Petty rebranded GMS as Legacy Motor Club ahead of the 2023 campaign.
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Richard Petty’s role in the NASCAR community – and his old team – has changed in recent months.
Back in November, it was announced that Jimmie Johnson would return to NASCAR as a part-time driver and co-owner, joining what was then known as Petty GMS. The outfit rebranded as Legacy Motor Club, and now, Petty is its ambassador, saying Saturday that he hasn’t had much of a say in the direction of the team since another seven-time Cup Series champion joined the ownership group.
Asked if he was worried about it, Petty said, “Yeah, he is. Because I have done things my way, not too well recently, but as time goes on, things change in the world. Then it was probably time for a change.
“Jimmie doesn’t necessarily look at what’s going to happen this year, but he’s trying to lay a foundation for four or five years where he’s still young enough to be around for a long time.”
Petty has been a big name in NASCAR practically since the sport’s inception in 1949 until this season. His father created Petty Enterprises, which later became Richard Petty Motorsports in 2009. When the race team merged with GMS Racing, he headed Petty GMS in 2021 with Maury Gallagher as majority owner last season.
“When we joined GMS, we had to merge with them. When Jimmie comes in, his crowd doesn’t take over the racing part, they take over the front office with sponsorships, appearances, and all that stuff. That’s controlled by Jimmie’s crowd,” Petty said. “That’s something I’ve never had to put up with, I guess. I still do my own thing. But then I do a lot for our new team.”
Although both are the only seven-time Cup Series champions, Petty, 85, and Johnson, 47, are quite different. Petty said, “His way of running things and my way of running things are probably a little different. We probably agree on about 50% of what’s really down.”
However, the 85-year-old’s thoughts and feelings seem to surprise Johnson, who told Dan Gelston of the Associated Press, “He didn’t express them to me, at first. Honestly, there are a lot of moving pieces to this. Business decisions have been made between Mr. Gallagher and the Petty family before I ever arrived. Those are details that are not my place to say.
“But a lot of what Richard is talking about is based on business decisions that he and his family have made and doesn’t involve me.”