Petty, Richard, 1937–, American auto racing driver, b. Level Cross, N.C. The son of Lee Petty, a champion stock car race driver, he won a record 200 National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing races, among them a record seven Daytona 500s, in his 35-year career (1958–92). He was also the career leader in starts and money earned. “King Richard” won the Winston Cup (now the Sprint Cup), emblematic of NASCAR supremacy, seven times (1964, 1967, 1971–72, 1974–75, 1979), a record later equaled by Dale Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson.
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Petty, Richard(1937– ) auto racer; born in Level Cross, N.C. Beginning professional auto racing in 1958, he became the holder of numerous National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) records. He won the Daytona 500 and the NASCAR national championship each seven times between 1964 and 1981. With over 200 victories, he started more races, won more races, and made more money than any stock car driver in history. His great popularity and financial success earned him the nickname "King Richard," and on his final professional race in 1992, President George Bush made a point by being present.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.