Friday, October 18, 2013

October 18, 1959 - Lee Petty Wallops Wilkesboro

October 18, 1959: Starting second in his #42 Plymouth, Lee Petty wins the Wilkes 160, a 100-mile race at North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Carolina. Son Richard finishes third in only his second time at the track.

Lee swept both Wilkesboro races in 1959. Richard also developed a knack for the track. His third place finish in only his second trip there was a harbinger of good things to come. He eventually racked up 15 wins and 33 Top 5s in 66 starts over his career.

In his book Silent Speedways of the Carolinas, Perry Allen Wood wrote:
...26 stockers went to the post led by [Glen] Wood's '58 Ford and [Lee] Petty's '59 Plymouth. Bob Welborn spiced up time trials by tumbling down the front stretch in his blue '59 Impala 49. In the race, the other two dozen did not much matter as Papa Lee led all 160 laps, winning handily over [Rex] White and son Richard, both also doing all 100 miles. For the Old Man, it was his 48th career victory, tying him for the all-time lead with Herb Thomas, who won his last on June 3, 1956... Thee minor cautions flew in front of less than 6,000 fans. ~ p. 257
Source: Spartanburg Herald-Journal via Google News Archive
Richard Petty ended his career with 200 GN / Cup victories. He became NASCAR's winningest driver in 1967 when he won his 55th career race, and he kept on a'winning until #200. His 55th win in the Rebel 400 at Darlington surpassed the previous record of 54 wins held by his father. Lee himself tied the record for most career victories by winning at Wilkesboro. Going into the race, Herb Thomas had earned 48 wins. Lee's win tied Thomas' mark. Lee went on to set a new record by winning 6 more times through 1960. His record stood 7+ years before his son initially broke it and eventually shattered it.


No comments:

Post a Comment