In the Driver's Seat

pat-petrie-main Pat Petrie started driving race cars because he had knee problems.

It wasn't therapy, at least not in the traditional sense. It was a way to fill Petrie's need for a competitive outlet after knee problems forced the Henderson, Nevada, resident to abandon his football career after two years of college.

"My dad said 'what are you going to do now?' and I said I don't know, so he said let's build a race car," said Petrie, who was a 6-foot-6, 310-pound offensive tackle at the time fate intervened. He had played football and was a Nevada state champion wrestler at Basic High School in Henderson, but he had grown up around race cars.

His father, Pat, started racing in 1963 in Denver, Colorado, moved a family that eventually included seven children to southern Nevada in 1984, and continued to race until 2001. That year father and son both won division championships at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where a year before the elder Petrie had suffered a heart attack his son said would have been fatal if not for the expert response of track officials and emergency medical personnel.

"After he came back and we both won championships he decided that would be a good way to go out, so he just stopped and never did it again," said Petrie Jr., who did continue after winning that Late Model title in 2001 and has dad for company at a few races each year.

Petrie, a Health and Human Services program specialist for the state of Nevada, started racing in the Street Stock class and slowly moved up the ladder. He was on his own for awhile, then was joined by younger brother Jim, who named the team H-Town Racing because they all lived in Henderson.

"It started as nothing and kind of grew into what it is today," Petrie said of the team that this season will be represented in the Lucas Oil Modified Series by Petrie, Tom Pfundstein and two-time series champion Jim Mardis.

Jim Petrie left the team and quit racing as his children grew, but younger brother Joe signed on and still serves as Pat's crew chief.

Petrie said when the Late Model and Super Late Model classes got too expensive he started looking for alternatives. He said he has relatives in Colorado who race Sprint Cars and Midgets and he decided on a Modified because it offered some of the same open-wheel feel.

Petrie participated in the Modified series at The Bullring until it was cancelled and started racing the Lucas Oil Modified Series on a part-time basis. He's been full-time the past three seasons, however, said "I don't think I could ever go back to doing something else.

"The cars are not super expensive. They're fast and affordable, and when it comes to everybody that supports the series plus the guys you race with, you couldn't find anybody better. In my opinion, it's the best thing around, with the best talent on the West Coast, for sure."


Age: 43 (28 September 1970)

Lives in: Henderson, Nevada

Marital status: Married; wife's name is Vicki. They have two children, Megan and Madi

Occupation: Program specialist for the State of Nevada

Car number: 1X

Type of chassis: Dana Stahl Racecars

Engine: J&S Automotive Chevrolet

Crew Chief: Joe Petrie

Sponsors: SuperClean; Findlay Chevrolet; J&S Automotive; Dana Stahl Racecars; Silver Star Plumbing; Pickarts Radiator; AAA Insurance; Southern Nevada PDCA/FCA

Years in racing: 24

Divisions raced: Street Stocks, Late Models, Super Late Models, Lucas Oi Modifieds

Titles and awards: Late Model champion at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway 2001

Series point standings: T57 (2008); 23 (2009); 18 (2010); 11 (2011); 12 (2012); 16 (2013)