Nascar will be without its defending champion this year, as Richard “The Randleman Rocket” Petty has joined in Plymouth’s boycott of Nascar for outlawing the dominant Hemi engine, saying that excitement has no place in the sport of stock car racing.
“When they came to us with that Hemi deal, we knew we was leaving”, Petty told a group of sportswriters from his family garage. “We talked to the NHRA guys, and they were happy to let us do our deal over there, because they know that fans want to see a dominating deal, not a close finish.”
Due to sporadic interest by the greater sporting public, Nascar has moved to tighten regulations on what types of engines drivers can run, in the name of competitive parity. While many have supported the move, those with Chrysler have vehemently disagreed.
“You can’t just take away the Hemi engine—that’s what fans want to see!”, said Plymouth marketing director Tom Reeves. “What’s more exciting than seeing a car lap the field plenty of times, knowing that the only way anyone else has a shot to win is if the leader blows an engine or crashes? People don’t want to see passing, they want to see lapping!”
Petty will spend the 1965 season running his Plymouth in NHRA drag racing events, although he won’t rule out a possible return to Nascar in the future.
“Listen—if Nascar decides they want to talk to us about that rules deal, we’re happy to sit down with ‘em”, Petty explained. “But at Petty Enterprises, we work to dominate our competition, not run in a pack. If one or two people want to see a passin’ deal, let ‘em go watch a demolition derby.”
Petty, however, said that he would only return to stock car racing if Nascar would re-allow the Hemi engine.
“There’s no way we’re goin’ back without the engine deal being takin’ care of, and there’s no way we’re gonna run an illegal engine—you have my brother’s word on it.”