A monument fit for The King: Petty-owned Ford in Monster’s firm grasp

DOVER — The Richard Petty-owned “bacon-powered” Smithfield Ford is firmly in the grasp of the Monster at Dover International Speedway.

“The King” watched Wednesday as a Kent Construction crane moved the Sprint Cup car into position in the right hand of the Monster statue outside Dover International Speedway.

“I never thought I’d have the Monster to myself,” said Petty.

For years, Petty and Bobby Allison held the record for most wins in Dover with seven apiece.

Jimmy Johnson, dominant at Dover in recent years, now holds the record of 10.

The King’s wins in Dover came between 1971 and 1984, His last Dover win was the 199th of 200 career victories.

Petty’s last race at Dover came in the fall of 1992.

His No. 43 Petty blue machine is now driven by Aric Amirola.

Smithfield, the car’s sponsor, agreed to a three-year deal with Dover International Speedway to sponsor the Monster Monument.

The Monster is about 46-feet in height and weighs about 40,000 pounds. It represents the danger drivers face on the high-banked, one-mile oval and has become a favorite pre-race gathering spots for fans to take photos.

“The bedrock of our industry is our fans and corporate sponsors,” said Mike Tatoian, Dover International Speedway president and CEO. “We have some giants coming together here, with Smithfield and Richard Petty Motorsports, and, of course, Miles the Monster.”

The event also was timed to promote April as “Autism Awareness Month” and hype the “AAA 400 Drive for Autism” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, May 15.

During April, the Monster Monument will be cast in blue lights to represent “Autism Awareness Month.”

On Wednesday, several children with autism observed the car raising.

“To have Richard Petty here, to have Smithfield here, supporting Autism Delaware is incredible,” said Artie Kempner, the founding president of Autism Delaware.

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