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L E’s Stories – “The King And Petty Blue” – Tribute To Richard Petty – The Man Who Set The Gold Standard In Stock Car Racing

Richard Petty is an American former NASCAR driver who raced from 1958 to 1992 in the former NASCAR Grand National and Winston Cup Series….which is now called the NASCAR Cup Series. Petty was  nicknamed The King….as the first driver to win the NASCAR Cup Championship seven times….while Dale Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson are the only other drivers to accomplish this feat.  The King won a record 200 races during his career…..while winning the Daytona 500 a record seven times….along with winning a record 27 races (10 of them consecutively) in the 1967 season alone.  Statistically, he is the most accomplished driver in the history of the sport….  and is one of the most respected figures in motorsports as a whole. He collected a record number of poles with 127….and had 700 Top 10 finishes in his record 1,184 starts….which included 513 consecutive starts from 1971 – 1989….for King Richard was the only driver to ever win in his 500th race start….that is until Matt Kenseth joined him in 2013. He was inducted into the inaugural class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010…..and remains very active in both NASCAR, as the team owner of Richard Petty Motorsports in the Cup Series and owner of Petty’s Garage ….which is a car restoration and modification shop in Level Cross, North Carolina.                                                              

Auto Racing – 1965 – Special Feature – Richard Petty Goes Drag Racing

 

Auto Racing – 2015 – My Car Story With Lou Costabile Special – 1965 Plymouth Barracuda # 43 Jr. Car Richard Petty Drag Raced

Petty is a second-generation driver….as his father, Lee Petty, won the first Daytona 500 in 1959….who was also a three-time NASCAR champion.  Petty was born in Level Cross, North Carolina, the son of Elizabeth and Lee Arnold Petty ….who was, also a NASCAR driver, and the older brother of NASCAR personality   Maurice Petty…as he began his NASCAR career in July of 1958….which was 16 days after his 21st birthday.  His first race was held at CNE Stadium in Toronto, Ontario, Canada (the site of BMO Field and the Honda Indy Toronto currently).                                                                                                                           

Auto Racing – 1958 To 1992 – Motorsports On NBC Special – “Looking at Richard Petty’s Legacy and His Iconic Plymouths”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

In 1959, he was named NASCAR Rookie of the Year, after he produced 9 top 10 finishes, including six Top 5 finishes….in a year that that happened to be the inaugural Daytona 500 at the new Daytona International Speedway…..but after his day ended due to engine trouble, he joined his father Lee’s pit crew….who won the race…..then he won his 1st race in Lakewood, Georgia in 1959….when Petty won his first race, but his father Lee protested, complaining of a scoring error on the officials’ part…..and in a few hours, Lee was awarded the win.                                                                                                                                                            

Auto Racing – 1960 To 1990 – Richard Petty Music Video – With Career Highlights Of The King At Work

In 1960, Richard Petty finished 2nd in the NASCAR Grand National Points Race….and got his first career win at the Charlotte Fairgrounds Speedway….then in 1963, that was his breakout year….while winning at tracks like Martinsville and Bridgehampton…whereby In 1964 and driving a potent Plymouth with a new Hemi engine….as Petty led 184 of the 200 laps to capture his first Daytona 500, en route to 9 victories….while earning over $114,000 and his first Grand National championship.

DOG ASIDE:

The family car when Bone Daddy was growing up in Midland, Texas was a pink 1965 Chrysler Imperial that was affectionately known as “The Mobile Tit” ….which was a torc drive Hemi head engine….and when this family car had been “rode hard and put up wet”….after spending 5 years at the University of Texas Austin with Los Tres Hermanos”…..Pops sold the engine to the # 1 drag racing road car driver in Texas for $500…..which was a lot of money in 1970.                                                                                                                  

Auto Racing – 2005 – Documentary Film – “Petty Blue” – Featuring The Life & Career Of Richad Petty With Narrator Kevin Cosner

Joining in the Chrysler boycott of NASCAR due to the organizing body’s ban of the Hemi engine,….Petty spent much of 1965 competing as a drag racer…..as Petty Enterprises installed the Hemi in the new compact Barracuda (a car that is 1/2 the length of a Chrysler Imperial) and lettered “OUTLAWED” on the door. He crashed this car at Southeastern Dragway, in Dallas, Georgia, on February 28, 1965, killing a six-year-old boy and injuring seven others.  Petty, his father Lee, and Chrysler Corporation faced lawsuits totaling more than $1 million, though Petty and his team came to settlements with the lawsuits within 1 month of the suits being filed.  Afterwards, a second Hemi Barracuda was built, this time with an altered wheelbase and eventually with Hilborn fuel injection. This car was lettered with a large “43 JR” on the door. The car was very successful, winning its class at the Bristol Spring Nationals and competing in many match races against well-known racers such as Ronnie Sox, Don Nicholson, Phil Bonner, Huston Platt, Hubert Platt and Dave Strickler. Even after returning to NASCAR once the Hemi was reinstated, Richard continued drag racing the 43 JR until early 1966.  In February of 1966, Richard Petty overcame a 2-lap deficit to win his second Daytona 500…. when the race was stopped on lap 198 of 200 because of a thunderstorm. This made him the first driver to win the event twice….then shortly thereafter, he won the first ever race at Middle Georgia Raceway (Morelock 200)….when he broke the  NASCAR  record for half-mile tracks with an average speed of 82.023 miles per hour during the 100-mile (160 km) event.  He would end up recording 4 wins there in his career, including one in 1970 in which he was very ill before the race. 1967 was a milestone year. In that year, Petty won 27 of the 48 races he entered, including a record 10 wins in a row (between August 12 and October 1, 1967). He won his second Grand National Championship. One of the 27 victories was the Southern 500 at Darlington, which would be his only Southern 500 victory. His dominance in this season earned him the nickname “King Richard”. He had previously been known as “the Randleman Rocket”.                                                                                                     

Auto Racing – 1970 – Charlotte National 500 – Featuring Great Finish With Richard Petty And Cale Yarborough

 

Auto Racing – 2018 – Up To Speed Special – Richard Petty: “Everything You Need to Know”

Auto Racing – 1988 – Daytona 500 Highlights – Featuring The Flip Crash Of Richard Petty                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In 1968, Petty won 15 races including the last ever race at Occoneechee Speedway…. and then in 1969 when Ford significantly ratcheted up their factory involvement in NASCAR….and introduced the Ford Torino Talladega. The Talladega was specifically designed to give Ford a competitive race advantage by being more aerodynamic and thus faster….especially on super-speedway tracks more than a mile long…..so, Petty switched brands to Ford….which was a result of his belief the Plymouth was not competitive on super-speedways…..as he wanted a slippery Dodge Daytona….but Chrysler executives insisted he stay with Plymouth. He would win 10 races and finish second in points. Won back in 1970 by the sleek new Plymouth Superbird with shark nose and towel rack wing, Petty returned to Plymouth for the 1970 season. This is the car in which Petty is cast in the Pixar film Cars (2006), in which Richard and Lynda Petty had voice roles.                                                                                                                                         

Auto Racing – 1960 To 1993 – Special Film – 43: The Richard Petty Story

On February 14, 1971, Petty won his third Daytona 500, driving a brand-new Plymouth Road Runner and beating Buddy Baker, by little more than a car length en route to another historic year….which made him the first driver to win the race 3 times…..as he  won 20 more races….which would make him the 1st driver to earn more than $1 million in career earnings….while claiming his 3rd Grand National Championship. At the end of the 1971 season, Chrysler told the Pettys they no longer would receive direct factory funding support….which gave the Petty team a great deal of concern…..so, in 1972, STP began what would turn into a successful 28-year sponsorship arrangement with Petty… however, it marked the end of his famous all “Petty Blue” paint job….when STP had previously insisted on an all STP orangish-red color for the cars….but Petty balked and after an all-night negotiation session….that is when the familiar STP orange/“Petty blue” paint scheme was agreed to as a compromise that would later become part of STP’s  Motorsport paint schemes…with most notably Gordon Johncock’s win in the 1982 Indianapolis 500….where the car had a primarily “Petty Blue” scheme. Petty had obviously become The King by this time….and thanks to his 28 Top 10 finishes (25 Top 5 finishes and 8 victories)….as Petty went on to win his 4th NASCAR Cup Series  championship….then came 1972, which was a year of change in other ways….as it was the last year where Petty would campaign a Plymouth-based race car; as in the middle of the year, he debuted to drive a newly built 1972 Dodge Charger in a few races….while winning one of them….as he believed that the car would have a slight aero advantage over the Plymouth body style. In a driver’s duel on February 18, 1973, Petty, in a newly built 1973 Dodge Charger (a body style he would use exclusively until the end of 1977), outlasted Baker to win his 4th Daytona 500 after Baker’s engine gave out with 6 laps to go. A year later, Petty won the Daytona “450” (shortened 20 laps {50 mi/80 km} due to the energy crisis) for the fifth time en route to his 5th Winston Cup Championship.                                            

Auto Racing – 2013 – My Classic Car TV Special – Richard Petty Care Collection Tour

 

Auto Racing – 1960 To 1993 – Special Highlights – Featuring Top 5 Crashes Of “The King” Richard Petty

 

Auto Racing – 2018 – Disney Pixar Cars Racing Sports Network – Under the Hood: Strip “The King” Weathers

1975 was another historic year for Petty, as he won the World 600 for the first time in his career, one of 13 victories en route to his 6th Winston Cup. The 13 victories is a modern (1972–present) NASCAR record for victories in a season and was tied in 1998 by Jeff Gordon, although Gordon won 13 out of 33 races, compared to Petty’s 13 out of 30 races. In 1976, Petty was involved in one of the most famous finishes in NASCAR history. Petty and David Pearson were racing on the last lap out of turn 4 in the Daytona 500. As Petty tried to pass Pearson, at the exit of turn 4, Petty’s right rear bumper hit Pearson’s left front bumper. Pearson and Petty both spun and hit the front stretch wall. Petty’s car came to rest just yards from the finish line, but his engine stalled. Pearson’s car had hit the front stretch wall and clipped another car, but his engine was running. Members of Petty’s pit crew came out onto the track and tried to push the car to the finish line, but ultimately failed. Pearson was able to drive his car toward the finish line, while Petty’s car would not restart. Pearson passed Petty on the infield grass and won the Daytona 500. Petty was given credit for second place.                                                                                                                                         

 Auto Racing – 2017 – Special Highlights – The King Gets The Black Flag At Darlington Speedway

 

Auto Racing – 2010 – Special Highlights – Richard Petty’s 200mph Plymouth Superbird On The Road

Auto Racing 1958 To 1992 – Special Film – Richard Petty: Racing Royalty

 

Oddly 1978 will stand out as the one year during his prime that Petty did not visit the winner’s circle. The Petty Enterprises Team could not get the new 1978 Dodge Magnum to handle properly, even though much time, effort, and faith were spent massaging the cars. Unhappy with the seven top-five and eleven top-ten finishes (including two-second places), Petty decided that his longtime relationship with Chrysler could not continue and he instead began racing a secondhand 1974 Chevrolet Monte Carlo at the fall race at Michigan. Returning to the General Motors fold proved successful as Petty recorded six top-ten finishes in the final ten races of the 1978 season and finished sixth in the final standings. He would go on to even better results in 1979. Petty won the Daytona 500 in an Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme in the “Famous Finish” and ran most of the remaining races in a Chevrolet, winning four additional races and taking the NASCAR championship for the seventh, and last, time by 11 points which was the closest points margin in NASCAR history until 1992.

 

Auto Racing – 2016 – Donald Trump Political Rally In North Carolina – As “The King” Richard Petty Introduces “The Donald”

 

 

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