At different times, third-generation NASCAR star Kyle Petty has moonlighted as a country music singer. His most visible song to date was “Oh King Richard,” a well-meaning yet creatively lacking single from 1996 about his legendary dad, Richard Petty.
The younger Petty pays tribute to a sport made possible by his grandfather Lee and popularized by his dad. One of the “kings” of Southern culture, Richard Petty won a whopping 200 races, including seven Daytona 500s. His No. 43 car remains iconic and was later driven by Darrell Wallace Jr., a.k.a. Bubba Wallace, during his time with Richard Petty Motorsports.
NASCAR’s king seems like a deep enough well of song material. After all, the entire Petty clan has a place in many racing fans’ hearts. To date, songs about King Richard aren’t particularly great. Not even perennial hitmakers and Southern culture connoisseurs Alabama could salute the King’s last ride without sounding a little corny.
Kyle’s stab at a musical tribute hardly captures the talents he showed when performing other songs. With better lyrics, this missed opportunity could’ve better celebrated a son’s love for his father and fans’ love of a legend.
When his stock car career took off in the mid-’80s, Kyle was in the running for an RCA album, featuring a pretty decent original song called “Old Habit.” His shot at mainstream music success came in 1996, when Columbia Records issued “Oh King Richard” as part of a split single with country singer and actor Mark Collie.
Kyle Petty retired from NASCAR in 2008, freeing up time for his music. A few years back, Petty toured with Americana artist David Childers and continues to pursue his passion. Good for you, Kyle!