CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Richard Petty is not going to be brokenhearted if Jimmie Johnson breaks the record he shares for most career NASCAR Sprint Cup championships.
Johnson won his sixth championship last season, pulling him within one of Petty and Dale Earnhardt, who each won seven.
With Johnson poised to have another strong team this season, the King knows he and the late Earnhardt could have company on NASCAR’s highest pedestal in the not-so distant future _ and that Johnson could eventually surpass both.
“If you look at most records, most are put there because I broke somebody’s record and then somebody comes along and breaks my record,” Petty said Wednesday while speaking at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Media Tour in Charlotte. “That is just progress. That is the way the world is supposed to work.”
But Petty said it’s impossible to compare the accomplishments of each driver because they raced in different eras.
“Me and Earnhardt never ran against the guys Jimmie ran against, and Jimmie never against the guys we ran against,” Petty said. “So everything being even, he just has everything going for him just like I had from time to time or Earnhardt, or some others. If he keeps trying it’s liable to happen, or it’s liable not to happen.”
Petty said that while the general assumption is Johnson will eventually break his record, he added it’s impossible to know.
“He’s liable to have done won his last race, nobody knows,” Petty said. “I won my 200th race and said, `Well I can win 201.’ I never did win 201.”
Still, it won’t surprise Petty if the 38-year-old Johnson gets the record.
“He has the best organization going,” Petty said of Johnson, who drives for Hendricks Motorsports.
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)