Richard Petty adjusting to life alone, says son
April 11, 2014, Staff report, NASCAR.com
Kyle Petty says 'it's been a lot harder and a lot tougher' for his father
Kyle Petty says his father, seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty, is coping as best he can after losing his wife, Lynda, last month.
''He's doing pretty good, he's used to going to the race tracks and being at the race tracks alone, but he's not used to being at home and being alone,'' Kyle Petty told the Associated Press on Friday. ''So I've stayed with him some, and my sisters have stayed some. It's just going to take time."
The King's son won the pole for Saturday's Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race in Long Beach, Calif., and addressed his father's reaction to the loss of Lynda Petty.
"They were together 57 years and even though he spent 50 of those 57 years on the road, according to him, at race tracks, it's been a lot harder and a lot tougher (than he thought)," Kyle Petty told AP. ''My mother had been really sick for 4 1/2, almost five years, so she fought pretty hard.''
Lynda Petty underwent treatment in 2010 for a brain tumor and Central Nervous System Lymphoma. Although she was eventually declared cancer free, health issues including mini strokes stemming from the treatment greatly reduced her physical activities in recent years.
The former Lynda Owens and NASCAR's all-time winningest driver were high school sweethearts, eventually marrying in 1958 just as Richard Petty's racing career got underway. She was 17 and still in high school; he was 21 and worked alongside his father, Lee, and brother, Maurice, in what was to become Petty Enterprises.
With her husband competing in as many as 40 or more races a year across the country, and women restricted from being in the NASCAR garage at the time, Lynda Petty remained home to run the Petty household, which eventually grew to include four children -- son Kyle and daughters Sharon (Petty) Farlow, Lisa (Petty) Luck and Rebecca (Petty) Moffit.