nascar, racing, jeff gordon, richard petty, retro, photos, story, sports legends

The King and the Kid



The year was 1994. Richard (The King) Petty was a recently retired driver and fairly new full-time team owner. Jeff Gordon was a young, upcoming driver and not yet the iconic superstar the he is today.

About a year and a half earlier Richard Petty had wrapped up his driving career in Atlanta on the same day that Gordon had made his “big league” debut.

I was trolling the Winston Cup garage at Talladega in May 1994 looking for a picture when I noticed the two men sitting atop the work bench talking. Not wanting to intrude, I employed my best “fly-on-the-wall” technique, putting on a longer lens and lurking unnoticed int he corner of the garage, I snapped a few shots.

As often happens, the moment dissipated quickly, with the two stars wrapping up their conversation and going their separate ways. But this picture remains one of my favorites, as I feel it illustrates the changing of the guard that took place a generation ago when the Pettys, Peasons, Parsons and Allisons were vacating their spots atop the sport and the Jeff Gordon was moving in.

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