PETTY: Well, I probably am the most adventurous driver even outside the sport. We set a world record in an offshore power boat going from Tampa to Miami last year. We also set a world record for circling the earth in an airplane (Concorde SST) last August. We broke the old record by more than an hour. Then I head for the track on Fridays. It's super adventurous because what I do lets me do alot of other adventurous things. People think that I have a high level of adventure and fear in my daily diet and would have no problems doing even scarier things.
PETTY: I have a lot of pressure on me from the time I get to the track. Pressure is not always a bad thing. It drives a lot of people. But I also like to meet the fans. And that's always an adventure. Many think that I'm off the wall, and that brings a lot of off the wall people my way! I meet some great ones! My job also allows me to do a lot of the adventurous things I WANT. Like ride motorcycles cross country for the Charity Ride Across America in May. That was an adventure two years in a row. We'll try to do it again in 1997. Lastly is the obvious. Being in a race car is kind of wild. But it really gets to be the same old thing. I've been driving since 1979 on these speedways. It's a job just like any other job like being a plumber, engineer or manager. It's what I do. The rewards are not the money. It's winning.
PETTY: Not many. It's still a 29-31 race season. We go to the same tracks year after year with a few new ones thrown in every once in a while like Phoenix, New Hampshire and now Texas. I've had about 10 different crew chiefs since 1979 and a lot of personnel changes in the pit and support crews under me. I've been with Team SABCO for eight years now and I'm the only driver this team has ever had. But we'll be splitting at the end of the year to see if that will help each of us get back to winning again. So next year will be pretty interesting in its change. That will undoubtedly be the biggest change I will have gone through in the last 8 years. Driving a race car really never changes!
PETTY: Sure I do. This is a great life and I'm a part of a team. I look forward to making my contribution and hope we can land back in victory lane. Winning a NASCAR event is an incredible thing. Some drivers never get to victory lane in their career, but they still head for each race with that flicker of hope that this may be their weekend to shine. And that's what keeps me going each week.
PETTY: Bringing a smile to a child's or handicapped person's face.
PETTY: I ride the Harley. I read a lot and play with my three kids Adam, 16; Austin, 14 and Montgomery Lee, 11.
PETTY: I've got a support team. I have to rely on them as much as they rely on me. When we're at the track, they know I'm risking my life trying to earn position after position. And I rely on them to first build me a good car, and second to not lose me any positions during the pit stop. Also if they gain positions for me during a fast pit stop, I need to keep them by driving as hard as I can if I have the car to do it. This is a team in the purest sense of the word.
PETTY: Certainly, you don't want to be counted out as a bonafied contender. No one in sports looks forward to the day where they have to face the music that they are no longer good enough to make the team. There will not be but one big job change for me. That will be next year. I don't know what team I'll be going with; who my crew chief will be; who my new sponsor will be. But that doesn't scare me. It's just something interesting to look forward to.
I am scared for the kids out there who will not be celebrity race car drivers. They are discounting the importance of a good basic education. I don't want to sound old fashioned, but I am so glad I learned and mastered the basics of math, algebra and writing to name a few subjects. I use them every day. Especially the math. I apply it all the time in this sport. While I'm driving, I'm figuring things like mileage and lap counts to pit stops and complicated strategies based off of these to help the crew chief out. I'm SCARED that the kids out there are thinking this stuff will not be neccesary in the future. I see many who think this and stay glued to MTV all the time. The jobs won't be getting easier. With corporate downsizing, more people out of college will have many more demands on them with regard to what they can do and handle all at the same time. It's going to get tougher I think.
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