Video: Behind the Scenes With Richard Petty, 1967

In 1967, Richard Petty won 27 of the 48 races he entered, including an astounding 10 in a row. Here’s a rare look behind the scenes at the Petty home and shop in that magic NASCAR season.     

 

 

If you’re a fan of Richard Petty and early NASCAR history, this little film clip will be pure gold. In 1967, Petty and crew won an astonishing 27 of the 48 races they entered, including 10 in a row in a historic run from August through October. This four-minute film segment goes behind the scenes at the Petty home and shop, providing some valuable insights into the racer who was already being compared to Babe Ruth. A few of the priceless film moments:

+   Richard at the kitchen table with his family, wife Linda and three of their four children, including race driver and commentator son Kyle, a first or second-grader here. Linda Petty passed away in 2014.

+   Richard and his father and fellow hall-of-famer Lee Petty sharing the victory stage with Winkie Louise, here reigning as Miss Pure Firebird Gasoline. Winkie (real name Edwina) may not be as well known to the general public as race queen Linda Vaughn, but she is equally beloved in NASCAR lore.

+   A look inside the Petty Engineering race shop in Level Cross, North Carolina, where we see Maurice Petty, Richard’s younger brother by two years, tuning up a distributor on a bench machine. In those days, Maurice was considered one of the top Mopar Hemi engine builders in the biz.

In his 35-year career, Richard Petty collected 200 NASCAR victories and seven championships, a total record that can never be equaled. The 1967 season, in which Petty earned his second NASCAR title, is certainly among the greatest moments. Video below.

 

4 thoughts on “Video: Behind the Scenes With Richard Petty, 1967

  1. King Richard’s 80th birthday occurred last summer. An ESPN sportswriter’s article about 80 reasons to love Richard Petty included these gems:

    I once asked Petty to recall the weirdest item he’d been asked to sign. “A duck. Not from the grocery store, either. He was alive.”

    All 15 Martinsville Speedway victories came with the prize of a grandfather clock. Many are spread throughout the living rooms of family members, but at one time they were all either in his house in Level Cross, North Carolina, or in the old Richard Petty Museum in Randleman, North Carolina. “People say I lost my hearing at the racetrack. I think I lost it from all those grandfather clocks going off at noon and midnight.”

    After saying that he refuses Novacaine when he visits the dentist he was asked, why? “If you stop every pain with some kind of drug you’ll never learn any lessons. The dentist cringes when he puts that drill in me, but I just tell him, ‘Go ahead. Maybe this will teach me to take better care of my teeth.'”

    In 1970 Petty was in a barrel roll crash at Darlington so violent that it broke the concrete pit wall. His body flopped out of the window multiple times, convincing ABC’s Jim McKay that The King was dead. He wasn’t. He was so alive that when the ambulance driver couldn’t figure out how to get out of the racetrack, Petty sat up in his stretcher and barked directions to the hospital. Not bad for a guy who’d just scared the sport into mandating window nets.

    His 51,406 career laps led are tops all time and lead second-place Cale Yarborough by nearly 20,000. I asked him about that statistic and he said, “I don’t know how many laps I led, all I know is that I led the last one 200 times.”

    When African-American NASCAR pioneer Wendell Scott was posthumously inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, his family was greeted backstage by Petty. After he left, Scott’s daughter told me, “People have no idea how many times that man ‘accidentally’ left a set of tires or tools or even a whole engine behind in the garage for my daddy to ‘find.’ They don’t know because he’s never bragged about it. So, I’ll brag about it for him.”

    Lynda told me about the one time Richard decided to help around the house. “He insisted on buying groceries. He got all the wrong stuff and when he was pulling in, I passed him leaving. The store had called and said he forgot to sign the check. I sent him back to the race shop after that.

    This guy is just a real, genuine person. The majority of today’s NASCAR racers do not seem to possess these down-to-earth qualities. I will say that the 2017 champion Martin Truex, Jr. seems to be someone who appears to be somewhat humble and accessible.

  2. I remember vividly a magazine article that showed full lock braking tire marks of a Petty race car. Four streaks and not one of them following the front wheels. Stagger, it was called back then. The Petty’s were very clever chassis engineers. I wish some one would sit him down and document his “cheats”.

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