Petty GMS continues to take as many steps forward in the least amount of time as possible in its quest for success in the NASCAR Cup Series, and bringing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson into the ownership fold is further evidence of that commitment.
Not only is Johnson a part-owner in the organization, but he will be back behind the wheel for the first time since 2020 with a limited number of starts starting at the Daytona 500. Perhaps most importantly, those at Petty GMS now have another resource to draw on with the talent and insight that Johnson brings, Also there for young drivers Erik Jones and Noah Gragson.
“His work ethic is amazing,” Mike Beam, president of Petty GMS, told RACER of Johnson. “We start early in the morning and [this] In the morning, we were at the breakfast meeting. I like it because Jimmie is involved and that’s exciting for us. It will make us better.
“What I’m excited about is that it’s coming from a culture [of Hendrick Motorsports]; that’s cool. He tested it and it was much easier to explain to people when I tried it, and that’s where it’s at.
“When we first started talking to Jimmy, I knew Rick [Hendrick] I talked to him about it [being] His part 48 for years, and I read that Justin Marks was talking to Jimmy and stuff like that. It is fortunate that Jimmy came to the store and saw how simple we really are and how we can grow.”
Johnson’s organization has spent 18 seasons competing for Hendrick’s four-car field with hundreds of employees located on multiple-building campuses. On the other hand, Petty GMS has 65 employees who work on two Cup Series teams full time.
Beam is fine with doing more with less, joking that he doesn’t know what those organizations are doing with all these people, and it just seems like more of a headache. But as Beam said, when it comes to Johnson, he brings a wealth of knowledge about the winning culture.
“Our future is very bright,” said Beam. “I told all the staff in the new year that the only thing that can really work against us is us. We are in the same place where we were parking last year, and luckily all of our trucks are ready to go.
“We knew our limitations going forward but winning a race was amazing. Especially the Southern 500. I said that day, exactly that day, it was  years ago Richard [Petty] Won and 28 years ago me and bill [Elliott] He had won the 500 race. The same day. It was Junior [Johnson] Another cup win. It was very cool. Very emotional, especially for Richard and Dale [Inman]. I was so happy for them. And all the young fans, of course.”
Ray and Betty turn back. It was the Petty family who brought Pym back into racing after he quit working in a tire shop after marrying his wife, Nancy, in late 1978. Pym worked as an engine tuner alongside Maurice Petty and served as crew chief for Kyle and Richard.
“When we started this[Betty GMS]deal… he said, ‘All I want to do is do well,'” Pym said of his friend Richard. “I said, ‘Okay, I get it. We are. If we’re going to do that We’ll try to run well, I promise.”
Petty’s win came on September 4, 1967, while Pym won with Elliott on September 4, 1994. Jones achieved the remarkable feat on September 4 of last year.
The latter was the first win for Petty GMS in their debut season. Maury Gallagher established his program in late 2021, intending to offer one car before the majority of Petty’s operations had a chance to be purchased.
Jones returns to the No. 43 Chevrolet this season. Gragson moves into the series full-time in the No. 42 Chevrolet.
“We have some really good people [and I’m] Excited about our future with Jimmy, of course and Noah,” Pym said. “It’s so much fun; We enjoy it. I’m excited about our future because this is probably the best we’ve ever seen with people – good people, good people. Everyone gets along and respects each other. We’ve been through people at GMS who didn’t want to be a team player or believe in what we wanted to do.
“We’ve had a couple of rough winters here. The deal was done with Petty at the last minute, and then this deal with Jimmie. Then he throws another truck in there. Luckily, we’re not going to race ARCA (the Menards Series).
“I tell people it’s never a dull moment. We had lunch at the store and I said, if you want to go somewhere to work and there’s no changes, you probably don’t fit in there. They always fooled me with, ‘Man, we don’t know what’s going to happen’ But we know we’ll do something.’ I said, ‘Okay, stay on the bus. We’ll work it out.'”