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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lee Arnold Petty
Born March 14, 1914(1914-03-14)
Hometown Randleman, North Carolina,
United States
Died April 5, 2000 (aged 86)
Cause of death stomach aneurysm
Awards 1954 Grand National Champion

1958 Grand National Champion

1959 Grand National Champion

inducted in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame (1990)

inducted in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (1996)

North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series statistics
427 races run over 16 years
Best cup position 1st - 1954, 1958, 1959 (Grand National)
First race 1949 Charlotte Speedway
Last race 1964 Watkins Glen International
First win 1949 Heidelberg Raceway (Pittsburgh)
Last win 1961 Speedway Park (Jacksonville)
Wins Top tens Poles
54 332 18
Lee Petty's #42 1956 Dodge Coronet

Lee Arnold Petty (March 14, 1914 near Randleman, North Carolina – April 5, 2000) was an American stock car driver in the 1950s and 60s. He was one of the pioneers of NASCAR, and one of its first superstars.



Lee Arnold Petty was thirty-five years old before he began racing. He began his NASCAR career at NASCAR's first race at Charlotte Speedway (not Charlotte Motor 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.

1959 Daytona 500

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 coupes. 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."[1] 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. Son Richard drove a 1957 Oldsmobile convertible (#43) and finished 57th out of 59 starters having blown the engine after eight laps.

Petty Enterprises

He is the father of Richard Petty, who would become 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 great grandfather of the late Adam Petty who died in a car accident 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.



Petty Enterprises 1949-1964

Gary Drake 1954

Carl Krueger 1955


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. He was buried at the Level Cross United Methodist Church Cemetery in Randleman, North Carolina.


  1. ^ 1959: Petty's photo finish; Mark Aumann, Turner Sports Interactive; January 9, 2003; Retrieved October 24, 2007

External links

Preceded by
Herb Thomas
NASCAR Grand National Champion
Succeeded by
Tim Flock
Preceded by
Buck Baker
NASCAR Grand National Champion
1958, 1959
Succeeded by
Rex White
Preceded by
Daytona 500 Winner
Succeeded by
Junior Johnson


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