Richard Petty said Wednesday that it took the people who work at Petty Enterprises a while to convince him it was time to move the family's racing operations out of the place where tghey have always been in Level Cross, N.C.
"I think I was probably the last one," Petty said in announcing that the team has signed a two-year deal to lease the Mooresville shop that now houses Robert Yates Racing.
"They worked on me for about a year or year and half. When you walked through the gates there at Level Cross, you walked through the gates into NASCAR history.
"It's really hard to move from that."
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"But one day I finally went in and said, 'OK, look, what do you all think is the best for the future of Petty Enterprises?' And for us to go forward, we think we need to take this chance and go do it."
Robert Yates is retiring as a team owner, and his son, Doug, is taking over that two-car team. Doug Yates will move that operation to a shop that is part of the Roush Fenway Racing complex in Concord as a part of his affiliation with that team.
That left the 85,000 square feet in the main shop and 35,000 square feet more in a second building available for the Petty operation.
The No. 43 Dodges of Bobby Labonte and the No. 45 Dodges of Kyle Petty will move in next month and operate out of Mooresville beginning in 2008.
The move, Richard Petty said, is necessary because when people from around the country decide to come to North Carolina to work in the motorsports industry the place they migrate toward is the Mooresville-Concord area, where so many teams are based.
Some of the people who work for the Pettys live there and drive around 90 minutes, each way, to work each day. Being in Mooresville will cut down on that and, the Pettys hope, help them be more competitive when it comes to hiring the best people.
Richard Petty said the new base might not be a permanent home for the team started by his father, Lee, back when NASCAR was just being formed. The Pettys will continue to look for land at other sites and could eventually build a new facility somewhere else and go there after the two-year lease expires.
"For about 60 years being where we were worked pretty good for us," Richard Petty said. Cars built in Level Cross have won 268 races and 10 championships in what is now the Nextel Cup Series.
"But racing has changed so much, and as it changed maybe we haven't changed as quickly as the rest of us."
Petty said no final decisions have been made on what to do with the current shop.
"We're not closing it down, per se," he said.
"We're trying to figure out what we'll put in it."