Maurice Petty, in many ways, labored in the shadow of his older brother. But he was an integral part of Richard Petty’s stunning NASCAR Sprint Cup career. Petty put the horsepower into the efforts of the man known as The King – and earned accolades of his own. Here are five reasons he is a Hall of Famer.
Petty’s knowledge continued to aid NASCAR after the heart of his competitive days. In 2001, when manufacturer Dodge made its return to the NASCAR Cup series, it did so with Petty consulting with the organization.
From the bottom
Petty, who overcame polio as a child, started in racing the old-fashioned way – working his way up. As a teenager, he worked on the pit crew for his father, three-time champion Lee Petty. Here, Petty loops the air hose around Richard Petty's car during a pit stop in 1964.
Behind the wheel
Petty didn’t spend his entire career building engines for his brother and other competitors, though. He was also, at one point, a driver in his own right. He made 26 starts in the Cup series, earning 16 top-10 finishes, seven of them top fives, from 1960-64. After that, though, he seemed content turning wrenches instead of steering wheels.
Known as Chief, it was Petty’s engines that helped Richard Petty to most of his 200 career victories. But Richard Petty wasn’t the only one who gained from Maurice’s talents. He also built engines for Lee Petty, Buddy Baker, Jim Paschal and Pete Hamilton (pictured, with Petty), all of whom won with his products under the hood.
Maurice Petty built the engines that power Richard Petty to Cup titles in 1964, '67, '71, '72, '74, '75, '79. He’s the fourth member of the Petty dynasty to be nominated for the Hall – and the one who worked closely with Richard Petty as they built a legacy that may never be matched in the Cup ranks. The chief engine builder was closely watched and often mimicked throughout his competitive days.