MOORESVILLE, N.C. – official release — Adam Fenwick & NASCAR photos — Lee Petty and Harry Gant will have N.C. Auto Racing Hall Of Fame in-ground plaques dedicated to the two NASCAR legends in an Oct. 8 ceremony in Mooresville, N.C.
The late Lee Petty, a Randleman, N.C. native, won 54 races in his 16-year career in what is now known as NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series. He will be represented by his son, Richard Petty, at the ceremony. Lee Petty was known as a hard charger who had a “never-give-up” driving style and one who never backed down from a challenge.
He won the first Daytona 500 in 1959 after Johnny Beauchamp was initially declared the winner. Three days after the race when T. Taylor Warren’s famous photo was reviewed, Petty was officially declared the winner of the historic event in his 1959 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88. In his career he ran 427 races and was the series champion in 1954, 1958, and in 1959. He ran his last race in 1964 at Watkins Glen (N.Y.). Lee Petty was voted one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers and with his founding of Petty Enterprises set the standard of excellence in major league racing for many years. Lee Petty died at the age of 86 on April 5, 2000.
Harry Gant, from Taylorsville, N.C. won over 300 races in the NASCAR Sportsman (Nationwide) series and three NASCAR National Sportsman titles before turning his sights on what was the Winston Cup Series in 1979. “Handsome” Harry won 18 races in his 15-year Cup career, including four races in a row in September 1991, plus two more in the then-Busch Series, to earn another nickname, “Mr. September.”
Gant holds the record as the oldest driver at age 52, to ever win a Cup race, in 1992 at the Michigan 400. He was also voted as one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers. Gant and his family will be in attendance.
Don Miller, the Chairman of the Board for the N.C. Auto Racing Hall of Fame is ecstatic about of the up and coming event.
“I am very pleased to be able to resume our celebration of the rich racing history here in North Carolina and specifically in Mooresville. The N.C. Auto Racing Hall of Fame celebrates its 20th year, honoring the finest drivers in all of motorsports and the Walk of Fame expands its role for the fifth year.” said Miller. “Mooresville, is the absolute center of the sport of auto racing and the home of many of its famous personalities. We need to preserve this heritage.”
Open to the public, the dedication of the Petty and Gants in-ground plaques will be held outside the Charles Mack Citizen Center on the Walk of Fame located at 215 N. Main St. in historic downtown Mooresville. from 4-5 p.m. ET.