NASCAR Legend Richard Petty Reveals How He Earned ‘The King’ Nickname That Always Stuck With Him

December 14, 2020 7:30 pm

The history of NASCAR racing is incomplete without the presence of the mighty Richard Petty. A seven-time champion alongside Dale Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson in the top division, Petty is a living legend in his own right.

During the golden years of the 1970s and 80s, he made a mark for himself in the top stock racing league. Many admired his tenacity and desire to continue succeeding and collecting title wins, season after season.

Richard is also fondly called “The King” by many in the NASCAR community. But how exactly did this popular nickname for the racing great come about?

Richard Petty talks about the origin of his nickname

Speaking to a podcast, Petty stated, “You know, I think ’66 or ’67, we were winning a bunch of races. ’67, we won 27 races and you know some reporter somewhere wrote ‘The King’ or something like that.”

“And then everybody just picked it up. So I think that’s basically when it all started,” he added.

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 20, 1983:Nascar Driver Richard Petty in action in the STP #43 car during the Nascar Winston Cup Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona, FL. Petty finished 38th in the race. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Petty holds the record for the most Daytona 500 wins as well. He is known as one of the most accomplished figures in motorsports in general. He leads the all-time race victories list with 200 wins, over a career that spanned two decades in its entirety.

Despite his big rollover crash in the 1988 Daytona 500, he continued racing for Petty Enterprises for four more years, before eventually retiring in 1992. His off-track personality and attitude have also contributed to his positive reputation over the years.

His team had a decent outing in the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season

Petty’s single-car team, Richard Petty Motorsports, performed relatively better in the Cup Series in 2020. The No.43 car piloted by Bubba Wallace, saw him achieve four Top-10 finishes and a single Top-5 finish at Daytona. The race wins, however, still continue to elude the team.

SPARTA, KENTUCKY – JULY 12: Bubba Wallace, driver of the #43 Victory Junction Chevrolet, races Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota, during the NASCAR Cup Series Quaker State 400 Presented by Walmart at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

For that very reason, they recruited Erik Jones to bring in his racing expertise. And just the way Richard Petty won all those races in the shining blue No.43, the team will hope Jones can bring the same grit and determination to honor their legendary owner.

READ MORE – “Gonna Surprise A Lot of People” – Erik Jones Confident about Success with Richard Petty Motorsports in 2021 NASCAR Season

Bhargav Gopal

Hailing from Bengaluru, Bhargav is an F1 and NASCAR author for EssentiallySports. He is a huge fan of Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing. Bhargav also has an MBA in Sports Management from the Symbiosis School of Sports Sciences, Pune. Bhargav is quite a genius in his field, having won the All-India Marketing Case Study Competition 2015. He also loves to combine his love for marketing and sports by taking part in competitions like Knockout: Sports Marketing Case Study by IIM Ahmedabad.

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