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Friday, October 08, 2010

"Petty Blue": A Can't Miss for NASCAR Fans

I’ve been a NASCAR fan most of my life, so I know about the legends who made the sport what it is.

But many new fans only know Richard Petty as the man in the cowboy hat. They don’t know anything about his racing career and how he came to be known as the King. And they certainly don’t know how important the Petty family was to the creation of the sport.

Thankfully, CMT Films and NASCAR Media Group have teamed up to show us the history of racing’s first family in an excellent new film so that new fans can catch up and longtime fans can learn new aspects of the story.

“Petty Blue” starts out with NASCAR’s first king, Lee Petty, the family patriarch, and then takes us through the generations—Richard, Kyle and Adam. Obviously, Richard is the focus, but each generation gets its turn in the spotlight, as we hear from family members, NASCAR officials and other racing legends.

Probably the best thing about the film is that it doesn’t shy away from the bad stuff. This is the story of the Pettys—warts and all. I don’t think I’ve ever heard such frank talk from Richard and Kyle about what went wrong with Kyle’s career. And although the demise of Petty Enterprises is glossed over fairly quickly, it is discussed.

The star of the film, however, is not any of the racers. It’s Lynda, Richard’s wife. She probably gets more camera time than anyone else and she makes the most of it. She’s as blunt as they come about her family and racing, which makes for some pretty entertaining soundbites. But it also keeps the film grounded in realism.

And speaking of realism, make sure you have some tissues ready for the segment on Adam (Kyle’s son) because it’s a little difficult to watch. But you’ll come out of it having the utmost respect for Kyle and his wife, Pattie. I’ve always been a fan of Kyle’s, but I have to admit that I’m an even bigger one now.

If you’re a NASCAR fan, you can’t miss “Petty Blue.” It’s a wonderful look at the family that helped make it the sport you love in the first place…

“Petty Blue” premieres Friday, October 8th at 8 p.m. with encores Saturday, October 9th at 8 p.m. and Sunday, October 10th at 8 p.m. on CMT. It’s also available now on DVD…

Photo Credit: Ed Rode/CMT