Richard Petty Back in High Gear

Brian WaughCorrespondent IJanuary 20, 2009

All good things take time and like mom's homemade soup, this one's going taste pretty good. The old GEM has become the new Richard Petty Motorsports, and with four cars in the stable, the mix is a good start for this new team.

The way George Gillette has brought forward this new team by purchasing a valued and storied enterprise like the Petty team is not unlike the way he has approached his other sports holdings.

He purchased the Montreal Canadiens from the Molson family when no other Canadian buyer would step up to the plate. He knew, as an American that he was buying not just a Canadian hockey franchise but an institution.

He carefully comes into the Canadian market placing the hockey people in charge of the hockey decisions and gradually wins the approval and trust of the Montreal people.

Now as he has entered the world of Premier League soccer and the life of owning a stake in Liverpool FC, he found it a little harder to win over the trust of the footballers, and their fans, across the pond.

In NASCAR, the Petty acquisition is in the same class. Richard and George have struck a friendship that has worked its way to this time where a great champion and icon is essentially bought out and Richard has several items on his list of deal breakers that must be met.

The name Petty, the Petty colour, and the Petty No. 44 and 43, not to mention the "no alcohol sponsors on the No. 44 and 43".

George Gillette is smart man and a great business guy too. He knows Richard Petty's value in the big track of NASCAR and this is going suit him well in the coming years.

There may be some reservations on the choice of driver choice on all of the 4 drivers but the slate seems to set for Daytona. This author is included among those who will say that 4 who start this year for Petty will not be the same four who finish and their will be one in the Chase.