've asked is that if I'm not driving that number anymore, they put it on a shelf for a season and put some space between it before they use it again," Petty said.
Aww... It just brings tears to my eyes. I just can't imagine a world without Kyle Petty racing in it. The world needs more selfless men like him.
If you want to see what a great man* can do, check this out: Victory Junction Camp
(And his wife Pattie of course. I didn't forget her, I was just focusing on Kyle for the blog).