October 10, 2008
Belvedere deemed "the first significant artifact" for HoF
NASCAR Hall of Fame executive director Winston Kelley announced Friday that the Petty Blue 1967 Plymouth Belvedere from Petty Enterprises is "the first significant artifact" publicly presented by the hall. Richard Petty drove the Plymouth to more wins than any other car in NASCAR history.
During the 1967 season, Petty won 27 races, including a NASCAR-record 10 in a row. The car, however, was actually a 1966 Plymouth Belvedere that was updated through 1967. In all, the car tallied 36 wins from 1966-67. It will be on loan for two years from the Richard Petty Museum in Randleman, N.C.
"The Plymouth Belvedere was a special car," Petty said. "Back then we usually found a car that was good on short tracks or speedways or dirt tracks, but not many that were good everywhere. That Plymouth was fast no matter where we ran. It belongs in the NASCAR Hall of Fame and I have to thank Winston and everyone at the hall for giving us the honor of providing one of the first pieces to go in."
Petty Enterprises was established in 1949, one year after the formation of NASCAR. And now -- 268 wins, 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships and 10 Daytona 500 trophies later -- Petty Enterprises is the winningest organization in the history of American motorsports. It seems only natural that the legendary team would have a prominent place in the NASCAR Hall of Fame when the doors open in spring 2010 in Charlotte, N.C.
"When you talk about Richard Petty or Petty Enterprises, you're basically talking about the history of NASCAR," Petty said. "We were there for the very first race and we're still here. It's great to see that our sport has enjoyed enough longevity that we can build a hall of fame. I know it will be a first-class facility that will help educate our new fans to the people that helped build the sport to what we have today."
Kelley acknowledged that picking a Petty artifact as the first significant piece was one of the easiest choices he has made as executive director.
"Given Richard and Petty Enterprises' success on the track, coupled with Richard being the most recognizable and accessible ambassador for NASCAR for over 50 years, we felt it only appropriate that the first artifact we formally announce be something from Richard and Petty Enterprises," Kelley said. "And, to have it be the car that has won more races than any car in NASCAR history is very special.
"Richard, the folks at Petty Enterprises and the entire NASCAR community have been incredibly supportive of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in so many ways throughout the development stages since it was awarded to Charlotte in 2006. We cannot thank everyone enough and look forward to showcasing their success when we open in the spring of 2010," Kelley added.Tweet