Level Cross, NC -- Back in October 1979, Richard Petty gave WFMY News 2's Lee Kinard a tour of Petty Enterprises.
The company looked a lot different 28 years ago. Petty employed about 25 people. He says six people went on the road for races, serving as truck drivers and pit crew workers. The 1979 budget was about a million dollars. Computers didn't measure things to the millisecond or megabyte.
It was a rare look at how stock cars get built from the ground up. Petty also shared many stories about his life in racing. Did you know how the Petty's settled on the "Petty Blue" paint scheme? Do you know how Richard and Kyle's pit crew could tell their cars apart when they were painted the same... sort of.
It was a lesson in racing then and today it serves as a look back to NASCAR's early days.
So check out the following links.
The Metal Shop: It took eight to nine weeks to build a car from start to finish. So the Petty employees worked on several at once in a mini-assembly line fashion. Richard shows us the beginning of the action.
The Engine Shop: One engine cost $12,000 - $14,000 brand new. So the crews tried to re-use as many parts as possible. Richard showed Lee what they did to cut costs.
The Paint Shop: Kyle's car got scratched up the weekend before. So Richard and Lee talked about paint while two employees sandpapered the finish on Kyle's car. Richard also talks about Kyle's beginnings in the sport.
The Transporter: A mini-repair shop on wheels. If you thought NASA packed up a space shuttle with a lot of stuff, you'll love to hear Richard explain how many spare parts they carry to races.
The Build-Up Room: Employees put the final touches on a Monte Carlo.
The Trophy Room: King Tut's tomb may not have shined as bright as this place. But for race fans, the trophies are as valuable as Tut's treasure. Not all of the King's (Richard, not Tut) spoils of victory are here. He kept some at his house. But they do hold special memories for Richard.