Other Free Encyclopedias » Famous Sports Stars » Auto Racing

Lee Petty Biography - Hard Times In The Rural South, Chronology, A Nascar Pioneer, The First Daytona 500

car racing stock sport

1914-2000

American race car driver

Lee Petty was a key figure in the early development of stock car racing and the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing Inc. (NASCAR). He contributed to the evolution of the sport from an illegal, back road event, to dirt tracks at local fairgrounds and other sites throughout the South and Midwest, to the latter-day super-speedways at Daytona, Florida, Charlotte, North Carolina, and other cities. By the time Petty retired—after sixteen years behind the wheel and 427 NASCAR starts—he had racked up fifty-five wins, an all-time high that stood until his son Richard Petty passed him on his way to 200 NASCAR victories, a record that still stands. Lee Petty was the first NASCAR driver to win three national championships; he finished fifth or better 231 times. Besides being one of the best drivers in NASCAR history, Lee Petty played a significant role in the transformation of stock car racing from a sport to a business, testified most clearly by the continuing success of the family firm he founded, Petty Enterprises.

Sketch by Gerald E. Brennan

Richard Petty Biography - Growing Up With Cars, Chronology, Joins The Nascar Circuit, Awards And Accomplishments, The King's Last Lap - CONTACT INFORMATION, SELECTED WRITINGS BY PETTY:, SELECTED WRITINGS BY PETTY: [next] [back] Roger Penske Biography - Early Years, Professional Racer, Chronology, Team Owner, Series Co-founder And Track Owner

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or

Vote down Vote up

over 4 years ago

The Southern 500 at Darlington, S.C. was stock car racing's answer to the Indy 500. First run on Labor Day 1950 this event had been run nine times before Daytona speedway opened in 1959. Over a number of years the Daytona 500 became the premier stock car race...due in part to it's being on televison. And maybe because the France family owned the Daytona track and sanctioning organization NASCAR and promoted the Daytona race much more.