Temperatures are rising and there is more sunshine each day as the calendar shifts from winter to spring. The change in season unofficially signals the start to racing season for various racetracks and series all across the country, including the National Championship Racing Association season opener at 81 Speedway. While Jeremy Petty and the JPI crew will be competing in the season opener this weekend in Park City, Kansas, the excitement of racing season started earlier this year when Petty’s uncle, Jim Petty, was inducted into the 2016 81 Speedway Hall of Fame. Jim joins Jeremy’s grandfather Jack Petty in the 81 Speedway Hall of Fame, who was inducted in the inaugural class in 2000. “It just goes to show how involved our family is in racing,” said Jeremy. “This really is a family affair. Grandpa (Jack) raced cars, my dad drove, I’ve had various other family members who drove. My uncle (Jim) worked on the other side with writing and photography. “Jim has been a big supporter of mine since I started racing,” he continued. “He would take pictures at the track or for hero cards. If there was someone I wanted to get connected with for sponsorship or what have you, he would do what he could to make that happen. It’s good to see him recognized publicly for something he has done for me privately for years.”
Jim worked in just about every position possible at 81 Speedway, including concessions, printing pictures for the track, setting up sponsorship, and creating promotions. His experience extends outside of 81 Speedway, however, as he wrote articles and took photographs for National Speed Sport News in the early 1980s and has been involved in various racing museums, events, racing history groups, and other tracks throughout the Midwest. “Thanks for all of the congratulations from all over the USA on so many posts for being inducted into the 81 Speedway Hall of Fame Saturday night,” Petty said in a Facebook post not long after the induction. “When I think of all of the thousands of people that have raced, officiated, turned wrenches and the many other chores that it takes to put on the races, I am truly humbled. I've been going out there since there was a track there in the mid 50's. I started working at 81 Speedway when I was 9 years old selling popcorn, peanuts and Pepsi's.I worked on a few race cars at the speedway but realized that my true passion was in photography, publishing and promoting. I've had a lot of my racing photos published in several publications. I wrote a lot of articles that were published. Not just from 81 Speedway but from quite a few different tracks. The last 15 years or so I have come to enjoy promoting the racing community with a big emphasis on 81 Speedway.” Jim is still a regular at 81 Speedway and Jeremy will be competing there later this year, as well as several other tracks throughout the rest of the season. Keep an eye on JeremyPetty.com and Jeremy Petty Inc on Facebook for the full schedule!