Richard Petty returned to the race track Friday at Richmond International Raceway after a prolonged absence following the March 25 death of Lynda Petty, his wife of 55 years.

"I just felt like I need to have a little time on our own, so I've been gone for two or three weeks," Petty said Friday at RIR during the unveiling of a special Children's Miracle Network Hospitals paint scheme on Marcos Ambrose's No. 9 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford.

"But I'm back in the saddle again now. I'm just learning to live all over again."

At this point, Petty expects a full schedule to be therapeutic.

"The busier they keep me, the better off I'll be," he said. "I'm surviving. It's going to be different, I guess. After 55 years, I have to start all over again. I was fortunate that all the kids came home for Easter. We had all the kids and grandkids home, and that really made things work good."