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Richard Petty to return at Richmond, first race since wife Lynda’s death

Apr 24, 2014, 5:21 PM EDT

Richard Petty AP

According to driver Aric Almirola, team owner Richard Petty is expected to attend Saturday’s NASCAR Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway.

It will be the first time that Petty has been at a racetrack since the death of his beloved wife Lynda on March 25.

“I think being back at the race track is going to be good for our race team and good for him,” Almirola said of one of the first five inductees into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in a Ford Racing media release. “I think it’ll be good medicine.

“When something like that happens you kind of want to hide a little bit and just get your feelings straight, but he’s been by the shop and been in good spirits and I think he’s doing very well considering.”

Almirola has spent a considerable amount of time with Richard Petty over the last four weeks, trying to keep his spirits up and just being there as more of a friend, rather than just as a driver or team employee.

“We’re looking forward to getting him back at the race track and getting him back into race mode,” Almirola said. “I’ve spent quite a bit of time with him over the last few weeks since Miss Lynda passed, and it’s gonna be great to have our leader back at the race track.

“He’s the name and the face of our company and all the guys on the race team, myself included, look up to him and enjoy having him around at the race track and having him inside the hauler and talking to us after practice and getting his perspective on what he sees with other race cars and with our race cars throughout practice.

“I’m excited about having him back at the race track and, like Trent (crew chief Trent Owens) said, I think it’s going to be good medicine for (Richard).”

Petty, 77, has been slowly preparing himself to return to the racetrack.

“He comes to about 95 percent of the races every year, so for him to take the two or three weeks off that he’s taken, I know he’s itching to get back to the race track,” Almirola said. “He’s been watching the practices and watching qualifying and watching the races and (Petty’s former crew chief and cousin) Dale Inman goes home on Sunday night and gives him the full report on what went down that weekend and how things went.

“He’s still heavily involved and he’s still been paying attention for sure, he just hasn’t been at the race track. He knows everything that’s been going on.”

Lynda and Richard Petty had been married 55 years, since 1958. She passed away at the age of 72 after a lengthy illness.

For a moving tribute to Lynda Petty, click here for a video from our friends at NASCAR.com:

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

  1. techmeister1 - Apr 24, 2014 at 10:05 PM

    It’s extremely difficult to move on after such a traumatic loss. I think being at the track will be good medicine and I’m sure everyone he sees will be thrilled he is there. Racers are like family when the chips are down no matter what rivalry there might be on track.

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