LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Richard Petty is spending his weekends at home mourning the death of his wife instead of his familiar spot at the racetrack.
Lynda Petty died last month after battling cancer for several years. She was 72.
"He's doing pretty good, he's used to going to the racetracks and being at the racetracks alone, but he's not used to being at home and being alone," said his son, NASCAR announcer Kyle Petty. "So I've stayed with him some, and my sisters have stayed some. It's just going to take time. They were together 57 years and even though he spent 50 of those 57 years on the road, according to him, at race tracks, it's been a lot harder and a lot tougher (than he thought)."
Lynda Petty helped start the Racing Wives Auxiliary, a benevolent fund for injured members of the NASCAR community. The group was formed by the wives of drivers, crews and sponsors.
Known as The King, Richard Petty won Cup championships in 1964, 1967, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975 and 1979. In 1,184 starts, Petty had a record 200 wins, 712 top-10 finishes and 123 poles. He had a record 513 consecutive starts from 1971-89.
Kyle Petty said his mother's death has been tough on the family.
"My mother had been really sick for 4½, almost five years, so she fought pretty hard," he said Friday at the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race "He's doing pretty good."
Kyle Petty won the pole for the celebrity race in Long Beach. He will start about 40 seconds behind the rest of the field in Saturday's race because he's a professional, even though he has been retired since 2008.