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
NASCAR online News -- Lee Petty:
Petty Racing home page: http://www.pettyracing.com/