“The King,” NASCAR® Hall of Famer Richard Petty, is the most decorated driver in NASCAR® history, winning a record 200 career races and seven NASCAR® Cup championships. After 1,184 races that spanned three decades, Petty is as busy as ever, overseeing the operations of Richard Petty Motorsports, a three-car team competing at NASCAR®’s highest levels.
In 1992, Petty retired as a driver and took on the role of car owner. In 1996, he won his first race as an owner with driver Bobby Hamilton at the Phoenix (AZ) International Raceway. He had winning years in 1997 and 1999 as well.
In the next decade, the team continued to collect numerous top-five and top-10 finishes in the NASCAR® Xfinity and Sprint Cup Series. Racing families such as Andretti, Fittipaldi and Green all raced for “The King.” Tragically, fourth-generation driver Adam Petty, who had reached the Xfinity Series under the Petty banner, was killed in a racing accident in May 2000.
2009 was a season of change. His team moved to Statesville, NC and merged with the Ray Evernham and George Gillett teams to form Richard Petty Motorsports. That year, they recorded two wins and qualified for the Chase for the Championship with driver Kasey Kahne.
After switching to Ford in 2010, Richard Petty Motorsports again fielded four teams, capturing five pole positions and 11 top-five finishes. The team also moved to Concord, NC.
With a new ownership group in place for 2011, Petty “regained operational control”. The multicar team finished within the top 20 in the NASCAR® Sprint Cup Series point standings and added one win, six top-five and 22 top-10 finishes. In 2015, Petty continues to lead a team that includes a two-car NASCAR® Sprint Cup Series operation and a NASCAR® Xfinity Series team. They have also relocated to Mooresville, NC.
No other driver in NASCAR®' history has had more of an impact than the Level Cross, NC native. He has been elected to the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame, the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame and the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. He also serves as Chairman of the North Carolina Motorsports Association and was an inaugural inductee into the NASCAR® Hall of Fame.
Petty is also a leader in philanthropic efforts. He was instrumental in the development of the Victory Junction Gang Camp after donating 84 acres of his own land, on which the camp sits today. Founded in 2004, in honor of his grandson Adam, the camp gives chronically ill children the chance to undergo life-changing camping experiences in a safe and medically sound environment. He is also the co-founder of the Petty Family Foundation.
Richard Petty drives his no. 43 car before the start of the Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400, held at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida in 2009.Photo: Ken McKimm/Icon SMI/Corbis
Richard Petty, driver of the #43 STP Pontiac, poses in 2004. Photo: George Tiedemann/GT Images/Corbis
Richard Petty before the qualification race at Daytona International Speedway in Florida in 1987. Photo: George Tiedemann/Sports Illustrated/Getty
Richard Petty poses in front of his car before a race in 1973 in Daytona Beach, Florida. Traditionally blue, over the years Petty racecars featured more and more STP red. Photo: Racing One/ISC Archives/Getty
Richard Petty slides out from underneath the legendary #43 Pontiac. Photo: Bettman/Corbis
Richard Petty smiles as he sprays champagne in the victory circle at Daytona International Speedway after winning the Firecracker 400, his 200th career win. Photo: Bettman/Corbis
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