Lee Petty: Lee Petty, the 86 year old patriarch of the Petty auto racing organization, died in a North Carolina hospital on April 10. Lee was one of the pioneers in American stock car racing. In 1948, he won the first race he entered and won consistently until a near fatal crash in a qualifying race at Daytona essentially ended his driving career. (He raced once more time in 1964 but was not competitive.) Petty raced in the first ever NASCAR sanctioned race 1949 and went on to be a three-time NASCAR champion (1954, '58, and '58 NASCAR Grand National Championship, now called the Winston Cup.). Petty won the first Daytona 500 mile race in 1959 and 53 other races in 10 full seasons of NASCAR racing -- thirteen percent of the 427 races he started. He finished in the top ten in 88 percent of his races. Those records stood until broken by his son Richard, who eventually won 200 races. No driver has ever surpassed Lee Petty's average finish position of 7.6. The Petty family is now in its fourth racing generation. After Lee came Richard and then grandson Kyle. The weekend before he died, Lee Petty watched a broadcast of the NASCAR Winston Cup debut his great-grandson Adam at the Texas Speedway.

"Petty Racing" history page on Lee Petty: http://www.pettyracing.com/lee/history.html

NASCAR online News -- Lee Petty: http://nascar.com/news/2000/0405/999661.html

Petty Racing home page: http://www.pettyracing.com/

NASCAR: http://nascar.com/