Shop Fantasy Central Golf Guide Email Travel Subscribe SI About Us  
  U.S. SPORTS
  scoreboards
baseball S
pro football S
col. football S
pro basketball S
m. college bb S
w. college bb S
hockey S
golf plus S
tennis S
soccer S
olympics 2000
motor sports
women's sports
more sports
 WORLD SPORT  

EVENTS
 Sportsman of the Year
 Heisman Trophy
 Swimsuit 2001

CENTERS
 Fantasy Central
 Inside Game
 Multimedia Central
 Statitudes
 Your Turn
 Message Boards
 Email Newsletters
 Golf Guide
 Cities
 Work in Sports

CNNSI.com GROUP
 Sports Illustrated
 Life of Reilly
 Television
 SI Women
 SI for Kids
 Press Room
 TBS/TNT Sports
 CNN Languages

COMMERCE
 SI Customer Service
 SI Media Kits
 Get into College
 Sports Memorabilia
 TeamStore

SI Flashback: A bittersweet debut

Fourth-generation Petty joins Winston Cup circuit

Click here for more on this story
Click here for a larger image Adam Petty made his Winston Cup debut three days before great-grandfather Lee Petty died. George Tiedemann  

By Mark Bechtel

Issue date: April 10, 2000

Sports Illustrated Flashback

There are bad omens, and then there's the litany of maladies Adam Petty endured in the first two days of preparation for his Winston Cup debut, at Texas Motor Speedway. At the start of the week he missed his flight to Dallas; when he finally arrived his luggage was nowhere to be found, nor was the Cadillac that was supposed to meet him. (A cab to the hotel and a 4:30 a.m. luggage delivery by the airline remedied those difficulties.) "I was, like, Could this week get any worse?" he says.

He got his answer the next day when he and his father, Kyle, appeared for an autograph session at a Sprint PCS store near Fort Worth and had to hunker down in the back room when a pair of tornadoes blew through the area, killing four people and doing $450 million in damage. Understandably, the early-week events had Petty questioning his luck for the weekend. "I was hoping to come down here and run good," he says. "By then I was hoping just to qualify."

On Friday he got his wish, qualifying 33rd in the 43-car field. This time Kyle wasn't so lucky: He ran the 44th fastest lap. That meant when Adam became the first fourth-generation driver in NASCAR history, his dad -- and best friend -- wasn't on the track with him. "I'm sad for him. It really upsets me," said Adam on race morning, sounding more like a parent than the 19-year-old that he is. "I hope he doesn't get down on himself."

Analysis & Stories
SI's Mark Bechtel:
Petty had great potential 
CNNSI.com's Donovan: Hitting too close to home 
CNNSI.com's Smithson:
Lost Generation 
Local Look:
He's only 19, remember  
SI Flashbacks
A Bittersweet Debut 
Championship Bloodline 
Interactive
Reactions: Goodbye, Adam 
10 Questions: From 2/15/00 
Multimedia
Map: New Hampshire International Speedway 
Multimedia Memories: Remembering Adam Petty 
 

But the bad luck continued on Sunday, after Kyle had picked up a ride in midrace when Elliot Sadler bruised his shoulder in a wreck. As Kyle was changing into his racing gear, the engine in Adam's car blew, and the two just missed racing together.

When Adam, who finished 39th, returned home to Trinity, N.C., on Monday, he moved into his own 2,200-square-foot, three-bedroom house. "It's just far enough from my parents so they can't see when the lights are on," he says. So maybe, in the end, there was a silver lining: Adam is no longer the only Winston Cup driver to live with his parents and share a bedroom with his brother.

Issue date: April 10, 2000

 
Related information
Stories
Adam Petty dies in crash at NIHS
SI Flashback: Championship bloodline
Multimedia
Kyle and son Adam talk about the lofty expectations facing Adam in his NASCAR debut.
  • Start(1.54 M)
Visit Multimedia Central for the latest audio and video
Search our site Watch CNN/SI 24 hours a day

Sports Illustrated and CNN have combined to form a 24 hour sports news and information channel. To receive CNN/SI at your home call your cable operator or DirecTV.


CNNSI Copyright © 2001
CNN/Sports Illustrated
An AOL Time Warner Company.
All Rights Reserved.

Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.