Monday, July 30, 2012

July 30 - This day in Petty history - part 1

1963 - Richard Petty notches his 24th career victory by winning the Pickens 200 on the half-mile, dirt track at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in South Carolina.

GPS was a fixture on the NASCAR Grand National circuit from the mid-1950s through 1971. The track's races, like many others, were trimmed from the series in 1972 as part of the newly-branded Winston Cup Series.

The track itself, however, continues operating to this day. The dirt was replaced with asphalt in 1970, and local drivers still hone and prove their skills on the half-mile bull-ring.

Petty won the Greenville-Pickens race in car number 41 - one of his half-dozen or so wins in a car numbered other than 43. Richard finished second two days earlier at Bristol in number 43, and teammate Jim Paschal finished third in number 42. Perhaps the turnaround time was too short to adequately prepared the 43, and the 41 may have been raced in its place. (Paschal did not enter the Pickens 200.)

Long-time, independent driver Frank Warren finished tenth in car number X. He ran the number just one more time - a week or so later at Columbia Speedway in a race coincidentally also won by Petty.

As a kid, my uncle introduced me to racing in the early 1970s and strongly suggested I become a fan of the King. I didn't have the opportunity to see him race or know much about his beginnings in the late 1950s or his rise to greatness in the 1960s. But I learned quickly about his appreciation for his fans by signing autographs.

I think its interesting the writer of this article makes note of that point - in 1963! (As an aside, the writer's name was Rocky Stone? Really?)
"I wasn't worried about my gasoline because I had a pit stop after 65 laps. What I was worried about was my tires," Petty said while signing a host of autographs.
Credit: The Times-News of Hendersonville, NC via Google News Archive

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