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Thread: Earnhardt vs. Petty

  1. #1
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    Earnhardt vs. Petty

    I don't want this to start into a hate thread or anything. But why is Dale Earnhardt so much more loved that Richard Petty? Petty's record is much much higher than Earnhardt's, he has a longer legacy in Nascar with Lee Petty. His family seems well liked. We will never know how good Adam could have been, but he never seemed to have the adoration by people that Jr. does. Like I said, I don't want this to be a bash thread, but I would like to hear some honest opinions.

    Jason

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    Dale did it every week in front of a live TV audience, Richard never had that chance.
    I'll see YOU at the races!

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    Hey Jason,

    That's a very interesting question and I believe Bruce has hit on a big part of the answer, but I believe there is a another piece of the puzzle in the personalities of the two guys.

    For one thing Richard just didn't, and doesn't, have any faults, he is an absolute sponsor's dream.

    You have never heard of the King blowing his cork, in public at least. He never was unkind to a race fan, would sign autographs 'til hell froze over.

    Never refused an interview with the press, would kiss any Baby, under two years old and always stopped to pet a puppy.

    On the other hand with the Intimidator you were never quite sure what you were going to get, he was like a stick of dynamite only you never knew how long the fuse was on any given day.

    You knew that hidden under that beguiling smile there was an explosion just waiting for someone, or something, to light the fuse. And that was true either on the the track or off.

    Dale had a streak of Foyt in his makeup, only he cntrolled it a little better than the Texan.

    He was one of the best, you knew it, he knew you knew it and he never wanted you to forget it. Woe be unto the guy who happened to forget it.

    Which number do you believe a driver most feared to see in his rear view mirror, a pretty Petty blue 43, or the coal black number 3.

    Love him or hate him Dale Earnhardt was the one the fans wanted to watch race ---- maybe because the guy's shy smile hid just a little bit of larceny.
    Dick Ralstin www.dickralstin.com

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    Registered User Sean O'Gorman's Avatar
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    Also keep in mind that Dale was still a front runner up until his final race, while Petty didn't really do much the final 8-10 years of his career.

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    I think this is partially a by-product of NASCAR's phenomenal fan base increase of recent years. Many probably know of Petty by association with NASCAR or stock car racing but don't understand or know of his true impact on the sport of racing itself, not just NASCAR. Earnhardt was a more recent vintage chap, with much more exposure so consequently the newer fans are more familiar with him. All sports have this. Ask you typical baseball fan about Mantle or Williams or Feller and they'll probably recognize the name(s) but they'll know more about Bonds or Sosa, or some other chemically enhanced athlete (could not resist ) pimped by ESPN, FOX, or their current brethren.

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    Insider Ken-Paul's Avatar
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    Dale Earnhardt was also a pioneer of self-promotion and self-marketing.

    And it worked.

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    Insider indyracefan's Avatar
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    ...as was Darrell Waltrip,.........and he also was one of the pioneers of it!
    My first Indy 500 was 1973, haven't missed one since 1981. To date I have attended 36 Indy 500's, and probably 100 or so other IndyCar races (CART & IRL).

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    Registered User Liz's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Dick Ralstin

    Dale had a streak of Foyt in his makeup, only he cntrolled it a little better than the Texan.

    He was one of the best, you knew it, he knew you knew it and he never wanted you to forget it. Woe be unto the guy who happened to forget it.

    Love him or hate him Dale Earnhardt was the one the fans wanted to watch race ---- maybe because the guy's shy smile hid just a little bit of larceny. [/B]
    Dick, at least for this Earnhardt fan, you hit the nail on the head. With my fan roots in open wheel, I have always been an A. J. Foyt fan; Dale struck such a chord with me because he was so much like my all time favorite A. J. Besides, I always preferred my heros with some rough edges and heaven knows Dale had 'em! I have an autographed picture of Dale from the early '80's where he's wearing a tee shirt that says "damn, I'm good" with that sh** eating grin...and he was absolutely right!

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    Funny, I agree and disagre with everything in this thread. Richard Petty is loved by NASCAR fans, and is still reconized as "The King" by even the newest of fans. Show up to some event and see if he doesn't have the same magic that he has always had. You'll still stand in line a long time for na autograph. What Dick said is extreamly true about Petty, he always had, and still has, time for the fans. He's stand and sign autographs, talk racing and take up as much time as ther was to take as long as a single fan was standing there. And sadly, as was pointed out, Adam never got the chance to show what he could have done. or could have been. He had the talent, and from what everybody that came into contact with him said, he was so much like Richard, in mannerism, that it was just like talking to a young Richard Petty for many years ago. Kyle even said that the "racing gene" passed over him and went to Adam.

    Yes, Dale did all of his while TV/media became big, and he was every bit as 'Big" as Richard was, but he was an entirely different type of person and personality. He had a huge heart and would help anyone. I met one of his cousins once, who happens to be a preacher. The church where he is pastor needed to have the parking lot paved. He told me that Dale came up to him (he was not a member of this church) and wrote him a check and said have it paved. He also said that if he told anyone who gave him the money, that he would unload one of his bulldozers and tear out all of the pavement. He did not want people knowing that it was him that had paid for it, did not want the publisity. Dale did allot of things like that, behind the scenes. He was basically a shy public figure. It is a testiment to Richatrd that he is still revered as he is, since most of his on track accomplishments were done well before the media era. This does not take anything away from Dale at all. They were/are both giants in the sport, both earned their places in it through their talent and accomplishments. They were from different generations. It would have been interesting to se how Dale Jr and Adam would have stacked up next to each other. Sadly, we wil never know how it might have been.

  10. #10
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    Re: Earnhardt vs. Petty

    Originally posted by Jason
    I don't want this to start into a hate thread or anything. But why is Dale Earnhardt so much more loved that Richard Petty? Petty's record is much much higher than Earnhardt's, he has a longer legacy in Nascar with Lee Petty. His family seems well liked. We will never know how good Adam could have been, but he never seemed to have the adoration by people that Jr. does. Like I said, I don't want this to be a bash thread, but I would like to hear some honest opinions.

    Jason
    Here's a possibility that occurred to me...

    ...perhaps Earnhardt seems more loved because of the way he left this world. On the other side, The King is still with us and was what we would call today a "field filler" for the last several years of his career, thus lessening the impact of his retirement. I don't say that last part to in any way diminish what Richard Petty did on the track or for NASCAR in general. But, I think that's part of why we see so much more of a public display of affection for Earnhardt than we do for Petty, and other posters have covered some of the other factors that go into it.
    Possibly many of us have taken this message board for granted. You will never know how good TrackForum is until you visit some of the "sewers" on the Internet that call themselves message boards. Thanks for having me. - Len Calinoff (2003/07/21)

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    It was the "intimidator" aura.

    Very analagous to the success of Harley Davidson.

    Lots of folks like to fantasize themselves as "bad boys."

    If you check the record, E started becoming nicer and mor image conscious only once he was being regularly beaten by Jeff Gordon.

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