Richard Petty | Class of 2010

NASCAR Hall of Fame member

Very rarely in sports do you find the all-time greatest competitor double as the all-time greatest ambassador.

(b. 7-2-37)

Hometown: Randleman, N.C.

Competed: 1958-92

Starts: 1,185

Wins: 200

Poles: 123

But that’s exactly what you get with Richard “The King” Petty.

The mountain of records he holds — most of which will never be broken — is one thing. But what Petty brought to NASCAR off the track during and after his long career cannot be measured by any numerical figures.

The countless autographs he signed and the hands he shook made him a fan favorite and pushed NASCAR toward the front of the American conscience. Credit Petty for making NASCAR what it is today — the most fan-friendly sport in the world.

But his on-track success cannot be ignored. His NASCAR Sprint Cup Series records are staggering: Most wins (200), most poles (123), tied for most championships (seven), most wins in a season (27), most Daytona 500 wins (seven), most consecutive wins (10) and most starts (1,185).

Petty’s success continued even after his retirement from driving in 1992. He would still hold the top spot in the family business — Petty Enterprises, and now, Richard Petty Motorsports. In all, Petty Enterprises totaled 268 victories before merging with Gillett Evernham Motorsports for the 2009 season to become Richard Petty Motorsports.