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Adam Petty in 2015

Adam Kyler Petty (born July 10, 1980) is a professional racing driver. He was, at the start of his career, the first fourth-generation driver in NASCAR history.

Early life

Petty was raised in High Point, North Carolina into stock car racing "royalty". The son of Kyle Petty, he was widely expected to become the next great Petty, following in the footsteps of his father, grandfather Richard, and great-grandfather Lee. He was the first known fourth-generation athlete in all of modern American motor sports to participate in the chosen profession of his generations.

Racing career

Early Career

Petty began his career in 1998, shortly after he turned 18, in the ARCA RE/MAX Series. Like his father Kyle, he won his first ARCA race, driving the #45 Pontiac at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Petty moved to NASCAR Busch Series full-time in 1999, driving the #45 Chevrolet. Petty finished sixth in his first Busch Series race at Daytona and had a best finish of fourth place, though he also failed to qualify for three of the Busch races. Petty finished the 1999 season 20th overall in points.

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All 4 generations of Pettys (circa late '90s)

Professional Career

2000

Petty ran a second Busch season in 2000, while giving him seven starts in the 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup Series, in preparation for a full Winston Cup campaign in 2001. He struggled early in the Busch season, but managed to qualify in his first attempt at Winston Cup during the DirecTV 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 2nd. He qualified 33rd and ran in the middle of the pack most of the day before his engine expired, forcing him to finish 40th. Adam didn't get to race alongside his father in his Winston cup debut race his great-grandfather watched; Kyle failed to qualify and eventually relieved an ill Elliott Sadler, but Adam was already out of the race. Lee Petty, Adam's great-grandfather, and 3-time NASCAR Champion, lived to see his Winston debut, but died just three days later. Adam did six more races, and finished 2nd in the Busch standings, with a win at Atlanta.

2001

Adam started 2001 by winning the pole for the Daytona 500, one of only a handful or rookies to do so throughout NASCAR history. He finished 13th and narrowly avoided Dale Earnhardt's fatal wreck. He nearly won Rockingham, but he was overtaken by Steve Park with 12 to go, finishing 2nd. He got his first win at Indy, finished 12th in points, and won Rookie of the Year honors.

2002

Adam had a breakthrough year in 2002, having six wins, including Rockingham, Texas, and Indy. He finished 9th in points.

2003

2003 was a mild year for Adam, with three wins, the main one being at Martinsville where he put 32 out of the 43 cars in the pack a lap down and won do to fuel strategy, and secured a 14th in the standings at the end of the season. Adam's father, Kyle Petty, announced retirement and retired once the season ended.

Kyle would takeover some of Petty Enterprises from his father Richard, and would be able to better boost his son's abilities. NASCAR also temporarily only had 3 car manufacturers, Ford, Dodge and Chevrolet; but Toyota would be coming into play soon.

2004

Adam started out winning the Daytona 500, in a special STP 1979 scheme (in a number switch with John Andretti, marking the first time a Petty has raced the #43 since 1992.). He had six more wins, including his first win at Talladega by .007 seconds and he also made the inaugural Chase for the Nextel Cup, and finished second in the standings to Kurt Busch.

2005

Adam had a weak year (by his standards.) He won one race, the Dickies 500 at Texas, and finished 17th in the standings. He did come in 2nd 4 times throughout the season, however. Kyle just told his son not to make the same mistakes he did, and to move on and return stronger than ever. Wells Fargo replaced Sprint as Adam's primary sponsor, although Sprint still sponsored the rear side-skirts of the car.

2006

2006 was Adam's best year by all considerable measurements. He won ten races, including the Daytona 500, and beat out Jimmie Johnson for the championship. This was also John Andretti's last year, he called retirement. Andretti would be replaced by Bobby Labonte, who would also take the Cheerios sponsor as well.

2007

Adam won 4 races, en route to a 5th place finish in points. It was a relatively good season for Adam, as he had many top 5 and top 10 finishes to make up for his lack of wins.

2008

Adam had five wins in 2008, including his third Daytona 500, and finished second in points to Jimmie Johnson. Marathon Gas became Adam's primary sponsor for 30 races. Wells Fargo (4 races) and Sprint (2 races) were also sponsors. His performance was enough to save Petty Enterprises.

2009

Adam's sponsorship became a mismatch, Marathon Gas sponsored 20 races, Wells Fargo for 10 and Sprint for 6. Adam won his fourth and final Daytona 500, avoiding a wreck with 3 to go. Adam had, including the Daytona 500, 3 wins in 2009, a relatively disappointing season. He finished 13th in points.

2010

Adam's 2010 sponsorship became hard to keep track of, Marathon Gas still had a majority sponsorship of 17 races, followed by Wells Fargo with 9 races, Sprint with 8 and Twisted Tea with 2 races. He won 6 races and came in 3rd in points behind Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch.

2011

2011 saw Marathon Gas and Sprint drop sponsorship and go to other drivers, leaving Wells Fargo with 26 races and Twisted Tea with 10 races. Adam won 3 races, coming 9th in points.

2012

Adam's 2012 sponsorship saw Twisted Tea become the main sponsor with 27 races, and Wells Fargo sponsor a minority of races at 9. Adam had a horrible season, winning 1 race at Infineon and finishing the season 21st in points.

2013

Adam had two wins, including the fall Texas race, and Homestead. He had 22 top 10s however, and finished 12th in points.

2014

Adam won four races in 2014, including both Martinsville races, the July Daytona race, and Homestead, en route to a championship, edging Kevin Harvick.

2015

Adam had three wins in 2015, including both road courses, and Kentucky, finishing fifth in the standings.

2016

2016 was a mild year for Adam, with two wins, those being Las Vegas and Darlington, the latter of which he ran a throwback like his 2000-2004 scheme. He remained consistent enough to finish second in the standings to Jimmie Johnson, however.

2017

2016 was a mild year for Adam, with two wins, those being Las Vegas and Darlington, the latter of which he ran a throwback like his 2000-2004 scheme. He remained consistent enough to finish second in the standings to Jimmie Johnson, however.

2018

In 2018, Adam and Aric Almirola switched rides, giving Adam the #43 and Aric the #45. Adam also took a 25% stake in Petty Enterprises, with his dad Kyle having 60% and grandfather Richard having 15%.

Personal Life Outside Of NASCAR

Adam has a very good relationship with his family. When his great-grandfather died, Adam was the first to publicly make an appearance, telling reporters Lee died peacefully and he'd always keep him in his heart. Adam dedicated his first win to his great-grandfather Lee, after he won at Indy in 2001. Taking long walks and going hunting with his grandfather Richard is one of Adam's favourite pastimes. His father Kyle acts as a mentor to the young driver, and with Adam soon to take some of Petty Enterprises ownership, his father is ready to mentor his son in the ways of management as well. Adam is still currently single as far as the public knows.