When I was young boy growing up in Nashville, my father would take my brother and I to the Nashville Speedway. These were the early days of NASCAR and names like Richard Petty, David Pearson, Buddy Baker, Coo Coo Marlin and the local favorite from Franklin, TN – Daryl Waltrip were part of our regular conversation as young boys.

My brother Keith and I would often play out our favorite drivers on our bicycles in our neighborhood. Together with our other friends, we would pretend we were stock car drivers and race around in circles 200, 300 and sometimes 500 “laps” – referring to our own neighborhood Daytona 500.

Looking back it must have been terribly funny to see all the kids going round and round in circles on our bikes all afternoon, but time was slow in those days. Besides, it was always a thrill to come away with a victory and while my brother was always Buddy Baker – I always stayed with Number 43 – Richard Petty.

Last week, Richard Petty drove into Bristol in a brand new Ford just outside the Memorial Park to announce his involvement in a great community program with Food City. Mission Able is a charity that helps paralyzed veterans and Richard was speaking to local media to announce the new partnership with Food City.

With his trademark smile and lean tall frame, Richard Petty was as amiable as you would expect from the North Carolina native. Now in his mid-seventies, he’s still a smart iconic legend among NASCAR and he’s always surrounded by fans looking for an autograph.

Jared Bentley, our videographer did a great job capturing the press conference on video and I had a good time taking a few snapshots of the fans, media and crowd as Richard addressed a group of nearly 50 people.

However, I just couldn’t admit the fact I’d rode myself into a dizzy state as a youth trying to capture the neighborhood title as an idolized Petty fan.