Sunday, November 13, 2011

November 13 - This day in Petty history

1966 - Richard Petty wins his 49th career Grand National race in the Augusta 300 at Georgia's Augusta Raceway. Paul Lewis from Johnson City, TN finishes 2nd in his #1 Plymouth. Lewis bought the previously-raced Plymouth from - ta da! - Petty Enterprises.

Photos courtesy of Harvey Tollison from
and Augusta International Raceway Preservation Society
Lewis had a good relationship with the Pettys. Two weeks before the Augusta race, Lewis made his one and only career start for Petty Enterprises at Rockingham.

Photo courtesy of Paul Lewis
The Augusta race was run in November 1966 as the first race of the 1967 Grand National season. Petty's victory was also the first of his 27 wins for the 1967 season - a record that still stands.

The previous year's race was known as the Georgia Cracker 300. Based on the following ad, the 1966 event was also known by that name. However, results I've found in books and on-line suggest the race was known just as the Augusta 300.

Friday Hassler, part-time racer from TMC's former city of Chattanooga TN, qualified a very respectable fourth in his traditionally-numbered #39 Chevy. But he had quite the spectacular exit when he blew an engine early in the race and set the whole rear of the car ablaze.

Petty raced a bit during the race with rival David Pearson. In the end, Lewis split the two with Richard as the winner and Pearson finishing in third.

Photos courtesy of Harvey Tollison
Article courtesy of Jerry Bushmire

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