Richard Petty was not inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame Friday. He, of course, made the initial class two years ago. But in many ways, the night was his.
No matter which room he entered he was the first man you saw. He was the only man at the Hall's Hall of Fame induction festivities who wore a big black hat that featured a feather the size of a toddler. He wore thick, dark sunglasses. And he was never alone.
Petty, 74 and taller than the people around him, was constantly surrounded. Fans wanted time, a picture, an autograph, a story, another picture. The fans that arrived first stayed, and others joined them. Not once did I hear Petty say no or see him walk away.
What a fantastic emissary for his sport. Seeing him anywhere makes you feel good that you're there, too.