Petty GMS Motorsports roster takes No.42 back to its roots

Chase Wilhelm | NASCAR Digital Media

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina – After a 39-year hiatus, No.42 is back under Petty’s fold.

New Petty Team GMS Motorsports Combines Richard Petty Motorsports’ Rich History with GMS Racing’s Investment in Two Full-Time NASCAR Cup Series Teams: Ty Dillon’s No.42 Chevrolet and Erik’s No.43 Chevrolet Jones. The investment was made by Maury Gallagher, owner of GMS Racing. The organization will be led by Team President Mike Beam.

Dillon’s new record, which was originally set to be No.94 before GMS Racing’s investment with Petty, rekindles a tradition that dates back to Lee Petty’s first NASCAR Cup Series start with No.42 in 1949 at Occoneechee Speedway in Hillsboro, North Carolina. .

Since then, Petty has had all but one of his 54 first-series victories with a No.42. Richard Petty, a seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and NASCAR Hall of Fame member, also spent time in No. 42 in addition to his usual No. 43, earning a pair of race wins during his stint.

“When I started racing in the Cup we had 42s and 43s,” Petty said at Tuesday’s unveiling at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. “It’s like the whole wheel has been put back in place. To me and our family it means a lot.

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Richard’s son, Kyle Petty, drove No 42 under Petty Enterprises in 69 races from 1980 to 1982. Aside from the return of No 42, it’s also a homecoming for Beam with the Petty family after serving as a team leader for Kyle during those years.

Kyle moved up to No.7 for the family team and later to No.21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford. From 1990 to 1996, Kyle returned to No.42, this time for former team owner Felix Sebates. Kyle had six wins in total there.

Kyle said the team originally had No.44 in mind to join Jones’ No.43, but ultimately decided to go the historic route.

“It has so much more history than the 44,” Kyle told “(No.) 44 was just another line in the progression. (No.) 45 has a lot of history with us obviously with Adam (Petty, Kyle’s late son). And then, to come full circle , Mike (Beam) works there is crazy because when Mike came to work there (Petty Enterprises) in ’81, I was 20 and he was 22 or 23 and it was the blind leading the blind. They just gave us a race car and let us race there in ’81, ’82 and ’83. Those were good years. It’s pretty cool to see them unveil that 42 car.

Chip Ganassi Racing was the most recent owner of the No.42, led by Ross Chastain in 2021 and Kyle Larson from 2014 to March 2020. Other drivers to have led the issue full time for Ganassi since the mid-2000s include Jamie McMurray and Juan Pablo Montoya. The number was inherited by Trackhouse Racing after Justin Marks bought Operation NASCAR from Ganassi, which released it for 2022 after Trackhouse chose to go with the No.1 for the new ride. by Chastain.

Beam, who had served as President of GMS Racing since December 2014, was more than willing to seize the opportunity to race No.42 given his own history with the Petty Group.

“Once we got the 42 it was a no-brainer for me,” Beam said. “I owe a lot to Kyle, Richard, Maurice (Petty) and the whole Petty family. My whole family is doing it.

For owner Gallagher, the number’s marketing benefits were another reason for the decision.

“If you just think of a pure business perspective – sponsors, brand awareness, Petty brand – it’s a really natural place to go with what we were trying to do here and announce to the Cup world,” said Gallagher.

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Even NASCAR Hall of Fame crew chief Dale Inman atop the stand of Richard and Team No.43 Petty Enterprises in 188 of his 200 career debut series wins and seven titles, did couldn’t hold back the joy that the homecoming number aroused. .

“Yeah, I’ve seen that number before,” Inman said with a smile, noting Hall of Fame Lee Petty’s success with # 42. “42 goes way back before 43 for me, but it’s been a long drive for the two of them, and it’s good to have it back.

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