Richard Petty earned his title, “The King,” with 200 career victories, 7 Championship Cups, and a whole slew of unbreakable records. He’s already a household name for most Nascar fans, but keep reading and you may be surprised at what you didn’t know about Richard Petty the Nascar legend.
#1 Richard Petty, The Drag Racer?
In 1965, Nascar issued new rules to meet a more modern standard of safety, but unfortunately this meant engines like the one in Richard Petty’s Plymouth #43 were no longer allowed. In response, Petty left Nascar for about a year and spent time on the drag racing circuit.
But, his return to Nascar in the following year was triumphant. In 1966, Petty had the single best year of any Nascar racer ever – an incredible 27 first-place finishes and a Grand National Cup. The King had returned.
#2 The Petty Family Legacy
Did you know “The King” isn’t the first to cross the finish line in his family?
Nascar is well known for its family legacies, but Petty stands out in an already impressive crowd.
Richard’s father Lee won the very first Daytona 500 back in 1959 and retired as a 3 time Grand National Champion. Richard’s brother Maurice worked on engines, and his mother Elizabeth was a scorekeeper. This was all before Richard Petty became the most decorated racer in Nascar history. The King’s son Kyle and grandson Adam Petty also went on to impressive racing careers of their own. Talk about a family legacy.
#3 The King and The Presidents
Former president Ronald Reagan was a fan of Nascar and a fan of Petty.
Petty finished with a fender-length lead over Cale Yarborough for a big Daytona win in 1984. After, President Reagan joined Petty in Victory Lane to celebrate. Reagan had been in attendance for the big race.
This isn’t the only time Petty rubbed shoulders with a president. The next occasion would come when he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from former president George H W Bush in 1992. Later still, he would join former president Donald Trump on stage during a 2016 campaign rally.
#4 Richard Petty, Actor
Richard Petty showcased his talent off the track when he lent his voice to Pixar’s Cars (2006). Just like the man himself, his character “The King” is a racing legend.
Of course, it wasn’t his first performance. Richard Petty has acted as spokesman for Goody’s Headache Powder and Liberty Mutual Insurance, among others.
#5 Unbreakable Records
The King didn’t earn his name for nothing. Richard Petty boasts the record for most wins in one season – 27, most consecutive wins in one season – 10, and also won the most pole positions at 127! He also has the most wins from the pole – 61, and the record for most wins from the pole in one season – 15. It’s no mean feat to make and hold these records against fierce competition.
Find Out More About Richard Petty
Richard Petty was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1997 and was a part of the inaugural NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010.
Come see us at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, Ala., where you can learn more about The King with unbreakable records and other legends in the world of racing. We are open seven days a week for self-guided tours. Plan your visit online or give us a call at 256-362-5002.