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Lee Arnold Petty (March 14, 1914 – April 5, 2000) was an American stock car racing driver who competed during the 1950s and 1960s. He was one of the pioneers of NASCAR and one of its first superstars. He is also the father of Richard Petty, who went on to become one of the most successful stock car racing drivers of all time.

Lee Petty
LeePettyNASCARLegend.jpg
Photo of Lee Petty, circa 1959
BornLee Arnold Petty
(1914-03-14)March 14, 1914
Randleman, North Carolina, US
DiedApril 5, 2000(2000-04-05) (aged 86)
Greensboro, North Carolina, U.S.
Cause of deathAbdominal aortic aneurysm
Achievements1954, 1958, 1959 Grand National Champion
1959 Daytona 500 Winner (inaugural race)
AwardsInducted in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame (1990)
Inducted in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (1996)
North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame
Inducted in the NASCAR Hall of Fame (2011)
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career
427 races run over 16 years
Best finish1st (1954, 1958, 1959)
First race1949 Race No. 1 (Charlotte)
Last race1964 The Glen 151.8 (Watkins Glen)
First win1949 untitled race (Pittsburgh)
Last win1961 untitled race (Jacksonville)
Wins Top tens Poles
54 332 18
Statistics current as of February 1, 2018.

Contents

CareerEdit

 
Lee Petty's No. 42 1956 Dodge Coronet

Petty was born near Randleman, North Carolina, the son of Jessie Maude (née Bell) and Judson Ellsworth Petty.[1] He was thirty-five years old when he began racing. He began his NASCAR career at NASCAR's first race at the three-quarter mile long dirt track, Charlotte Speedway. He finished in the top five in season points for NASCAR's first eleven seasons, and won the NASCAR Grand National Series driver's championship three times. Petty was also the winner of the inaugural Daytona 500 in 1959.

ControversiesEdit

Twice in his career, Petty was declared the winner of a race after scoring errors were discovered following the race. The two races were the 1959 Daytona 500 and the 1959 Lakewood 500.

1959 Daytona 500Edit

In the inaugural race at Daytona International Speedway, Petty battled with Johnny Beauchamp during the final laps of the race. Petty, Beauchamp, and Joe Weatherly drove side by side by side across the finish line at the final lap for a photo finish. Petty drove a 1959 Oldsmobile Super 88 (No. 42), while Beauchamp drove a 1959 Ford Thunderbird (No. 73) and Weatherly did so in a 1959 Chevrolet (No. 48), all coupés. Beauchamp was unofficially declared the winner, and he drove to victory lane. Petty protested the results, saying "I had Beauchamp by a good two feet. In my own mind, I know I won."[2] It took NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. three days to decide the winner. In the end, with the help of the national newsreel, Petty was officially declared as the winner. His son Richard drove a 1957 Oldsmobile convertible (No. 43) and finished 57th out of the 59 starters after blowing an engine after eight laps.

In a 1999 interview over the controversial finish, Petty expressed his belief that France Sr. knew Petty won, but purposely called Beauchamp the winner to intentionally cause controversy. Petty stated, "France would have done anything to generate publicity for his racetracks."

1959 Lakewood 500Edit

During a stock car race at Lakewood in Georgia, Petty's son Richard raced against Lee, a teammate to his father on Petty Enterprises. After a side-by-side duel with his father, Richard passed Lee with less than 10 laps to go and went on to win the race. It was one of Richard's first races and he became a first-time Cup series winner during his rookie year. Hours after the race was over, officials changed the official results after a protest was filed by Lee. Lee protested that Richard was actually one lap down and was credited with an extra lap. Richard was demoted to third and Lee was declared the race winner. In the days that followed, Lee was quoted as saying in a newspaper, "I would have protested my mother if I needed to."

1961 Daytona 500Edit

Career Ending CrashEdit

During the twin qualifying events at the 1961 Daytona 500, Petty's son, Richard crashed with Junior Johnson, sending him over the guardrail and leaving him with a sprained ankle and cut hands. During the second race, Johnny Beauchamp caught Lee's bumper, sending both cars into the guardrail, which destroyed both Lee and Johnny's car. Lee would suffer numerous fractures, internal injuries, and a punctured lung. Lee Petty would stay in the Daytona Hospital for four months. Despite the wreck not ending his life, it ended his driving career. But Lee returned to run in a few races until 1964 at 1964 The Glen 151.8.

Petty EnterprisesEdit

He was the father of Richard Petty, who became NASCAR's all-time race winner. With sons Richard and Maurice Petty, he founded Petty Enterprises, which became NASCAR's most successful racing team. He was the grandfather of Kyle Petty, and the great-grandfather of Adam Petty, who died in a crash during a Busch Series practice session at New Hampshire International Speedway. He is also the grandfather of Ritchie Petty, who ran a few races in NASCAR. His nephew Dale Inman worked for Petty Enterprises as Richard's crew chief from the early 1960s until 1981 and during the 1990s.

AwardsEdit

TeamsEdit

DeathEdit

Petty died at 4:50 a.m. on April 5, 2000 at Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, North Carolina, at the age of 86, several weeks after undergoing surgery for an abdominal aortic aneurysm—a tear in the aorta vessel near the stomach that grows until cardiac arrest. Despite the surgery his condition deteriorated and he died of abdominal aortic dissection. He was buried at the Level Cross United Methodist Church Cemetery in Randleman, North Carolina. Lee died just three days after his great-grandson Adam made his Winston Cup Series debut.

Motorsports career resultsEdit

NASCAREdit

(key) (Bold – Pole position awarded by qualifying time. Italics – Pole position earned by points standings or practice time. * – Most laps led.)

Grand National SeriesEdit

NASCAR Grand National Series results
Year Team No. Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 NGNC Pts
1949 Gilmer Goode 38 Buick CLT
17
DAB 2nd 725
Petty Enterprises 42 Plymouth HBO
9
LAN
7
HAM MAR
2
HEI
1
NWS
2
1950 DAB
16
CLT
18
LAN
5
MAR
3
CAN
4
VER
5
DSP
8
MCF
3
CLT
11
HBO
7
DSP
4
HAM
27
DAR
6
LAN
4
NWS VER
7
MAR
2
WIN HBO
1
3rd 1590
1951 DAB
31
CLT
2
NMO
7
GAR HBO
9
ASF
26
NWS
3
MAR
6
CAN
5
CLS
5
CLB
20
DSP
12
GAR GRS
6
BAI
6
HEI
21
AWS
25
MCF
1
ALS
3
MSF
13
FMS
29
MOR
2
ABS
7
DAR
15
CLB
18
CCS
21
LAN
9
CLT DSP
4
WIL HBO
5
TPN PGS MAR
2
OAK NWS
2
HMS JSP
7
ATL
12
GAR NMO
16
4th 2392.25
1952 PBS
2
JSP
22
NWS
9
MAR
4
CLB
2
ATL
3
CCS
7
LAN
3
DAR
7
DSP
4
CAN
23
HAY FMS
3
HBO
6
CLT
4
NIF
16
OSW
5
MON
3
MOR
1*
MCF
4
AWS DAR
6
CCS
1
LAN
1
DSP
2
WIL
2
HBO
5
MAR
3
NWS
13
ATL
2
PBS
4
3rd 6498.5
Lincoln DAB
9
Chrysler MSF
32
PPS
2
1953 Dodge PBS
1*
DAB HAR
3
NWS
4
CLT
11
RCH
1
CCS
19
LAN
2
CLB
5
HCY
15
MAR
1
PMS
8
RSP
8
LOU
1
FFS
3
LAN
2
TCS
5
WIL
9
MCF
3
PIF
1
MOR
3
ATL
3
RVS
4
LCF
3
DAV
3
HBO
3
AWS
7
PAS
3
HCY
4
DAR
11
CCS
2
LAN
6
BLF
6
WIL
4
NWS
5
MAR
2
ATL
3
2nd 7814
1954 PBS
3
JSP
3
ATL
6
OSP OAK
6
NWS
5
HBO
6
CCS
9
WIL
4
RSP
4
LND
10
WGS
7
1st 8649
Chrysler DAB
1*
LAN
9*
MAR
2
SHA
1*
CLT
2
GAR CLB
5
HCY
2
MCF
1
PIF
3
SFS
4
GRS
1
MOR
6
OAK CLT
1
SAN
5
COR
1
DAR
38
CCS
3
CLT
2
LAN
2
MAS
3
MAR
1*
NWS
32
Gary Drake 100 Olds AWS
4
1955 Petty Enterprises 42 Chrysler TCS
1*
PBS
5
JSP
1*
DAB
2
OSP
1*
CLB
6
NWS
4
MGY
6
LAN
7
CLT
15
HCY
4
ASF TUS MAR
2
RCH
3
NCF
4
FOR
1
LIN
14
MCF
20
FON
3
AIR
1*
CLT
9
PIF
3
CLB
13
AWS
18
MOR
2
ALS
3
NYF
3
CLT
10
3rd 7194
Dodge HBO
6
SAN
5
FOR
1*
MAS
19
RSP
22
DAR
21
MGY
4
RSP
9
GPS
10
MAS
11
CLB
19
MAR
8
LVP NWS
2
HBO
23
Carl Krueger 303 Chrysler LAN
28
1956 Petty Enterprises 42 Dodge HCY
3
CLT
3
WSS PBS
5
ASF
5
DAB
12
PBS
12
WIL
13
ATL
5
NWS
8
LAN
4
RCH
7
CLB
19
CON
23
GPS
20
HCY
15
HBO
3
MAR
3
LIN
3
CLT
5
POR EUR NYF
4
MER MAS
6
CLT
3
MCF
21
POR AWS
1
RSP
36
PIF
1
CSF CHI
10
CCF
9
MGY
5
OKL
5*
ROA
13
OBS
22
SAN NOR
7
PIF
14
MYB
15
POR DAR
Wth
CSH
12
CLT
10
LAN
2
POR CLB
7
HBO
12
NWP
9
CLT
8
CCF
21
MAR
21
HCY
11
WIL
9
4th 8324
Fred Frazier 35 Ford DAR
17
1957 Petty Enterprises 42 Dodge WSS CON
5
TIC
11
4th 8528
42M Olds DAB
27
CON
42 WIL
4
HBO
5
AWS
10
NWS
7
LAN
9
CLT
4
PIF
4
GBF
6
POR CCF
8
RCH MAR
5
POR EUR LIN
10
LCS
3
ASP NWP
10
CLB
13
CPS PIF
1
JAC
8
RSP
15
CLT
3
MAS
6
POR HCY
2
NOR
8
LCS
5
GLN
8
KPC LIN
25
OBS
1
MYB
6
DAR
24
NYF
2
AWS
1
CSF SCF LAN
14
CLB
8
CCF
5
CLT
1
MAR
3
NBR
23
CON
2
NWS
2
GBF
5*
1958 FAY
2
DAB
6
CON
1
FAY
9
WIL
1
HBO
4
FAY
25
CLB
4
PIF
12
ATL
25
CLT
4
MAR
11
ODS
4
OBS
8
GPS
6
GBF
2
STR
7
NWS
11
BGS
23
TRN
3
RSD
4
CLB
9
NBS
2
REF
4
LIN
1
HCY
1
AWS
6
RSP
6
MCC
4
SLS
8*
TOR
1
BUF
6
MCF
4
BEL
4
BRR
6
CLB
7
NSV
5
AWS
3
BGS
1*
MBS
5
DAR
19
CLT
10
BIR
3
CSF GAF
2
RCH
2
HBO
5
SAS
1
MAR
7
NWS
9
1st 12232
2 ATL
3
1959 42 FAY
9
DAY
8
DAY
1
HBO
4
CON
3
ATL
17
WIL
4
CLB
3
REF
6*
HCY
3
MAR
1*
CLT
1
GPS
3
WIL
4
1st 11792
43 BGS
2
NWS
1
42 Plymouth TRN
3
NSV
6
ASP PIF
12
ATL
1
CLB
1
RCH
18
BGS
10
AWS
2
DAY
33
HEI
3
CLT
10
MBS
6
CLT
18
NSV
4
AWS
2
BGS
3
GPS
18
CLB
1
DAR
20
HCY
1
RCH
2
CSF HBO
1
MAR
10
AWS
1
NWS
1*
CON
2
1960 CLT
7
CLB
4
DAY DAY
7
DAY
4
CLT
20
NWS
1
PHO CLB
4
MAR
6
HCY
11
WIL
2
BGS
12
GPS
2
AWS
1*
DAR
4
PIF
2
HBO
1*
RCH
1
HMS CLT
56
BGS
2
DAY
4
HEI
1*
MAB
3
MBS
2
ATL
8
BIR
3
NSV
4
AWS
8
PIF
2
CLB
7
BGS
2
DAR
30
HCY
8
CSF GSP
5
HBO
11
MAR
23
NWS
20
CLT
36
RCH ATL
6
6th 14510
43 SBO
7
1961 42 CLT
3*
JSP
1
DAY DAY
15
DAY
DNQ
PIF AWS HMS ATL GPS HBO BGS MAR NWS CLB HCY RCH MAR DAR CLT CLT RSD ASP CLT PIF BIR GPS BGS NOR HAS STR DAY ATL CLB MBS BRI NSV BGS AWS RCH SBO DAR HCY RCH CSF ATL MAR NWS CLT BRI GPS HBO 104th
1962 41 CON AWS DAY DAY DAY CON AWS SVH HBO RCH CLB NWS GPS MBS MAR
5
BGS BRI RCH HCY CON DAR PIF CLT ATL BGS AUG RCH SBO DAY CLB ASH GPS AUG SVH MBS BRI CHT NSV HUN AWS STR BGS PIF VAL DAR HCY RCH DTS AUG MAR NWS CLT ATL 73rd 588
1963 BIR GGS THS RSD DAY DAY DAY PIF AWS HBO ATL HCY BRI AUG RCH GPS SBO BGS MAR NWS CLB THS DAR ODS RCH CLT BIR ATL DAY MBS SVH DTS BGS
4
ASH OBS
18
BRR
6
BRI GPS NSV CLB AWS PIF BGS ONA DAR HCY RCH MAR DTS NWS THS CLT SBO HBO RSD 82nd 800
1964 CON AUG JSP SVH RSD DAY DAY DAY RCH BRI GPS BGS ATL AWS HBO PIF CLB NWS MAR SVH DAR LGY HCY SBO CLT GPS ASH ATL CON NSV CHT BIR VAL PIF DAY ODS
17
OBS BRR ISP GLN
22
LIN BRI NSV MBS AWS DTS ONA CLB BGS STR DAR HCY RCH ODS HBO MAR SVH NWS CLT HAR AUG JAC 109th 244
Daytona 500Edit
Year Team Manufacturer Start Finish
1959 Petty Enterprises Oldsmobile 15 1
1960 Plymouth 14 4
1961 DNQ

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ http://www.wargs.com/other/petty.html
  2. ^ 1959: Petty's photo finish Archived 2009-08-21 at the Wayback Machine; Mark Aumann, Turner Sports Interactive; January 9, 2003; Retrieved October 24, 2007

External linksEdit

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Herb Thomas
Buck Baker
NASCAR Grand National Champion
1954
1958, 1959
Succeeded by
Tim Flock
Rex White
Achievements
Preceded by
None
Daytona 500 Winner
1959
Succeeded by
Junior Johnson