The Petty family was not always the richest in Level Cross.
Just south of town, past?
The Petty family was not always the richest in Level Cross.
Petty looking at various aspect of race cars in shop
Petty on camera
Petty crash scene
Level Cross scene
adame Lavern sign
Revival tent, pan to road
???, pan to trees
??? new home
Petty and wife with kid and furniture
it crew in action
Petty SOF on-camera
Petty winning checkered flag and winner's circle business
Fan Club scenes
Fan Club SOF
Petty signs autographs
Petty talking to people, signing autographs, etc.
Petty SOF on camera
Lee Petty pic
Lee, pan to Richard pic
Richard car pic
??? track pic
??? track pic
film of dirt track today
CU trophy and pullback to see others, people look
Petty and father examine car wheel
TRANSCRIPT: "Used to it was just, you know, everybody get drunk on Saturday night and go out and race Sunday. And if they made it okay an if they didn't okay. Then it got to be a business, then you got more money involved...It's a dedicated thing. In other words to be good at it and to be a success at it you got to be dedicated to it and it's got to be the number one thing in your life."
"There are risks involved. Do you think about that, does it bother you?"
"Well, no it really doesn't. I never really thought about the risk and stuff, especially with stock-cars, because the cars are built safe, super-safe really for the speeds we run -- 180, 200 miles per hour. We crash the cars. Of course we have people get hurt. We have people get killed. but there was lot more people got killed getting to the race than after it started."
"What about the 1970 Darlington roll overs which was really a spectacular accident?"
"Well, I think it was more spectacular than it was as far as really being able to hurt me. It demolished the car. It hit the outside wall, then come across the race track and run head on to a cement wall and just went end over end and about half throwed me out of the car and when it was all over with I was unconscious and it just dislocated a shoulder. That's all, and they just stuck it back in there and in two weeks I was driving again.
"It really gives me more satisfaction to know that it's more of a team effort than it used to be. Used to, when I first started driving, I knew it was a team effort, but I thought mainly of myself. You know what I mean, I said boy, I really did a good job, I went out and outdrove everybody. And just because we made good pit stops I said well that's what there ??? supposed to do. But now I think I'm seeing that it's more and more of a team effort."
"How will you know when it's time to quit?
"I don't really know. Sometimes I think it would be good to quit while you're winning, while you're winning everything and doing real good. And then I say well you know maybe that's not the time to quit because if you're doing that good maybe you can continue to do that good. I figure one of these days I'll get up and say that's it, I'm through. But right now I,m having more fun driving a race car now than I ever have. So as long as I can enjoy doing it and make a living out of it I'll probably still be driving."
And Richard Petty will probably still be winning. Kenley Jones, NBC News.
"His motto was a simple one, stand on it and turn left
"Fireball rolled a seven and he won."
"I enjoy people. I'm like everyone else. There's sometimes I'd rather not be bothered. But most of the time I really enjoy it and it makes me feel good to go places and be recognized or go to a race track and people really bother you, you know what I mean, because then you know you're doing you job."
"Has a adulation of the fens affected you in any way? Has it changed you? Has it gone to your head, I guess is the ??? way to put it?"
"Well, I tell you. . . Richard Petty's name, or Richard Petty's record wasn't accomplished overnight. It's been 15, 16, 17 years coming. . .
It's not an overnight success story. It's been a long, hard road between everybody that's been associated with me. So being it's took years and years to get in the position I've had to accept it a little at a time instead of all of it being throwed on me at one time."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: 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.