Sunday, August 21, 2011

August 21 - This day in Petty history

1962 - Richard Petty wins from the pole in a 200 lap race at Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds speedway in David Pearson's hometown, Spartanburg SC, to score his 12th career victory.

To illustrate how much times have changed, the race was run on a Tuesday night. Perry Allen Wood writes in his book Silent Speedways of the Carolinas:
The last five races had been won by either Petty or (teammate Jim) Paschal in a Plymouth, and 14 other cars came to Spartanburg to put a stop to it... Qualifying those stockers by power sliding through the first and second turns was a thing of beauty. They came thundering down the homestretch and right before it ended, cut the power and cocked the car left, setting the rear end out toward the boards. Dead silence for just a beat. Then accelerator to the floor while turning back hard right, wide open through one and two, and down the backstretch with the engine roaring, car drifting around searching for grip and firing dust from the screaming rear tires... As in the past, (Joe) Weatherly and Petty duked it out at the front in an electrifying display the entire race... One hour and forty minutes after the start, Petty won his third and the team's sixth in a row, beating Weatherly by half a lap. ~pp. 15-16
Wood also pointed out the race featured a top driver from California, Dick Getty. So it was expected either Dick Getty or Dick Petty (as he was often called early in his career) would win. As it turns out, the two book-ended the finishing order. Petty won the race, and Getty finished dead stinkin' last.

Source: Spartanburg Herald via Google News Archive
Edited August 17, 2014

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