Sunday 18th February 1973
Richard Petty, the “King of Stock Car Racing,” won the Daytona 500 before a crowd of over 103,000 spectators, marking the first time a stock car race had drawn over 100,000 spectators. No longer would there be questions about NASCAR’s mainstream popularity. On this day in 1979, Petty became the first man to win six Daytona 500s. Winning the most prestigious event in any sport six times is enough to earn the nickname “The King,” but Petty is perhaps most famous for his 1967 season in which he won 27 of 48 races, including a record 10 straight victories. In a sport where mechanical failure is commonplace, Petty’s total domination was seen as superhuman. “The King” came from royal stock. His father, Lee Petty, was the first man to win the Daytona 500.