FORT WORTH — Has Richard Petty Motorsports gone off the track?
Money problems are affecting one of the biggest names in racing, stranding Petty's team at Texas Motor Speedway.
Richard Petty is the king of NASCAR. He earned the nickname after winning seven championships.
But the future of his organization appears to be in jeopardy. The Petty Motorsports team was supposed to head to Phoenix after racing at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, — but they didn't hit the road until late Wednesday.
Drivers of the 18-wheelers that haul Petty's cars and equipment told News 8 they had been waiting three weeks to be paid.
"When I left Sunday night, I saw these rigs parked here and thought, well, they're just souvenir rigs that were going to pull out Monday morning," said TMS president Eddie Gossage. "Then I came in Monday and I thought, well, they'll leave later in the day. I didn't realize it was the race team."
And not just any race team, but the king of NASCAR racing, Richard Petty Motorsports. The trucks full of his cars were stuck at Texas Motor Speedway, three days after last weekend's Sprint Cup event.
"This is drama in the parking lot; I've never seen anything like this before," Gossage said. "But apparently we've got almost a repossession of race cars taking place... almost took place."
The stranded vehicles included the iconic No. 43 car, particularly associated with Richard Petty and his record 200 victories.
Richard Petty told ESPN.com that his team's financial problems are close to a solution. "We thought it was [done] last week. Last week we thought it was the week before," Petty said, adding that the money problems are "still in limbo."
But Gossage said Petty's image should not be tarnished due to his team's financial troubles.
"The thing is, this is only Richard Petty in name," he said. "He sold this team to George Gillett a few years ago, and George Gillett I believe got a little tied up with some financial difficulties."
Gillett and Dallas Stars owner Tom Hicks purchased the Liverpool, England soccer club in 2007; they sold it last month.
Some last-minute wrangling got Petty's team on the road Wednesday, just in time to reach Phoenix for the next NASCAR race this weekend.