15-time Martinsville champ Richard Petty gives his debutant grandson the ultimate route recommendation in the middle of his debut season


Richard Petty's grandson Thad Moffitt has a lot at stake heading into Martinsville! And why shouldn't it be like that? After all, the half-mile track not only witnessed the rise of the Petty family legacy, but was also dominated by the number 43 for an entire decade in the 1970s.

As the 23-year-old looks to begin his first full-time season in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series for Faction46, he will certainly be looking for a way to honor his family's undisputed dominance. Even his grandfather seems to be supporting him in this conquest, as The King gave Moffitt some tips and tricks to get started and even cited the example of former NASCAR driver Jimmy Hensley to teach the newcomer.

Richard Petty praises racer Jimmy Hensley for his Martinsville skills


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While Hendrick Motorsports may claim the throne of Martinsville dominance in modern times, in the 1970s that seat belonged to Richard Petty. After winning his first race at Martinsville in 1960, The King dominated the half-mile circuit like no other driver, bringing his tally of Martinsville victories to 15 by the end of the decade. During that time, Petty picked up victories in Plymouths, Dodges and Chevrolets , which made him the master of speedway in every sense and way.

With Thad Moffitt now looking for a solid result at Martinsville in his debut, The King took his fans and his grandson on a trip down memory lane to understand the key to victory in the Fortress. He explained, “The deal in Martinsville slows down corner entry. Jimmy Hensley probably got around Martinsville as well as anyone I've ever seen. And the way he drove the track was he didn't go straight into the corner, he was just a little bit further out and then came back to the inside instead of hitting it and going in too deep.

According to Petty, a line that is too low in Martinsville will result in the driver having a bad outcome. To counteract this, Hansen took a broader line whenever possible. Petty added: “He made a slightly larger arc so that his bow reached to the middle of the corner, as low as he could hit. But when you race with people you have to be careful. Because when you go out to make a turn, they jump in. He didn't make a really big one back then, but he made a pretty big one all by himself. And it also slowed the car down without braking as hard.”

While Richard Petty's advice was as sound as can be, Thad Moffitt also demonstrated his ability to analyze without bias when he clarified: “It’s a situational deal, right? I mean, when you're competing against someone, you can't leave the door open so much. But yes.” Visibly, this analysis left his grandfather smiling ear to ear with pride. Petty motioned for Moffitt to leave less space near other riders and concluded, “Give them this much, not that much.”

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Although Martinsville was like a second home to Richard Petty, there was one aspect of his speedway victories that bothered him. Apparently the grandfather clock given to the winner of the Martinsville race has been annoying the Petty family for as long as they can remember!

The Petty family suffered from their success in Martinsville

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Since 1964, Martinsville Speedway winners have been awarded grandfather clocks as the ultimate honor. While the award itself is very detailed and represents great value to the race winners, the Petty family had a pretty lucky problem. There were just too many trophies in the late 70s! During Richard Petty's 15 victories at Martinsville, the family had accumulated an arsenal of watches, and perhaps all the ticking got too much for them!


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With nowhere to store the watches, the Petty family reportedly decided to distribute the trophies within the larger family. King's son, Kyle Petty, was quoted by the Fayetteville Observer as saying, “These things are everywhere now. When me and my sisters Sharon, Rebecca and Lisa were growing up, they were everywhere in the house, even in the bathrooms. We have some, other watches have disappeared here and there.”

Even Dale Inman, Richard Petty's legendary crew chief who was responsible for 193 of his 200 victories, received one as a gift from the family. Kyle Petty concluded: “Dale Inman has one, some cousins ​​have one. You can only put them in so many places if you have 15 of them, you know what I mean?”


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Although Richard Petty retired and never got the chance to bring home another grandfather clock, the question remains, can Thad Moffitt continue the Petty family's dominance at Martinsville Speedway?