• Short Summary

    The Petty family was not always the richest in Level Cross.

    Just south of town, past?

  • Description

    The Petty family was not always the richest in Level Cross.

    Just south of town, past Madame Lavern the palm reader, and left at the Jubilee and Bible Conference revival tent is a blacktop road that leads to the small shack where the Pettys lived for several years when Richard was a ???
    Just behind it is the new 200-thousand dollar house Petty has built, and is still furnishing.

    Petty and his wife Lynda have four children -- three girls and one boy. Petty says his son is more interested in basketball now than in racing, so there is no assurance that he will keep the family name in stock cars.

    But the name will be around for a while. Petty says racing means more to him now than ever before.

    The subject of our Sunday Profile today is Richard Petty, who dropped out or business college to race stock cars on dirt tracks in the rural South. Since then, Petty has won more than two million dollars in prize money, build as auto racing business employing forty people ...and become the richest and most famous resident of Level Cross, North Carolina. Kenley Jones has this profile of Richard Petty.

    That song may not have been written about Richard Petty, but he has rolled a winning seven -- a four and a three -- more times than even the legendary Fireball.

    Richard Petty, in fact, has won more major stock car races than any driver in history. His lifetime record of victories on the Grand National circuit is 171. That's more than the next two drivers combined have won.

    Petty, who is 37-years-old, has won five Grand National championships and is well on his way to a sixth. He has won seven of the 15 races he has started this years.

    Petty is a stock-car superstar. He has fan clubs all over the United States -- not just in the south where stock -- not just in the south where stock-car racing is most popular. This club is in Michigan.

    At the tracks, Petty is the centre of attention wherever he goes.

    The Petty success story began with this man -- Lee Petty, Richard's father -- who is still recognized as one of best stock-car drivers of all time.

    It was a case of like father, like son. Richard started out working as a mechanic on his father's car -- then pretty soon he was driving a race car of his own.

    The races in those early days were held on dirt tracks -- few of them more than a half mile long.

    Sometimes the tracks were so dusty that in a close race it was hard to tell who won.

    A few dirt tracks are still around although most of the stock car tracks are paved with asphalt today, and some are more than two miles long.

    Weekend races at the dirt tracks provide entertainment for rural communities, and a proving ground for would-be champions.

    Every year a new group of young drivers, some of them just out of high school, begins racing on small dirt tracks like this one.

    All of them hope eventually to find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Very few ever do.

    Richard Petty has won almost two-million-dollars in prize money so far. The trophies he has won are on display in his home town of Level Cross, North Carolina.

    Tourists, and local people, stop by frequently to take a look. The Trophy room is part of Petty Enterprises, the family business in which Petty and his father -- with the help of about ??? other people -- build and maintain race cars. For them, racing is a full time business.

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