Richard Lee Petty (born July 2, 1937), nicknamed The King, is a former NASCAR driver who raced in the Strictly Stock/Grand National Era and the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. He won the NASCAR Championship seven times (Dale Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson are the only other drivers to accomplish this feat), winning a record 200 races during his career, winning the Daytona 500 a record seven times, and 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 also collected a record number of poles (127) and over 700 Top 10 finishes in his 1,184 starts, including 513 consecutive starts from 1971–1989. Petty was the only driver to ever win in his 500th race start, until Matt Kenseth joined him in 2013. He was inducted into the inaugural class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010.
For the former president & C.E.O. of Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment, see Richard Peddie. For the psychology professor, see Richard E. Petty.
Petty is a second generation driver. His father, Lee Petty, won the first Daytona 500 in 1959 and was also a three-time NASCAR champion. His son Kyle is also a well-known NASCAR driver. His grandson, Adam (Kyle's son), was killed in a practice crash at New Hampshire International Speedway on May 12, 2000, five weeks after Lee's death. Adam's brother Austin works on day-to-day operations of the Victory Junction Gang Camp, a Hole in the Wall Gang Camp established by the Pettys after Adam's death. Petty married Lynda Owens in 1958. She died on March 25, 2014 at her home in Level Cross, North Carolina at age 72, after a long battle with cancer. They had four children—Kyle Petty, Sharon Petty-Farlow, Lisa Petty-Luck, and Rebecca Petty-Moffit. The family resides in Petty's home town of Level Cross, North Carolina and operates Richard Petty Motorsports. The Richard Petty Museum was formerly in nearby Randleman, North Carolina but moved back to its original location in March 2014.
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