Petty became known as “The King” for seven victories in both the Daytona 500 and the NASCAR national championship between 1964 and 1981. His financial success in the sport also contributed to his high ranked nickname. At the time he had not only started the most races in NASCAR history, he won more races and made more money than any other driver. He totaled over 200 victories throughout his career.
The King’s final race was the Winston Cup in Atlanta, Georgia. There were six drivers who had a mathematical chance of winning the championship, Petty was not one of them. He presented each of the 42 other drivers with a money clip engraved with the name and starting position of the race before it started. Two of the drivers, Joe Booher and Clifford Allison would be killed in accidents in the next year.
Gordon’s day ended when car skidded into the wall in the 31st lap. Petty’s race ended when he ended up being the part of a collision, letting him go out in flames.