Being a reporter in Southern Mi for about 12 years, I’ve covered NASCAR at Michigan International Speedway, more than a few times, from infield broadcasts, to pit side coverage. One of the perks to being in Media, is MIS will kiss your butt, free food, and drinks all day, air conditioned media centers (computers, and newspapers provided), and great access to all the drivers, both the Friday, and Saturday before the race.
MIS always hosts a Fathers Day Race, and I was covering the 2003 Sirius Satellite Radio 400, and it was a rainy Friday afternoon, and none of the other media, would even step foot out of the comfy media center stocked with pop, water, and do-nuts. I was also the news director for 3 stations, so I was on a tight schedule, I needed to get an interview with some drivers, then head back to the station to edit the audio, but like I said it was raining, all the drivers are in there tricked out tour busses, playing Play Station, and unless your ESPN, you don’t go knocking on there doors. So I was just walking around aimlessly in the rain, when I noticed a tall skinny dude, dressed all in black, with a massive black cowboy hat, with a huge silver hat band, with feathers, I knew immediately who it was. If you know anything about NASCAR, you know there is an actual King, of NASCAR, and that is Richard Petty, the winningest driver in History.
I walked up to Petty with my ratty mic, and recorder, and asked if he had a few minutes to talk, he surprised me, and said of course. He was outside “havin’ a dip,” that’s country for chewing tobacco. He wasn’t racing, but his son Kyle was, we talked about father/son relationships, and how much advice he gave Kyle, and he said, “Sometimes, Kyle didn’t always want to hear the old man’s advice.”
He was as smooth as Burt Reynolds, and slick as Tom Selleck. He was actually very nice, but to me intimidating as hell, I had been watching this guy since I was like 5, I forgot to mention I grew up right next to the track, and have been to almost every race since 1979. I also had achance to interview Kyle Petty, but that's a whole different story, he's just as niceas is dad though.
Sadly I didn't get a picture of Richard, I snapped one of his son Kyle, I alo included one that got taken of me that weekend as well. I did include the actual interview though, enjoy.