Richard Lee Petty (born July 2, 1937), nicknamed The King, is a former NASCAR driver who raced from 1958 to 1992 in the former NASCAR Grand National and Winston Cup Series (now called the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series). He was the first driver to win the NASCAR Cup Championship seven times (Dale Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson are the only other drivers to accomplish this feat), winning a record 200 races during his career, winning the Daytona 500 a record seven times, and winning a record 27 races (10 of them consecutively) in the 1967 season alone. Statistically, he is the most accomplished driver in the history of the sport and is one of the most respected figures in motorsports as a whole. He also collected a record number of poles (127) and over 700 Top 10 finishes in his record 1,184 starts, including 513 consecutive starts from 1971–1989. Petty was the only driver to ever win in his 500th race start, until Matt Kenseth joined him in 2013. He was inducted into the inaugural class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010. Petty remains very active, as both a NASCAR team owner (Richard Petty Motorsports) in the Cup Series and owner of Petty's Garage (car restoration and modification shop) in Level Cross, North Carolina.
Petty is a second generation driver. His father, Lee Petty, won the first Daytona 500 in 1959 and was also a three-time NASCAR champion. His son Kyle was also a NASCAR driver. His grandson, Adam (Kyle's son), was killed in a practice crash at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on May 12, 2000, five weeks after Lee's death. Adam's brother Austin works on day-to-day operations of the Victory Junction Gang Camp, a Hole in the Wall Gang Camp established by the Pettys after Adam's death. Petty married Lynda Owens in 1958. She died on March 25, 2014 at her home in Level Cross, North Carolina at age 72, after a long battle with cancer. They had four children—Kyle Petty, Sharon Petty-Farlow, Lisa Petty-Luck, and Rebecca Petty-Moffit. The family resides in Petty's home town of Level Cross, North Carolina and operates Richard Petty Motorsports. The Richard Petty Museum was formerly in nearby Randleman, North Carolina but moved back to its original location in March 2014. He has also made a appearance in Cars.