Richard Petty (born July 2, 1937 in Level Cross, North Carolina) is a renowned former NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver. He is most well-known for winning the NASCAR Championship seven times (Dale Earnhardt was the only other driver to accomplish this feat), winning 200 races during his career, and winning a record of 27 wins in the 1967 season alone (ten races in a row). (A 1972 rule change eliminated races under 250 miles in length and switched to the schedule to a weekends-only schedule, except for the Firecracker 400, until 1987, when Pepsi moved the race to the first Saturday in July, thereby reducing races to 30, now 36, races.)
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. He also won seven Daytona 500s and nine Most Popular Driver awards.
Petty is a second generation driver. His father, Lee Petty, won the first Daytona 500 in 1959 and was also a NASCAR champion. Richard's son, Kyle Petty, is also a well-known NASCAR driver. Tragically, Richard's grandson, Adam Petty, was killed in an accident at New Hampshire International Speedway on May 12, 2000.