Lee Petty

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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.

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.

Career[]

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.

Controversies[]

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 500[]

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 500[]

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."

Petty Enterprises[]

He is 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.

Awards[]

Teams[]

Death[]

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 results[]

NASCAR[]

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

Grand National Series[]

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 38 Buick CLT
17
DAB 2nd 725
Petty Enterprises 42 Plymouth HBO
9
LAN
7
MAR
2
HEI
1
NWS
2
1950 DAB
16
CLT
18
LAN
5
MAR
3
CAN
4

5
DSP
8

3
CLT
11
HBO
7
DSP
4

27
DAR
6
LAN
4
NWS
7
MAR
2
WIN HBO
1
3rd 1590
1951 DAB
31
CLT
2
NMO
7
HBO
9
ASF
26
NWS
3
MAR
6
CAN
5

5
CLB
20
DSP
12

6

6
HEI
21
AWS
25

1

3
MSF
13

29

2

7
DAR
15
CLB
18

21
LAN
9
CLT DSP
4
HBO
5
TPN MAR
2
OAK NWS
2
HMS
7
ATL
12
NMO
16
4th 2392.25
1952
2

22
NWS
9
MAR
4
CLB
2
ATL
3

7
LAN
3
DAR
7
DSP
4
CAN
23

3
HBO
6
CLT
4

16

5

3

1*

4
AWS DAR
6

1
LAN
1
DSP
2

2
HBO
5
MAR
3
NWS
13
ATL
2

4
3rd 6498.5
Lincoln DAB
9
Chrysler MSF
32

2
1953 Dodge
1*
DAB
3
NWS
4
CLT
11
RCH
1

19
LAN
2
CLB
5
HCY
15
MAR
1

8
RSP
8

1
FFS
3
LAN
2
TCS
5

9

3

1

3
ATL
3

4

3
DAV
3
HBO
3
AWS
7

3
HCY
4
DAR
11

2
LAN
6

6

4
NWS
5
MAR
2
ATL
3
2nd 7814
1954
3
JSP
3
ATL
6
OAK
6
NWS
5
HBO
6

9

4

4
LND
10
WGS
7
1st 8649
Chrysler DAB
1*
LAN
9*
MAR
2
SHA
1*
CLT
2
CLB
5
HCY
2

1

3
SFS
4

1

6
OAK
1

5

1
DAR
38

3

2
LAN
2
MAS
3
MAR
1*
NWS
32
100 Olds AWS
4
1955 Petty Enterprises 42 Chrysler TCS
1*

5
JSP
1*
DAB
2

1*
CLB
6
NWS
4
MGY
6
LAN
7
CLT
15
HCY
4
ASF MAR
2
RCH
3
NCF
4
FOR
1

14

20

3

1*

9

3
CLB
13
AWS
18

2

3
NYF
3

10
3rd 7194
Dodge HBO
6

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
303 Chrysler LAN
28
1956 Petty Enterprises 42 Dodge HCY
3
CLT
3

5
ASF
5
DAB
12

12

13
ATL
5
NWS
8
LAN
4
RCH
7

19
CON
23
GPS
20
HCY
15
HBO
3
MAR
3

3
CLT
5
POR NYF
4
MAS
6

3

21
POR AWS
1
RSP
36

1
CSF CHI
10

9
MGY
5
OKL
5*
ROA
13

22

7

14

15
POR DAR
Wth

12

10
LAN
2
POR CLB
7
HBO
12

9
CLT
8

21
MAR
21
HCY
11

9
4th 8324
35 Ford DAR
17
1957 Petty Enterprises 42 Dodge CON
5

11
4th 8528
42M Olds DAB
27
CON
42
4
HBO
5
AWS
10

7
LAN
9

4

4

6
POR
8
RCH MAR
5
POR
10

3
ASP
10
CLB
13

1
JAC
8

15

3
MAS
6
POR
2

8

5
GLN
8

25

1

6
DAR
24
NYF
2
AWS
1
CSF LAN
14
CLB
8

5

1

3

23
CON
2

2

5*
1958
2
DAB
6
CON
1

9

1
HBO
4

25
CLB
4
PIF
12
ATL
25

4
MAR
11
ODS
4

8
GPS
6

2

7
NWS
11
BGS
23

3
RSD
4
CLB
9

2

4

1

1
AWS
6

6
MCC
4
SLS
8*
TOR
1
BUF
6

4
BEL
4

6
CLB
7
NSV
5

3
BGS
1*
MBS
5
DAR
19

10
BIR
3
CSF
2
RCH
2
HBO
5

1
MAR
7
NWS
9
1st 12232
2 ATL
3
1959 42
9
DAY
8
DAY
1
HBO
4
CON
3
ATL
17

4
CLB
3

6*
HCY
3
MAR
1*

1
GPS
3

4
1st 11792
43 BGS
2
NWS
1
42 Plymouth TRN
3

6
ASP PIF
12
ATL
1
CLB
1
RCH
18
BGS
10
AWS
2
DAY
33
HEI
3

10
MBS
6

18
NSV
4
AWS
2
BGS
3
GPS
18
CLB
1
DAR
20

1
RCH
2
CSF HBO
1
MAR
10
AWS
1
NWS
1*

2
1960
7
CLB
4
DAY DAY
7
DAY
4

20
NWS
1
CLB
4
MAR
6

11

2
BGS
12
GPS
2
AWS
1*
DAR
4
PIF
2
HBO
1*
RCH
1
HMS CLT
56
BGS
2
DAY
4
HEI
1*

3
MBS
2
ATL
8

3

4

8
PIF
2
CLB
7
BGS
2
DAR
30

8
CSF
5
HBO
11
MAR
23
NWS
20
CLT
36
RCH ATL
6
6th 14510
43 SBO
7
1961 42
3*
JSP
1
DAY DAY
15
DAY
DNQ
AWS HMS ATL GPS HBO BGS MAR NWS CLB RCH DAR RSD ASP CLT GPS BGS DAY CLB MBS BRI BGS RCH SBO DAR HCY RCH CSF ATL MAR NWS CLT BRI GPS HBO 104th
1962 41 CON AWS DAY DAY DAY CON AWS HBO RCH NWS GPS MBS MAR
5
BGS BRI RCH CON DAR CLT ATL BGS AUG RCH SBO DAY CLB GPS AUG MBS BRI HUN DAR RCH AUG MAR NWS ATL 73rd 588
1963 BIR RSD DAY DAY DAY PIF AWS HBO ATL BRI AUG RCH GPS SBO BGS MAR DAR ODS RCH CLT BIR ATL DAY MBS BGS
4

18

6
BRI GPS CLB AWS PIF DAR RCH MAR NWS SBO HBO RSD 82nd 800
1964 CON JSP RSD DAY DAY DAY RCH BRI GPS BGS ATL AWS PIF NWS MAR SVH DAR SBO CLT GPS ATL CON BIR PIF DAY
17
ISP GLN
22
LIN BRI NSV MBS CLB DAR RCH ODS HBO MAR NWS JAC 109th 244
Daytona 500[]
Year Team Manufacturer Start Finish
1959 Petty Enterprises Oldsmobile 15 1
1960 Plymouth 14 4
1961 DNQ

References[]

  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 links[]

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