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Senior Correspondent

This is told from the perspective of Stewball, Ed and Janet Howle's '67 VW Beetle.

Dear Mr. Petty,

I’ve never written a letter before to anyone of importance, so please bear with me. I have recently received my decals for the Trans-America Challenge from The Endurance Rally Association in England and my number for this event is 43. Now, I don’t know if my British friends are aware that is (was) your car number or if this is coincidental. But seeing as we are both North Carolina good ole boys, you being from Level Cross and me from Chapel Hill, they just may have assigned me this number with you in mind. Then again, this could be another sample of British humor. I have already noticed that they are inclined to these lapses in professionalism. Being as you are retired from Motorsports events, they just might think you wanted this prestigious number carried forward on a make and model that represents another hallmark in auto history. 

Now just in case you think I might be asking for some favor, I want to go on record saying that I did not request your number. On the Great Race 2007, I used the number 53 but, neither Herbie nor Lindsey Lohan did me any favors then either. My successes, such as they are, are entirely my own, but don’t tell that to my co-drivers. They seem to think they have something to do with it.

Now, I know you’re not really into endurance rallying, but I’d be happy if you want to join me at the VIR May 9. I am sure I can convince Janet to let you step the into the driver’s seat and take a lap around the track. 

I want you to know that I am honored to carry your number all the way from New York to Alaska and will do my best to uphold your reputation. If you can’t make the VIR, I’d be happy to meet up with you after the rally at your museum or  at Richard Petty Motorsports, and I promise we won’t discuss politics as I do think we ride on opposite sides of the road in that area.

Just one final question. Just where do you buy your hats? Ed seems to have this yearning for one. But I refuse to call him “The King”.

Your friend in the Motorsports world,

Stewball aka The Blue Blaze

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