Monday, August 1, 2011

August 1 - This day in Petty history - Part 1

1971 - Richard wins his 134th race in the Dixie 500 at Atlanta International Raceway (now Atlanta Motor Speedway). With the win, he becomes the first NASCAR driver to top $1 million in career earnings.

Teammate Buddy Baker in a white #11 Petty Enterprises Dodge Charger wins the pole but ends up 25th in the race.

Schaefer Ring of Honor member, Bruton (aka GaPettyFan to some), attended the race and remembers it this way:
I was at the 1971 Dixie 500. As usual for July here, it was hotter than Hades. I wasn’t quite 8 years old and spent the better part of the next few months thinking The King won $1 million that day. When it was explained what actually took place, somehow it no longer seemed like so much money.
The only other car to finish on the lead lap was Petty's perennial rival, Bobby Allison. Petty's Pepsi Plymouth and Allison's Coke Machine finished nine laps ahead of third-place finisher Benny Parsons.

Article and pictures courtesy of Jerry Bushmire
A week after the race, Petty's win and accomplishment of notching one million dollars in career earnings was featured in the August 9, 1971, issue of Sports Illustrated.

Edited July 27, 2014

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