MARVIN PANCH - 5/28/1926 - 12/31/2015 is a former NASCAR driver.  He started his racing career as a car owner in Oakland, California. One week, his driver did not show up, and he raced the car to a third place finish. He won a championship and several races in six years, including five NASCAR races on the West Coast of the United States.  He attempted his first East Coast race at Darlington Raceway in 1953. NASCAR founder Bill France, Sr. convinced him to come East for 1954.[1] Lee Petty invited Panch to race in the 1954 Darlington race, where he finished third. The finish impressed Tom Horbison, who hired Panch to race his car during the 1955 season. His 1955 finishes impressed Pete DePaolo, who hired Panch to race in his factory Ford team. Panch won his first NASCAR race on July 20, 1956 at Montgomery Speedway after starting on the pole position and dominating the entire race.  He won the two races in 1957 for DePaolo. He added another victory in April before Ford ended its factory support in the middle of the season. Panch joined the legendary Holman-

Moody team for the rest of the season. He won three more events in
the season, and finished second in the final points standings.  The end of the Ford factory sponsorship hurt Panch's career. Over the next three seasons he was only able to race in 24 races.  He was offered a ride by legendary NASCAR mechanic Smokey Yunick in the 1961 Daytona 500. The car was a year old 1960 Pontiac. Panch took the offer, and won the 1961 Daytona 500 to put his career back on track.  During the 1962 season he was offered a ride by legendary car owners the Wood 
Brothers. He accepted the ride in the Ford factory sponsored team. Panch had eight wins and 30 Top 3 finishes in 69 races for the team. He stayed with the team from 1962 to March 27, 1966, when Ford had another dispute with NASCAR. In 




JIMMY PARDUE - 10/26/1930 - 9/22/1964 - was a former race car driver who lived in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina.  He made his debut in 1955 at Martinsville, where he finished 28th after suffering hub problems in his Chevrolet Bel Air vehicle. He made his first full-time attempt in 1960 where he had eleven top-tens. In 1963, he won his first race at Richmond, followed up by another win the following year at Dog Track Speedway.  Pardue's car number was 54. A part of his career was during the same time that the popular television show, "Car 54, Where Are You" was running on network television. On the door of his car, he added a small "Car" above the number, and "Here I Am" below it.  In 1964, he was doing a tire test for Goodyear at Charlotte Motor Speedway, when a tire blew and caused him to lose control. The car went through the guardrail in Turns 3 and 4 and came to rest outside the track. The 33-year-old Pardue did not survive the wreck. Despite his season being cut short, he still finished 5th in points.  For his career Pardue competed in 217 CUP races garnering two wins.


STEVE PARK - 8/23/1967 - is a professional race car driver. Park is currently racing in the #35 Waste Management Recycle America Monte Carlo in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.  Park began racing not in an entry-level class, but in NASCAR Modifieds on Long Island as the son of longtime National Modified Championship contender Bob Park. After establishing himself in weekly Modified racing at Riverhead Raceway, he advanced to the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series. He won several races and became a championship contender before moving on to the Busch Series.  Steve Park was first hired by seven time Winston Cup Champion Dale Earnhardt in 1996. Initially, Steve refused to return Dale's phone messages, who was calling with interest to hire Steve, thinking his friends were pranking him.  After finally being convinced that the real Dale Earnhardt was calling him, Steve made one start in the #31 Busch Series car in Charlotte in October that resulted in a 29th place finish. Steve was then given a full time ride in Dale's #3 AC-Delco car for the 1997 Busch Series season where he posted 3 wins and walked away with Rookie of the Year honors.  Steve came to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series as the driver for the start-up #1 Pennzoil team of Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI). In the 1998 season, Park drove five races until an injury from a hard crash at Atlanta Motor Speedway sidelined him Crash Video can be seen here. Park returned later in the year.  During the 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup Series, Park would grab one win at his home track of Watkins Glen, winning the 2000 Global Crossing @ The Glen. In 2001, Park scored an emotional win for DEI by winning the Dura Lube 400 at North Carolina Speedway, as Dale Earnhardt was killed in a crash the week before at Daytona, (Win video here). The same season, driving in the Busch Series, Park was involved in a crash at Darlington Raceway while driving the #31 Whelen Chevrolet owned by Ted Marsh.  Under caution and still driving on the track, the steering wheel came off in Park's hand, causing him to veer left. By complete chance, lap down car Larry Foyt was speeding up to join the lap down line at the same time Park turned.   A video here shows Park was T-boned on the drivers side upon collision with Foyt's car.  The severity of the crash caused a massive brain injury as well as several broken ribs. Foyt said that the car was traveling "well over 100 miles per hour." Park was left with noticeably slurred speech as a result of the accident and some have theorized that he never fully recovered from his injuries.  Park returned to race six times in the 2002 season and had many accidents. The largest incident was a flip at Pocono Raceway when he spun into, and was turned by, teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. and hit the infield barrier with tremendous velocity, flipping over several times.  That video is from YouTube, and can be seen here.  During the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series, Dale Earnhardt, Inc. let Park go midway into the season, and he was effectively "traded" to Richard Childress Racing for Jeff Green, who took over the #1 car from Park with Park taking over the #30 AOL car.  At the end of the 2003 season, Park announced he would not return to the #30 AOL car and would join the Craftsman Truck Series the following season. He joined Las Vegas-owned team Orleans Racing and piloted the #62 truck, vacated by Brendan Gaughan who was offered a ride in the #77 Kodak Nextel Cup car for Penske Racing. Although Steve never won a race in 2004, he finished 9th in CTS driver points, and was voted Most Popular Driver by his peers.  In 2005 Park won the Craftsman Truck Series American Racing Wheels 200, the second race of the season at California Speedway, and became the tenth driver to win a race in all three of NASCAR's top racing series.  Since 2003 Parks has only competed in two CUP events.  One at Daytona in 2010, and one in Talladega in 2011.  For his career Park has 183 CUP starts with two wins.  His Nationwide stats show he ran 56 events, and collected three wins there.  He has over 13 million dollars in career earnings.


BENNY PARSONS - 7/12/1941 - 1/16/2007 - was an American NASCAR driver, and later an announcer/analyst on TBS, ESPN, NBC and TNT. He became famous as the 1973 NASCAR Winston Cup (now Sprint Cup) champion.  He was nicknamed BP and The Professor, the latter in part because of his popular remarks and relaxed demeanor.  Parsons spent his childhood years in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and played football for Millers Creek High School (now known as West Wilkes High School) in Wilkes County. Following high school, he moved to Detroit, Michigan where his father operated a taxicab company. Parsons worked at a gas station and drove cabs in Detroit before beginning his racing career. While working at the gas station one day, a couple of customers towing a race car invited him to a local race track. The driver of the car never showed up for that evening's race, and Parsons drove the car in a race for the first time later that night.  Parsons began his NASCAR career by running one race in 1964 for Holman-Moody.  He joined the NASCAR circuit full-time in 1970 with crew chief, John Hill. He had 23 top-10 finishes in 45 races, a pole at Langley Field Speedway, and finished eighth in the points. He raced in the #72 L.G. DeWitt/DeWitt Racing car.  Parsons had 18 top-10 finishes in 35 starts in 1971, including his first win at South Boston Speedway. He finished eleventh in the points.  In 1972 he had 19 top-10 finishes in 31 races. He finished fifth in the final points standings.  In 1973 he won the NASCAR Championship with only one win, even though David Pearson won eleven races (but Pearson only entered eighteen events). Parsons' consistency likely won him the championship: he had 21 top-10 and 15 top-5 finishes in the 28 events. His improbable return to the track after an early crash cemented his championship at Rockingham, North Carolina. He saw his championship hopes start to fade as he was involved in a lap 13 crash and his car was heavily damaged. He took to the pits to muster whatever he could out of the car and hope for a top five finish in the final standings. The rest of the garage was hoping to see the underdog unseat the mighty Richard Petty and joined in to help Parsons' crew put the car back together. Parsons miraculously got back on the track 136 laps later and completed enough laps to finish 25th and take the 1973 championship.    1973 is considered the start of the modern era in NASCAR, so Parsons is considered the first modern era champion. Parsons also became the only person to win both ARCA and NASCAR championships.  Parsons finished between third and fifth in the final points from 1974 to 1980. He won the 1975 Daytona 500. He switched to the #27 car for M.C. Anderson starting in 1979.  In 1979 at North Wilkesboro Speedway Bobby Allison led most of the race but in the final 150 laps, Darrell Waltrip caught Allison. The two hit together hard and Darrell nailed the front stretch wall. Waltrip began crowding off Allison under the caution and got black flagged for the crowding. Benny Parsons would win the race, but it would be his only win at the North Wilkesboro Speedway.  He won the 1980 World 600 at Charlotte and finished 3rd in points.  In 1981 he starting racing in the #15 Bud Moore car. He had a win at Nashville Speedway USA and he won the final race at Texas World Speedway. He received his final top-ten points place finish, finishing tenth that year.  Parsons qualified for the 1982 Winston 500 at Talladega Superspeedway at 200.175 miles per hour (mph), which was the first NASCAR qualification run over 200 mph.  Parsons raced in about half of the races between 1983 and 1986 for owner Johnny Hayes. Parsons final career victory came in 1984 at the Coca-Cola 500 at Atlanta.  He appeared in the 1983 Burt Reynolds movie Stroker Ace.  Parsons returned to Hendrick Motorsports in 1987 as a substitute for driver Tim Richmond, who was stricken with AIDS and would succumb in 1989. During the first lap of a race at Darlington Raceway, Parsons hit the wall and badly damaged his race car. He was able to continue, but had to make several pit stops for repairs. At one point, his crew chief, Harry Hyde refused to allow Parsons to pit because he and the crew were on an ice cream break. This incident was alluded to in the film, Days of Thunder. Another scene in the film was inspired by a real-life incident at Martinsville Speedway involving Parsons and the notoriously cantankerous Hyde: Hyde sarcastically told Parsons to hit the pace car on a restart because it was the only thing on the track Parsons had not hit.  Parsons raced in the #90 Bulls Eye Ford for Junie Donlavey in his final NASCAR season in 1988 and then moved to the broadcast booth, a position where he would remain until his death.  Parsons did climb into a race car a couple of other times, the first during the 2003 Old Dominion 500 as part of Wally's World segment and he drove a ceremonial victory lap at the last fall race at Rockingham in 2003 in a car similar to the one he won the championship with.  For his career Parsons made 526 CUP starts and won 21 times; including the Daytona 500 and the World 600.  He posted 199 top 5 finishes and won almost 4.5 million dollars.  He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1994.  He was also inducted as one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers.  After his NASCAR career he began announcing as a pit reporter in the 1980s on ESPN and TBS while he was still racing part-time. After permanently retiring from racing in 1988, Parsons became a broadcaster – first on ESPN, and then with NBC and TNT in 2001. He received an ESPN Emmy in 1996, and the ACE Award in 1989.  Parsons co-hosted coverage of Winston Cup Qualifying on North Carolina radio station WFMX with Mark Garrow in the early '90s. He continued to co-host a radio program called "Fast Talk" on Performance Racing Network (PRN) with Doug Rice until his death.  Parsons began having trouble breathing in the summer of 2006. He was diagnosed with lung cancer. He announced later that the treatment had been successful, and that he had a clean bill of health. Parsons had stopped smoking in 1978.  His health prevented him from attending a ceremony in November 2006 where he was to be presented with the Myers Brothers Award, honoring his contributions to racing.  On December 26, 2006, Parsons was readmitted to the hospital and placed in intensive care because of complications relating to lung cancer.  On January 16, 2007, Parsons died of complications from lung cancer treatment in the intensive care unit of the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.


PHIL PARSONS - 6/21/1957 - is a former NASCAR driver and owner of MSRP Motorsports . He is also the younger brother of the late 1973 Winston Cup champion and former NBC/TNT commentator Benny Parsons.  During his racing career, he also embarked on a career as a racing TV commentator, providing color analysis for the Mizlou Television Network. Many of these shows can be seen on TV4U.Com. He is now a commentator for Speed Channel's coverage of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.  Parsons began racing in the Late Model Series and the NASCAR Goody's Dash Series. When the Late Model Series became the Busch Series in 1982, Parsons joined the circuit full-time, driving the #28 Skoal Pontiac for Johnny Hayes. He won his first career race at Bristol Motor Speedway, and led the championship points early in the season. He won the pole in two of the last three races of the season and finished fifth in points.  In 1984, Hayes and Parsons joined the Cup series and ran twenty-two races, posting three top-8 finishes and wound up 24th in the standings, second behind Rusty Wallace for Rookie of the Year.  In 1986, Parsons ran seventeen races, and had a best finish of fifth at Talladega. He had four more top-tens, but finished twenty-seventh in the final standings. The following season, he got his first full-time Cup job with the Jackson brothers when he signed on to drive their #55 Copenhagen Oldsmobile, garnering seven top-tens and a fourteenth-place points finish. In 1988, Parsons led 52 laps at the Winston 500 and won his only career Cup race.  He began 1990 driving the #4 Kodak car for Morgan-McClure Motorsports, but was released three races into the season. He ran at Bristol for Jackson in a one-race deal, finishing 25th, and also drove for Phil Barkdoll and Lake Speed. He made his most starts with the fledgling Diamond Ridge Motorsports, his best finish with them a 21st at Darlington. He did not run the Cup series in 1991, instead running a handful of Busch races in his own equipment leased from Diamond Ridge.  In 1994, Parsons returned to the Busch Series on a limited schedule for Bill Papke. He won his second and final Busch race at the Champion 300, and finished 25th in points after running just seventeen races. He went back to full-time racing in 1995 in the #99 Luxaire Chevy owned by his wife Marcia, posting nine top-tens and finishing eighth in points.  In 1996, he finished in the top-ten in each of the first six races of the season posted a best finish of sixth in points. He also made his final Cup debut that season for SABCO Racing at Darlington, when he replaced Joe Nemechek, who was on bereavement leave (Nemechek's brother John was killed at Homestead the previous week). He finished 31st.  In 2000, he joined ESPN and eventually SPEED as a commentator for truck races. His last start in NASCAR competition came at Kentucky Speedway in 2001. Phil also serves as a Pit Reporter for NASCAR on TNT.



JIM PASCHAL - 12/5/1926 - 7/5/2004 - was a NASCAR Grand National and Winston Cup driver.  Paschal raced from 1949 until 1972 and won 25 races, had 149 Top 5's, and twelve poles over his career.  Elected to the "Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame" in 1977, he won the World 600 in 1964 and the 1967 Charlotte Motor Speedway. He competed in the first 18 Southern 500's 1950–1967 and won 16 of 73 Grand American races 1969–1972.  After retiring from racing, he owned a trucking company and farmed (cattle and poultry). 






DANICA PATRICK - 3/25/1982 - is an American auto racing driver, model and advertising spokeswoman. She is the most successful woman in the history of American open-wheel racing, being the only woman to win in the IndyCar Series as well as holding the highest finish by a woman at the Indianapolis 500 of 3rd place. She competed in the series from 2005 to 2011.  In 2012 she competed in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and occasionally in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.  Starting in kart racing, she later raced Formula Ford in England before moving back to the US and moving up to IndyCars. Patrick was named the Rookie of the Year for both the 2005 Indianapolis 500 and the 2005 IndyCar Series season. With her win in the 2008 Indy Japan 300 (video), Patrick became the first woman to win an Indy car race. She placed 3rd in the 2009 Indianapolis 500, which was both a personal best for her at the track, and the highest finish by a woman in the event's history. Patrick holds the IRL record for most consecutive races running at the finish. As of October 2, 2011, she has completed 50 consecutive races in the running (the next highest total in the record book is 32.  During her time in IndyCar, Patrick drove for Rahal Letterman Racing from 2005–2006, and Andretti Autosport from 2007-2011.  In 2010, Patrick began racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, driving the #7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet Impala for JR Motorsports part-time. She also has an equity stake in her #7 team.  She had her best career finish of 4th in series on March 5, 2011 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway—the best finish by a woman in a NASCAR top-circuit.  After the 2004 racing season, Rahal Letterman Racing officially announced that Patrick would drive in the IRL IndyCar Series for 2005.  On May 29, 2005, Patrick became the fourth woman to compete in the Indianapolis 500, following Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James and Sarah Fisher. After posting the fastest practice speed of the month (229.880 mph) during the morning practice session on the first day of qualifications (May 15), she made an error in the first turn of her first qualifying lap, and failed to capture the pole position, which went to Tony Kanaan.  Patrick's fourth starting position was the highest ever attained for the race by a female driver.  Patrick became the first female driver to lead the race at Indianapolis, first when acquiring it for a lap near the 125-mile mark while cycling through pit stops, and late in the race when she stayed out one lap longer than her rivals during a set of green-flag pit stops. Patrick overcame two crucial errors to finish fourth, the same position she started in. Patrick's car stalled in the pits about halfway through the 500-mile race, dropping her to the middle of the field; and shortly after reclaiming a spot in the top 10, Patrick spun on a caution period just before an intended green flag leading to a four car accident. The accident caused damage to Patrick's car that was limited to the nose and front wing. Her pit crew promptly made repairs, and due to the subsequent yellow, Patrick was able to rejoin the field, losing only one position. When the leaders pitted for fuel on lap 172, Patrick stayed out to take the lead.  On lap 194, eventual race winner and 2005 series champion Dan Wheldon passed her as she was forced to slow in order to conserve fuel.  Patrick was subsequently passed by both Bryan Herta and her teammate Vitor Meira. Patrick's fourth place was the highest ever finish for a female driver at the Indy 500, besting the previous record of ninth set by Janet Guthrie in 1978. Patrick led 19 laps overall.  In 2005, Patrick finished 12th in the IndyCar Series championship, with 325 points. She was named Rookie of the Year for both the 2005 Indianapolis 500 and the 2005 IndyCar Series season.  On July 25, 2006, Patrick announced she had signed a deal to drive for Andretti Green Racing, replacing Bryan Herta in the number 7 Dallara Honda car beginning in 2007.  Patrick ended up starting and finishing eighth in the 91st running of the Indianapolis 500.  She ran as high as 2nd to Tony Kanaan after the mid-race rain delay.  After a pit stop, she dropped back in the field.  Patrick was working her way back to the front until the race was ended under the caution caused by Marco Andretti's accident due to the subsequent rain on lap 166.  On May 24, Patrick raced at the Indianapolis 500.  She finished third behind winner Helio Castroneves and second-place Dan Wheldon.  It was her best finish in five attempts, one spot better than her 2005 finish, and a new record high finish for a female driver in the race.  Patrick won at Twin Ring Motegi in the Indy Japan 300 on April 20, 2008, becoming the first woman to win an IndyCar race, joining the ranks of drag racer Shirley Muldowney, who won three NHRA Top Fuel Championships, as a "first female" winner in the top tier of American motorsports.  Patrick took the Indy Japan 300 after the race leaders were forced to pit for fuel in the final laps.  She finished 5.8594 seconds ahead of the Brazilian pole-sitter Helio Castroneves, who ran out of fuel in the final turns.  In 2010 and 2011 Patrick drove a part-time schedule in the NASCAR Xfinity Series wheeling the #7 Chevy for JR Motorsports and her sponsor GoDaddy.com.  Her first competitive stock car experience was driving the #7 Chevrolet in an ARCA race on February 6, 2010 at Daytona International Speedway, in which she finished in sixth place.  On March 5, 2011, Patrick set racing history again, finishing 4th in the Sam's Town 300 Nationwide Series Race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  Patrick mentioned in the post-race interview that her goal was to get a top 10 finish.  Danica Patrick and her sponsor GoDaddy.com announced on August 25, 2011 that Patrick will be leaving the IndyCar series to compete in the NASCAR Nationwide Series full time for JR Motorsports in 2012, as teammate to Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Cole Whitt.  She won the pole for the season-opening event of the 2012 season, only the second woman to do so in NASCAR history, the first being Shawna Robinson in a Busch Series event in 1994.  It was also announced that Patrick will be running a limited schedule in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, driving for Stewart-Haas Racing in 2012 with Godaddy.com as primary sponsor. On November 4, 2011, in a press conference at Texas Motor Speedway, it was revealed that Patrick will be driving the #10 (Robby Gordon would not give up ownership of the #7) car for Stewart-Haas Racing.  In addition, former Joe Gibbs Racing crew chief Greg Zipadelli would become crew chief for Danica's Cup Series debut at Daytona.  To date Daytona has not been kind to Danica. She has run up from, and even qualified on the pole for the 2012 Nationwide event.  In her Nationwide Daytona debut got caught up in a crash (video)  But as this video shows, in the 150 qualifying race, she was caught up in a major crash not of her doing on the final lap.  In the Daytona 500 itself, so was caught up in a lap one crash, and finished 38th.  In the July Nationwide race she was again caught up in a crash late in the race when she got spun out and into the inside wall (video).  Patrick has remained with Stewart-Haas racing through 2015 and is signed through 2018. Most people felt like she was 'rushed' up into the CUP series too soon.  She has a large learning curve going from Indy car to NASCAR stock cars.  Instead of doing a lot of that learning in the Xfinity series; she has had to do it in the tough CUP series. As Patrick races in the CUP series more; I have expected her to continue to improve; but the 2015 season saw her with only two top ten finishes; and in 2016 her best finish for the season was a disappointing 11th.  Her best finish to date is a sixth at Atlanta. Patrick has hosted several TV shows on Spike TV, including "Powerblock", and she was featured in the 2005 documentary Girl Racers.  Patrick was featured on the cover of the June 6, 2005 issue of Sports Illustrated, making her the first Indianapolis 500 driver on the cover since Al Unser, in victory lane, following his upset fourth victory in 1987.  After her participation in the 2005 Indianapolis 500, she was asked by Playboy to have her pictures taken to be published in a future edition of its magazine.  She declined the offer.  Patrick appears in the February 15, 2008 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue (video).  She is featured in a 4-page photo spread.  Patrick made a second appearance in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in February 2009, posing with a Shelby Cobra 427.  Patrick made her acting debut in the February 10, 2010 episode of CSI: NY where she played a racing driver suspected of murder.  To date for her racing career Patrick has competed in 115 Indy car events. finishing in the top five 19 times; with 53 top 10's.  She ran in the lone ARCA event getting a 6th place finish.  In her brief NASCAR career she has raced in 61 Nationwide events, with a best finish of 4th, and won the Pole for the Daytona event.  As 2017 starts she has ran in 154 CUP races with a best finish of 6th at Atlanta in 2014.



DAVID PEARSON - 12/22/1934 - is a former American stock car racer from Spartanburg, South Carolina.  Pearson began his NASCAR career in 1960 and ended his first season by winning the 1960 NASCAR Rookie of the Year award.  He won three championships (1966, 1968, and 1969) every year he ran the full schedule in NASCAR's Grand National Series (now Sprint Cup Series).  NASCAR described his 1974 season as an indication of his "consistent greatness"; that season he finished third in the season points having competed in only 19 of 30 races.  At his finalist nomination for NASCAR Hall of Fame's inaugural 2010 class, NASCAR described Pearson as "... the model of NASCAR efficiency during his career. With little exaggeration, when Pearson showed up at a race track, he won.  Pearson ended his career in 1986, and currently holds the second position on NASCAR's all-time win list with 105 victories; as well as achieving 113 pole positions.  Pearson was successful in different venues of racing; he won three times on road courses, 48 times on superspeedways, 54 time on Short tracks, and had 23 dirt track wins.  Pearson was nicknamed the "Fox" (and later the "Silver Fox") for his calculated approach to racing.  Pearson's career paralleled Richard Petty's, the driver who won the most races in NASCAR history.  They accounted for 63 first/second place finishes (with the edge going to 

Pearson). Petty said, "Pearson could beat you on a short track, he could beat you on a superspeedway, he could beat you on a road course, he could beat you on a dirt track. It didn't hurt as bad to lose to Pearson as it did to some of the others, because I knew how good he was.  Pearson was born in Whitney, South Carolina, near Spartanburg, in an area known for its moonshine roots.  When Pearson was young, he climbed a tree at the local stock car racing track (Spartanburg Fairgrounds) to see the races.  Pearson said, "I'd always been interested in cars, and I decided right then that was what I wanted to do with my life."  Pearson began racing in NASCAR's Grand National series during the 1960 season shortly after winning the 1959 track champion at Greenville-Pickens Speedway.  His first NASCAR start was the first 1960 Daytona 500 qualifying race and he finished 17th in a self-owned car that he had purchased from Jack White.  He started 22 events that season, finishing 23rd in season points and was voted the 1960 NASCAR Rookie of the Year.  His season was highlighted by a second-place finish at Gamecock Speedway in Sumter, South Carolina, and a fourth place finish at Hickory Motor Speedway and fifth after starting on the pole position at his hometown track in Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds in Spartanburg.  When Pearson bent the frame of his own race car early in the 1961 season, he began working as a house roofer in Spartanburg to support his family, which included two sons.  Darel Dieringer had a contract dispute with a tire company and was not able to compete in the inaugural World 600 at Charlotte.  Littlejohn was at the track, and he recommended that car builder Ray Fox hire Pearson.  Pearson was unsure if he should join the team, and Fox was not convinced that he should trust his car to the relatively untested 26-year-old driver.  After Pearson had a successful test run, he qualified the car with the third fastest time behind Richard Petty and Joe Weatherly.  Pearson raced his way into the lead early in the event and was the leader after the first round of pit stops.  Pearson and Petty were the only two cars on the lead lap by a restart on the 311th lap (of 400).  Petty made up six seconds on Pearson in 20 laps before Petty had to retire with a blown engine.  Pearson held a three lap lead over Fireball Roberts and was leading late in the race until he ran over some debris on the backstretch and blew a tire with only two laps remaining.  Pearson drove the car around the track slowly for the final lap at approximately 20 miles per hour to take the victory.  He started in 19 races during the 1961 season and he had three wins to finish thirteenth in season points, winning his first NASCAR race in a Fox-prepared car at Concord Speedway.  Later in the season, he won the Firecracker 250 at Daytona and the Dixie 400 at Atlanta.  1963, he hooked up with car owner Cotton Owens; and in 1964 the duo claimed eight wins, and finished third in the championship, which was won by Petty for the first time.  They would stay together through the 1967 season and Pearson would win 27 times.  NASCAR banned the Mopar Hemi engine in 1965, so Petty and Pearson boycotted many races rather than compete with a non-competitive engine against Ford and Mercury drivers.  Both competed in drag racing. Pearson drove a Dodge Dart station wagon nicknamed the "Cotton Picker" for Owens.  In his first full time season, Pearson won his first of three NASCAR championships in 1966.  He won 15 of 49 events, which was the second most in NASCAR history at that time.  In 1968 Pearson ad Owens split; and Pearson moved to the Holman-Moody race team driving the #17 Ford.  This was Pearson's second season of running the full schedule, Petty and Pearson each won 16 races; Pearson won the championship and Petty finished third.  Pearson won his third and final championship in his final season running the full schedule in 1969.  The championship tied Pearson with Lee Petty for the most championships in NASCAR history (Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson hold the current record with seven titles each).  He started out the season at the 1969 Daytona 500 by being the first driver to qualify faster than 190 miles per hour with a speed of 190.029 mph.  After winning the first Daytona 500 Qualifying race, Pearson led the 500 under caution with 13 laps remaining and changed only his right side tires in a two-tire pit stop. Pete Hamilton did a four-tire stop and passed Pearson after the restart for the victory.  The 1970 season started with Pearson competing part-time, like he would for the rest of his career.  In 19 starts, he won a single race (Darlington) and earned two pole positions (Bristol, Darlington) to finished 23rd in points.  R. J. Reynolds began sponsoring NASCAR in 1971 and the Grand National series was re-titled the Winston Cup Series.  Holman Moody and Pearson split near the middle of the season after Pearson refused to take a 10% pay cut .  He won 30 races driving for Holman-Moody.  At R. J. Reynolds' request, NASCAR began cutting down on the number of races in 1972 season by eliminating midweek races.  It also dropped 13 short tracks and had a 31-race schedule.  Pearson began racing for the Wood Brothers that season.  He won later that season at the Firecracker 400, a race that he would win three straight times.  While Pearson only started in 18 (of 28) races during 1973, he was named the NASCAR driver of the Year after finishing eighth in points.  He won 11 of those 18 races in the Wood Brothers Mercury.  His 61% win percentage is the highest in NASCAR history.  The 1976 Daytona 500 is known for the final lap battle between Pearson and Petty.  Petty was leading Pearson going into the last lap by a couple of car lengths.  Pearson used the draft to attempt a slingshot pass against Petty at the end of the back stretch on the last lap,  but his car pushed high into the final turn while going around another car.  Petty edged under Pearson, and their cars crashed into each other on the front stretch in the final turns.  See finish of race here.  They both spun out into the infield grass approximately 100 feet short of the finish line.  The third place car was over a lap behind the disabled cars.  With Petty unable to restart his car, Pearson slowly drove his Wood Brothers Mercury over the grassy infield past the finish line for his only Daytona 500 victory.  In 2007, ESPN rated the race as the fourth most interesting Daytona 500.  He won a series-best ten races in 1976, but finished ninth in season points after competing in only 22 of 30 events.  Pearson also won the 1976 Southern 500 (video).  In March 1978, Pearson won his 100th Winston Cup race at Rockingham.  Pearson began 1979 by winning the pole position at year's first race at Riverside; and was the final season racing for the Wood Brothers, with his last race happening at Darlington.  After a miscommunication, he left the pits without waiting for the pit crew to place lug nuts on the car and the tires fell off the car when he reached the end of pit lane.  Pearson quit the team after the race.  Later during the season, Rod Osterlund's rookie driver, Dale Earnhardt, suffered a shoulder injury.  Osterlund hired Pearson to replace Earnhardt driving the #2 for four races; he collected the pole position at Michigan and won the 1979 Southern 500.  Pearson raced for Hoss Ellington in nine races driving the Hawaiian Tropic Chevy during the 1980 season.  They raced only a big tracks like Daytona, Michigan and Atlanta where they had a shot to win.  He won the 1980 CRC Chemicals Rebel 500 at Darlington for his final Cup win.  For the rest of his career Pearson raced just a hand full of races each season.  In 1981 he drove for Joel Halpern with Halpern Enterprises as the Sponsor.  Pearson raced in twelve races during 1985, the first eight for Hoss Ellington and the final four for himself.  1986 was Pearson's final season in NASCAR.  He ran some races for car owner Hoss Ellington and for some Pearson drove his own car.  He drove the #21 Chattanooga Chew #21 in his final start which would come at Michigan.  After a DNF at Charlotte, he finished tenth in his final race at the August Michigan event.  The National Motor Sports Press Association's Hall of Fame inducted Pearson in 1991.  He was inducted in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Charlotte Motor Speedway Court of Legends in 1998.  He was one of ten finalists for the Driver of the Quarter Century (1967–1991) sponsored by a United States businessman; Mario Andretti won the award.  In the middle of 1999, Sports Illustrated used votes from 40 NASCAR insiders to name Pearson the Top Stock Car Driver of the Twentieth Century.  In 2009, Pearson was one of the 25 nominees for the first class to be inducted in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.  In 2010, Pearson was named to the 2011 class in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.  He received the most votes, from 50 of 53 voters. "I am just proud that that many people thought enough to vote for me," Pearson said.  For his career Pearson ran in 574 CUP events, and garnered 105 win (second most in all time history)  He also had 301 top 5 finishes, and he won 133 poles. He won almost 3 million dollars for his career.  He won the CUP championship three times; the only three years he raced the full season and competed for the title.  A David Pearson Tribute video can be found here.





ROGER PENSKE - 2/20/1937 - see under "owners'








ADAM PETTY - 7/10/1980 - 5/12/2000 - was a professional racing driver. He was the first fourth-generation driver in NASCAR history. Petty was raised in High Point, North Carolina into stock car racing "royalty". The son of Kyle Petty, he was widely expected to become the next great Petty, following in the footsteps of his father, grandfather Richard, and great-grandfather Lee. He was the first known fourth-generation athlete in all of modern American motor sports to participate in the chosen profession of his generations.  Petty began his career in 1998, shortly after he turned 18. Like his father Kyle, he won his first ARCA RE/MAX Series race, in the #45 Sprint/Spree Pontiac at Lowe's Motor Speedway.  Petty drove a #45 Sprint Chevrolet in the Busch Series full-time in 1999 after a successful season in the Midwestern short track American Speed Association season in the #45 Spree Pontiac. He also finished sixth in his first Busch Series race at Daytona and had a best finish of fourth place that year. However, he failed to qualify for three races, and finished 20th overall in points.  Petty Enterprises planned to give Adam a Winston Cup ride in 2001 and to give him seven starts in Cup in 2000, along with a full Busch campaign in a car sponsored by Sprint. He struggled early in the Busch season, but managed to qualify in his first attempt at Winston Cup during the DirecTV 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 2. He qualified 33rd and ran in the middle of the pack most of the day before his engine expired, forcing him to finish 40th. Lee Petty, Adam's great-grandfather, and 3-time NASCAR Champion, lived to see his debut, but died just three days later.  Kyle and his father never got to run in the same CUP event.  Kyle failed to qualify for the lone CUP race Adam raced in.  Kyle DID fill in as a relief driver and race in the event, but it was after Adam had already fallen out with a blown motor.   On May 12, 2000 Petty was practicing for the Busch 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series (then Busch Grand National Series) race at the New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. While entering turn three, his car lost traction and broke loose. He over corrected and went head-on into the wall. Petty was killed instantly due to a basilar skull fracture.  Adam's death, along with 1998 Winston Cup Rookie of the Year Kenny Irwin, Jr.'s at the same track (on July 7, 2000) led NASCAR to mandate the use of a kill switch on the steering wheel and the adoption of the Whelen Modified Tour restrictor plate for the September Cup race; the plate was abandoned after that race. It was not until after the death of Dale Earnhardt Sr., under similar circumstances, that NASCAR mandated head-and-neck restraints.  Kyle Petty, Adam's father, who drove the #44 car at the time of the crash, drove Adam's #45 car in the Busch Series for the remainder of 2000. He then used the #45 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series throughout the rest of his driving career. For two years, Kyle did not race at Loudon. He returned in 2002, only to leave again until 2005. His final race at Loudon was in 2007.  In October 2000 five months after Adam's death, his family partnered with Paul Newman and the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp to begin the Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, North Carolina, as a memorial to Adam. The camp has received support from many NASCAR drivers, teams, and sponsors, including Cup Series sponsor Sprint, which has placed a replica of Adam's 1998 car in the camp. The Victory Junction Gang camp began operation in 2004, and is an official charity of NASCAR.  Here is a Video Tribute to Adam Petty


KYLE PETTY - 6/2/1960 - is a former American NASCAR driver and is currently a co-host for NASCAR RaceDay and panel member for NASCAR Smarts which are both on SPEED. He also commentates for TNT in the summer. He is the son of racer Richard Petty, grandson of racer Lee Petty, and father of Adam Petty. He and his wife Pattie have two other children: Austin and Montgomery Lee. He last drove the #45 Dodge Charger for Petty Enterprises, where he formerly served as CEO. He appeared in the 1983 Burt Reynolds movie Stroker Ace. Petty began racing at a young age and made his major-league stock car debut at the age of 18. He won the very first race he entered: the 1979 Daytona ARCA 200, in one of his father's mothballed 1978 Dodge Magnum race cars; at the time becoming the youngest driver to win a major-league stock car race. Later in the season, he made his Winston Cup Series debut; again driving a passed down STP Dodge Magnum numbered #42 (a number used by his grandfather Lee Petty) for his family's team. He ran five races and had a ninth-place finish in his first series race at Talladega. In 1983, he picked up funding from 7-Eleven and switched his number to #7 accordingly. He had only two top-ten finishes but improved to thirteenth in the standings. He followed that season up with six top-tens the following year, but fell three spots in points. Petty took his number and sponsorship to Wood Brothers Racing in 1985, where he had a then career-high seven top-fives and his first top-ten points finish. The next season, he won his first career race at Richmond and finished tenth in the final standings. In 1987, he switched to the #21 and received new sponsorship from Citgo, as well as picking up a win at Charlotte. He failed to pick up a win in 1988, and fell to thirteenth in points, causing him to be released from the ride. He signed on to a part-time schedule in 1989 for the new SABCO Racing team. Originally beginning the season unsponsored, he and SABCO later picked up sponsorship from Peak Antifreeze after he drove their car to a top-ten finish at the Daytona 500. Peak became the team's full-time sponsor in 1990, and Petty finished eleventh in points after winning the spring race at North Carolina Speedway with a 26 second margin of victory. Mello Yello would replace Peak as sponsor of the #42 in 1991, and Petty was running eleventh in points when he suffered a broken leg at a crash at Talladega, causing him to miss the next eleven races. In 1992, Petty rebounded to a career-best fifth place finish in points, as well winning two separate races that season, the only time he was to have accomplished this feat in his career. Kyle came very close to winning the championship in 1992, he had a flat tire at Phoenix (2nd to last race) and broke an engine in the last race otherwise he would have been neck and neck with Elliott and Kulwicki for the title. For the 1997 season, Petty formed his own team, PE2 Motorsports, and fielded the #44 Hot Wheels Pontiac Grand Prix for himself. He had two top-five finishes and finished 15th in points. He had one top-ten early in 2000 when his son Adam died while practicing for a Busch Series race at New Hampshire International Speedway. He missed the next two races and returned to drive the #44 for the rest of the summer, before moving to the Busch Series full-time to finish out the season in Adam's #45 Sprint Chevrolet. In 2001, Petty brought the #45 to Cup full-time and switched to Dodge. In 2002 and had a top-ten at Talladega, raising him to 22nd in the points. After 2002, Sprint left the team and Brawny/Georgia Pacific became his new sponsor. He missed three races in 2003 (including one due to injury). In 2005, he competed in every race for the first time in three years and had two top-tens and finished 27th in points. At the 2007 Coca-Cola 600, Petty had his first top-five finish in ten years, finishing 3rd in the Coke Zero Dodge. He later took several races off to work as a color commentator for TNT's Nextel Cup coverage, replacing Benny Parsons. He returned to the 45 after a five race break but surrendered the car for two additional races later in the season. Early in the 2008 season, Petty Enterprises was purchased by Boston Ventures, causing Petty to step aside as the team's CEO. Currently Kyle is a race commentator, and does the pre-race show on SPEED.  Any time he appears on television on Speed he wears a hat with a number 45 with a black line across the number in memory of his son Adam. He appears on Trackside, Victory Lane and NASCAR Smarts as a television personality. Petty is active in many charitable causes, such as the Victory Junction Gang Camp for terminally-ill children, which he established to honor his late son, as well as an annual charity motorcycle ride across the country called the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America.  For his career Petty competed in 829 CUP races and has 8 wins, and 52 top 5's.  He has over 32 million in earnings.  He also ran 55 races on the Nationwide series but did not get any wins.  He ran 12 events in the Grand Am Rolex series, winning the GT class in the Bully Hill Vineyards 250 co-driving with John Andretti.


LEE PETTY - 3/14/1914 - 4/5/2000 - was an American stock car driver in the 1950s and 1960s. He was one of the pioneers of NASCAR, and one of its first superstars. He was born near Randleman, North Carolina.  Lee Arnold Petty was thirty-five years old before 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 5 in season points for NASCAR's first eleven seasons. He won the NASCAR Championship on three occasions and the inaugural Daytona 500 in 1959.  In the first 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 Dynamic 88 (#42), Beauchamp a 1959 Ford Thunderbird (#73) and Weatherly a 1959 Chevrolet (#48), all coupés. Beauchamp was declared the unofficial 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."  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 the winner.  Video of 1959 Daytona 500 here.  He is the father of Richard Petty, who would become NASCAR's all-time race winner.   IN 1961 Lee Petty would have a major crash Johnny Beauchamp (video) at Daytona tearing out the fourth turn wall and flying out of the track.  He almost died, and it effectively ended his career.  With sons Richard and Maurice Petty, he founded Petty Enterprises, which became NASCAR's most successful racing team. Petty Enterprises ran from 1949 until 2008. The team closed shop in January 2009 and merged with Gillett Evernham Motorsports after sponsorship could not be found for any of the cars in the Petty stable; the merged team took the name Richard Petty Motorsports, adopting a logo similar to that of Petty Enterprises' logo.  He was the grandfather of Kyle Petty, and great grandfather of Adam Petty who died in a racing accident during a NASCAR 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.  Lee 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 a stomach aneurysm.  Petty was selected as one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers, elected to the North Carolina Hall of Fame, Motorsports Hall of Fame, International Motorsports Hall of Fame, and the NASCAR Hall of Fame.


RICHARD PETTY - 7/2/1931 - is a former NASCAR driver who raced in the Strictly Stock/Grand National Era and the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. "The King", as he is nicknamed, is most well known for winning the NASCAR Championship seven times (Dale Earnhardt is the only other driver to accomplish this feat), winning a record 200 races during his career, winning the Daytona 500 a record seven times, and winning a record 27 races (ten of them consecutively) in the 1967 season alone.  He also collected a record number of poles (127) and over 700 top-ten finishes in his 1,185 starts, including 513 consecutive starts from 1971–1989. Petty is a member of the inaugural class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Hall in 2010.  Petty is a second generation driver. His father, Lee Petty, won the first Daytona 500 in 1959 and was also a 3 time NASCAR champion. Richard's son, Kyle Petty, is also a well-known NASCAR driver. Richard's grandson, Adam Petty, was killed in an accident at New Hampshire International Speedway on May 12, 2000, five weeks after the death of Lee. Meanwhile, Adam's brother Austin works on day-to-day operations of the Victory Junction Gang Camp, a Hole in the Wall Gang camp established by the Petty's after Adam's death. Petty married his wife Lynda in 1958.  The family still resides in Petty's home town of Level Cross, North Carolina and operates Richard Petty Motorsports. The Richard Petty Museum is in nearby Randleman, North Carolina. Throughout Petty's career, but especially during his prime, Petty was known to stand for hours – backed against a fence, signing autographs to everyone who asked.  He began his NASCAR career on July 19, 1958, 16 days after his 21st birthday. His first race was at War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo, New York. In 1959, Richard was named NASCAR Rookie of the Year, after he produced 9 top 10 finishes, including six Top 5 finishes.  1959 was also when the famous "Petty Blue" was introduced.  When asked directly about the "Petty Blue" color, Richard related, years later, that indeed, it had been a fluke. Late in the 1959 season, after having to rebuild one of the '59 Plymouth Fury's, Maurice told Richard that they didn't have enough white paint for the painting of the entire car. Being brought up to waste nothing, Richard found some dark blue paint, but not in a sufficient amount to paint the whole car. Richard said they he looked at Maurice, and Maurice looked at him, and they just dumped the two paints into one tub, then proceeded to paint the Plymouth in the color that came out. When they got done, they were impressed themselves with the hue. Lee came back from an out of town race, and marveled at how that color set the car off. Almost electric is what he said. Of course, Richard and Maurice had to scramble to remember the right mix. Once they did, the formula became their secret, even to the point of being patented by a paint company as Petty Blue.  When the 1960 season dawned, their was only one color on the Petty cars. The "electric" Petty Blue. It became their trademark.  In 1960, he finished 2nd in the NASCAR Grand National Points Race  1963 was his breakout year, winning at tracks like Martinsville and Bridgehampton. In 1964, driving a potent Plymouth with a new Hemi engine, Richard Petty won his first Daytona 500 leading 184 of the 200 laps, en route to 9 victories, earning over $114,000 and his first Grand National championship.  Joining in the Chrysler boycott of NASCAR due to the organizing body's ban of the Hemi engine, Richard Petty and Petty Enterprises went drag racing. In a Barracuda that they called "Outlawed," Petty attracted large crowds wherever his raced. The name "Outlawed" came from when NASCAR outlawed the 426 Hemi from competition. Richard said "If you can't beat them then Outlaw them".  Unfortunately, on 28 February 1965, the same day that a 100-miler was being run at the Asheville-Weaverville Speedway in Weaverville, North Carolina, Petty and "Outlawed" were at Southeastern Dragway, in Dallas, Georgia, on February 28, 1965.  During a match race with Arnie Beswick, the Barracuda experienced transmission problems off the line. As Petty tried to find second gear, the car started to get loose. When Petty finally got it into second gear the car suddenly broke loose, turned towards the spectator area, and hit the embankment. The Petty Blue Barracuda vaulted the embankment, being launched almost straight up, which carried the car over the fence that was supposed to protect the spectators, and into the crowd. Seven people were injured when the Barracuda slammed into the people who had come to watch the match races. One of these suffered severe head injuries, but there was an eighth victim, Wayne Dye - an eight-year old from Austell, Georgia. He died of his injuries before he reached the hospital. Petty suffered light injuries in the violent crash, but the shock of the young boy's death stayed with him for years.  The car was hauled home to the Petty junk yard in the woods behind the shops never to run again.  Petty, his father Lee, and Chrysler Corporation faced lawsuits totaling more than $1 million.  On February 27, 1966 Petty overcame a 2-lap deficit to win his second Daytona 500 when the race was stopped on lap 198 of 200 because of a thunderstorm. This made him the first driver to win the event twice. 1967 was a milestone year. In that year, Petty won 27 of the 48 races he entered, including a record 10 wins in a row (between August 12 and October 1, 1967). He won his second Grand National Championship. One of the 27 victories was the Southern 500 at Darlington, which would be his only Southern 500 victory. His dominance in this season earned him the nickname "King Richard". He had previously been known as "the Randleman Rocket". In 1969 Petty switched brands to Ford, due to his belief the Plymouth was not competitive on super-speedways; he wanted a slippery Dodge Daytona but Chrysler executives insisted he stay with Plymouth. He would win 10 races and finish second in points. In 1970 he switched back to the sleek newly designed Plymouth Superbird (video) with shark nose and goalpost wing.  On February 14, 1971, Petty won his third Daytona 500, driving a brand-new (for 1971) Plymouth Road Runner and beating team mate, Buddy Baker, by little more than a car length en route to another historic year, making him the first driver to win the event three times. He won 20 more races, became the first driver to earn more than $1 million in career earnings, and claimed his third Grand National Championship. At the end of the 1971 season Chrysler told the Pettys they would no longer receive direct factory funding support, causing the Petty team great concern. In 1972, STP (motor oil company) began what would turn into a successful 28 year sponsorship arrangement with Petty, however it marked the end of Petty's famous all "Petty Blue" paint job. STP at first insisted on an all STP orangish-red color for the cars, but Petty balked, and after an all-night negotiation session the familiar STP orange/Petty blue paint scheme was agreed to as a compromise that would find its way to all STP racing operations, most notably Gordon Johncock's 1982 Indianapolis 500 winner.  In 1973 Petty would go on to win his fourth Daytona 500 after Buddy Baker's engine gave out with six laps left. One year later, Petty won the Daytona "450" (shortened 20 laps {50 by miles} due to the energy crisis) for the fifth time en route to his fifth Winston Cup Championship.  The year 1975 was another historic year for Petty, as he won the World 600 for the first time in his career, one of 13 victories en route to his sixth Winston Cup. The 13 victories is a modern (1972 to present) NASCAR record for victories in a season, and was tied in 1998 by Jeff Gordon, although Gordon won 13 out of 33 races, compared to Petty's 13 out of 30 races ]. In 1976, Petty was involved in one of the most famous finishes in NASCAR history. Petty and David Pearson were racing on the last lap out of turn 4 in the Daytona 500. As Petty tried to pass Pearson, at the exit of turn 4, Petty's right rear bumper hit Pearson's left front bumper. Pearson and Petty both spun and hit the front stretch wall. Petty's car came to rest just yards from the finish line, but his engine stalled. Pearson's car had hit the front stretch wall and clipped another car, but his engine was running. Pearson was able to drive his car toward the finish line, while Petty's car would not restart. Pearson passed Petty on the infield grass and won the Daytona 500. Petty was given credit for second place.  Petty won two more Daytona 500s in 1979 and 1981. In 1979, he snapped a 45-race drought, winning his sixth Daytona 500, the first to be televised live flag-to-flag; it would become notorious for a fistfight between competitors following the controversial finish. Petty won the race as the first and second place cars of Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough crashed on the last lap. Petty held off Darrell Waltrip and A.J. Foyt. The race is also regarded as being the genesis of the current surge in NASCAR's popularity. The East Coast was snowed in by a blizzard, giving CBS a captive audience. The win was part of Richard's seventh and last NASCAR Winston Cup Championship. Petty was able to hold off Waltrip to win the title in 1979.  In the 1981 Daytona 500, Petty used a "fuel only" for his last pit stop, with 25 laps to go, to outfox Bobby Allison and grab his seventh and final Daytona 500 win.  In 1983, he broke his 43 race win-less streak from 1982 with a win in the 1983 Carolina 500, barely edging out a young Bill Elliott.  After a controversial win at Charlotte in October 1983 (win No. 198), in which Petty's brother Maurice, who built the team's engines, was accused of running an illegal engine (it was much larger than the allowed 358 cubic engines, NASCAR officials determined in a post-race inspection), Petty left the race team his father founded for the 1984 season. He spent '84 and '85 driving for Mike Curb before returning to Petty Enterprises in 1986.  On July 4, 1984, Petty won his 200th (and what would turn to be his final victory) race at the Firecracker 400 at Daytona International Speedway. The race was memorable: On lap 158, Doug Heveron crashed, bringing out the yellow caution flag, essentially turning lap 158 into the last lap as the two drivers battled back to the start-finish line. Petty and Cale Yarborough diced it out on that lap, with Yarborough drafting and taking an early lead before Petty managed to cross the start/finish line only a fender-length ahead.  President Ronald Reagan was in attendance, the first sitting president to attend a NASCAR race. Reagan celebrated the milestone with Petty and his family in victory lane.  On October 1, 1991, Richard Petty announced he would retire after the 1992 season. Petty's final top ten finish came at the 1991 Budweiser at the Glen which was the same race J. D. McDuffie was killed in a fifth lap accident. Petty chose to run the entire 1992 season, not just selected events as other drivers have done before retirement. His year-long Fan Appreciation Tour took him around the country, participating in special events, awards ceremonies, and fan-related meetings.  In his final year behind the wheel, he had two notable races.  At the 1992 Pepsi 400 on July 4, Petty qualified second. Before the start of the race, he was honored with a gift ceremony which included a visit from President George H. W. Bush. At the start, Petty led the first five laps, but dropped out on lap 84 due to fatigue.  Despite the tremendously busy appearance schedule, and mediocre race results, Petty managed to qualify for all 29 races in 1992. On his final visit to each track, Petty would lead the field on the pace lap to salute the fans. Petty's final race was the season-ending Hooter's 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The race was notable in that it was the first career start for Jeff Gordon, and it was the 2nd closest points championship in NASCAR history, with six drivers mathematically eligible to win the championship. A record 160,000 spectators attended the race, which went down to the final lap with Bill Elliott winning the race, and Alan Kulwicki winning the championship by 10 points over Elliott after Davey Allison dropped out early after a crash.  On the 94th lap, Petty became tangled up in an accident, and his car caught fire. Petty pulled the car off the track, and climbed out of the burning machine uninjured. His pit crew worked diligently with less than 20 laps to go to get the car running again, and with two laps to go, Petty pulled out of the pits and was credited as running at the finish in his final race. He took his final checkered flag finishing in 35th position. After the race, Petty circled the track (video) to salute the fans one final time in his trademark STP Pontiac.  Of all the races he won, Petty is also remembered for three of the many incredible crashes that he survived.  In the 1970 Rebel 400 at Darlington, Petty was injured when his Plymouth Road Runner cut a tire and slammed hard into the wall separating the track from the pit area. The car flipped several times before coming to rest on its side. This accident injured Petty's shoulder, and helped Bobby Isaac to win the 1970 Grand National Championship. During the accident, Petty's head hit the track pavement several times, which led NASCAR to mandate the installation of the Petty-developed safety net that covers the driver's side window.  n a 1980 race at Pocono, Richard slammed the Turn 2 wall, nearly flipping the car. Petty barely escaped breaking his neck in the wreck and kept his injury hidden from NASCAR officials for the next races, knowing that another wreck could possibly kill him. Such an incident could never happen today, because of modern NASCAR rules requiring an official series medical liaison to clear a driver after a crash.  In the 1988 Daytona 500, Petty's crash on Lap 106 hurled parts all over the front stretch at the Daytona International Speedway. After several flips, Petty walked away with no serious injuries, except for temporary sight loss due to excessive g-forces.  For his career Petty ran 1184 CUP events, and collected 200 wins.  He also had 555 top five finishes.  He also ran 15 races in the Convertible and won one event (Columbia SC in 1959).  among his awards he was voted into the initial class of NASCAR's Hall of Fame, he was also inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, Motorsports Hall of Fame of America and was named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers.  He  was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President George Bush in 1992, the first motorsports athlete ever to be honored with this award.


TOM PISTONE - 3/17/1929 - nicknamed "Tiger" Tom Pistone is a former NASCAR Grand National driver from Chicago.  He made his Grand National debut in 1955.  He won two races and finished 6th in championship points in the 1959 season for Carl Rupert, his best season statistically.  He was away from NASCAR in 1963 and 1964, but returned in 1965 to drive in 33 races for Glen Sweet and Emory Gilliam, a career high, but only 8 top tens and a 32nd place points finish came of it.  His final and 130th cup race came in 1968.  He won two NASCAR Convertible Division races.  In 1960, he wore a life preserver and an oxygen tube in his car while racing at Daytona for fear of running into the lake in the middle of the speedway and drowning. This happened after Tommy Irwin ran into the lake in the first qualifying race. Irwin did not drown, however.  On October 17, 2010, Pistone was one of the year's 15 inductees to the Racers' Reunion Hall of Fame, located at Memory Lane Museum in Mooresville NC.  Still active in racing at age 81, Pistone has a thriving race car parts business in Charlotte, NC, and can often be found mentoring young drivers at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He prepares and crews for several Legends and Bandolero drivers in the Winter Heat and Summer Shootout series.  In April 2011, Pistone appeared on an episode of The History Channel's American Pickers in which he sold items to be placed in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.  For his career Pistone ran in 130 CUP events with 29 top five finishes.  He ran in 34 Convertible events winning the two previously mentioned (Chicago, and Martinsville)





LENNIE POND - 8/11/1940 - 2/10/2016 - is a former NASCAR driver. He won NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year honors in 1973, and won his only race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1978 for Ronnie Elder and Harry Ranier. Pond set a then world record speed of 174.700 miles per hour in winning the caution free 500-mile race.  Lennie W. Pond grew up in the Village of Ettrick, Virginia and had a couple cars that he used to race on his parents farm, which is where he got his taste for cars going fast. Ettrick has been home to Lennie all his life. Pond started being involved in racing probably in the mid-1950s. Lennie started racing modifieds on dirt tracks, then went to asphalt tracks, then to late-model tracks. In 1973, Pond started to run Winston Cup races, his last race with Winston Cup was in 1989 at Richmond International Raceway for Junie Donlavey. Lennie got to run all three tracks here—dirt, asphalt and the new 3/4 mile track.  His career totals include 234 career stars, one win, 39 top fives, 88 top tens, five poles, and a best championship finish of 5th in 1976. He beat out Darrell Waltrip for rookie of the year honors in 1973. Before retiring Lennie raced his last race on 10 September 1989 at Richmond International Raceway in the Miller High Life 400 where he finished in 11th place.



TALMAGE PRINCE - 2/16/1938 - 2/19/1970 - was a NASCAR driver from Dublin, GA. He competed in one Sprint Cup Series event in his career. That came in 1970, when Prince raced in the Twins at Daytona International Speedway. Starting 11th in the field of 31, Prince tried to make laps. However, he was involved with a violent crash on lap 18, of the 125-mile qualifying race after blowing the engine of his Dodge. He slid sideways in front of the snarling pack and was broadsided by Bill Seifert. Prince died of a broken neck.  

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