Kyle Petty Needs To Take a Lesson from the Past

Clayton CaldwellCorrespondent IMarch 26, 2009

AVONDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 07:  Kyle Petty, driver of the #45 Wells Fargo Dodge, during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 7, 2008 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Kyle Petty is one of the nicest men in the garage area. However, he is also one of the most stubborn.

Talking to Petty at Daytona (before I was on NASCAR Smarts with him), I asked him why he didn't take a truck ride in the beginning of the year, and he just ignored the question.

Petty has been running in the back the last 10 years, and I agree it hasn't all been his fault. Being the "second best" car with the mediocre Petty Enterprises isn't exactly top-notch equipment.

But a Camping World Truck Series ride would be awesome for him.

Petty has a sponsor committed to him in Wells Fargo, an insurance company. There are plenty of truck teams out there searching for sponsorship.

Wells Fargo could do a full season at a discounted price and Petty would be driving for that team in 2009.

He could compete for the championship for the first time since 1992. The Truck Series wouldn't affect his TNT schedule and he would show that he still has something left (which I believe he does) by running that series and kicking some butt.

Petty is hesitant to go to the series because he's afraid he'll never get out. He has the "Ward Burton Syndrome!"

Ward Burton held a stubborn stance that he was Cup worthy when he found himself out of a ride by the end of the 2004 season. That year had been a nightmare for the former Daytona 500 champion, getting three top 10s and finishing 32nd in the Cup standings for Haas's No. 0 NetZero Car.

The elder Burton was relieved of his driving duties and found himself looking for a ride at the age of 42.

Several truck teams contacted Burton about driving their truck. He made a biggest mistake that any racecar driver would do by saying "no" to those teams.

Burton figured he could wait and something would come up. He was dead wrong.

As drivers left rides, Burton's name was mentioned but he never got a contract as owners looked for new younger talent to fill their seats.

Before we knew it, Burton was a distant memory. He came back into the sport towards the end of the 2006 season running three races for Morgan-McClure Motorsports basically for free.

The South Boston, Virginia native would run 16 races for Morgan-McClure in 2007, but DNQ'd for 19 because the time out of the sport caught up with Burton. He was released with one race to go in that season and there's been no sight of him since.

Ward Burton's time out of the sport killed him. If he had taken a truck ride, he would be back in the sport and running strong for some team again.

Look at Mike Skinner. If he wanted to, he would have a ride in the Cup Series, but he loves racing in the Truck Series, so that won't happen.

Travis Kvapil took a truck series ride after being released from Cal Wells' No. 32. All Kvapil did was win six races and get a ride in the cup series for Yates Racing.

David Stremme took what he could get his hands on in the beginning of the 2008 season when he signed a contract with Rusty Wallace Inc. to run half the Nationwide races.

Stremme had a fantastic year in the No. 64 Chevy, with his move paying off. He had such a good year, impressing his sponsors, Arteus Homes and car owner, Rusty Wallace.  Wallace offered him the ride for the rest of the year.

In 32 races, Stremme had 16 top 10s. If Stremme competed in the road course races, he would have had a chance at the championship.

He performed remarkable enough to impress car owner Roger Penske in offering him a ride in his No. 12 Dodge in the Sprint Cup Series

Kyle Petty not taking a truck ride isn't just stubborn, it's stupid! Seat time is the most valuable thing in NASCAR, and he needs some --- or his career will be over.