A huge announcement coming out of NASCAR has sent shockwaves through the nation. For the first time in NASCAR’s 72 year history, there won’t be a member of the Petty family actively participating in the sport.
On December 1st, it was announced that, effective immediately, long-time team owner Maury Gallagher had purchased the majority interest in Richard Pretty Motorsports. Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings reports indicate that the deal was worth $19.1 million.
Petty family patriarch Lee Petty competed in the first Cup Series race at Charlotte in 1949, though he finish in 19th place due to an accident. Lee raced virtually full time, earning 54 victories and three championships, until serious injuries led to him ending his Hall of Fame career in 1963.
By that point, Lee’s oldest son Richard had already made a name for himself in the sport, and was on his way towards his own Hall of Fame career, which garnered him 200 victories and seven championships.
Near the end of Richard’s racing career, his son Kyle followed in his footsteps, winning eight races between his debut in 1979 and his retirement in 2008. Despite choosing to retire from racing, Kyle Petty stays close to the sport as a well-regarded TV commentator.
Adam Petty — Lee’s great grandson, Richard’s grandson, and Kyle’s son — was tragically killed during an Xfinity Series practice session in May of 2000 at Loudon, N.H. when he was just 19 years old. He was likely poised to move up into the Cup Series within the following two to three years, had he not passed away.
After retiring in 1992, Richard Petty turned his full attention into team ownership. While it began as a solo venture, he soon joined with Ray Evernham and George Gillett, and later with Andrew M. Murstein, a New York businessman. The team was renamed Richard Petty Motorsports in 2008.
The man who purchased the majority interest, Maury Gallagher, is from Las Vegas. He came into NASCAR with the Camping World Truck Series in 2013, and has been full time in the series for the past nine years. Gallagher has had 41 victories from 14 different drivers, with his GEM team winning the 2016 title with Johnny Sauter and the 2020 title with Sheldon Creed.
Auto Week reports: “The sale from Petty to Gallagher includes the two RPM charters for use in 2022. It remains uncertain whether the new GMS team will retain Erik Jones, last year’s RPM driver, or Gallagher will bring his own driver. Details of the sale are expected to be announced next week in Charlotte.”