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Curator's Corner / NASCAR 75th Anniversary

7 Revealing Facts About Richard Petty’s 1967 Season

“The King” shattered records in 1967 that have never been approached let alone broken. We take a deep dive into the numbers.

In 1967, Hall of Famer Richard Petty (Class of 2010) blew up the NASCAR record book by winning 27 races, including 10 in a row, in what today is known as the Cup Series.

In the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s Heritage Speedway, we have many Petty family artifacts on display, including the helmet Richard wore during his historic season, as well as a plaque honoring his cousin and crew chief Dale Inman (Class of 2012) for helping make Petty’s 1967 campaign the best year in NASCAR history.

Serious NASCAR fans know that in 1967, Petty set both the single season win record, as well as the consecutive victory mark, both of which will likely stand forever, just as they have for the past 56 years. But dig a little deeper and there are plenty of fascinating nuggets to be found about “The King” and his 1967 campaign. So without further delay, here are 10 revealing facts about Petty and his incredible season.

Richard Petty and his No. 43 Plymouth had the greatest single season in NASCAR history in 1967. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Archives & Research Center/CQ-Roll Call Group via Getty Images

1. Career Year vs. Career

Here’s a mind-boggling stat: Petty won more races in 1967 alone than 14 different Hall of Fame drivers won in their entire careers. By comparison, Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Class of 2021) and Fred Lorenzen (Class of 2015) won 26 races each, Joe Weatherly (Class of 2015) won 25 and brothers Terry (Class of 2016) and Bobby Labonte (Class of 2020), won 22 and 21 races, respectively.

The 1967 NASCAR campaign gave Richard Petty a lot of reasons to smile. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Archives & Research Center via Getty Images

2. Winning Percentage

With 27 victories in 48 starts, Petty won 56.25 percent of the races he ran in 1967. That winning percentage is yet another record Petty set during his magical season. And to put that number in context, for a driver to win 56.25 percent of their starts in today’s 36-race schedule means they’d have to win 20 races. Since NASCAR consolidated its schedule in 1972, no driver has won more than 13 races in a single season.

If you attended a NASCAR race in 1967, there was a better than 50 percent chance that the day ended with Richard Petty in Victory Lane. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Archives & Research Center via Getty Images

3. Short-Track Success

Hard to believe, but in winning 27 races in 1967, Petty won on only one track longer than 1.00-mile, the 1.375-mile Darlington Raceway, where he swept both the spring race and the Southern 500 on Labor Day. All of Petty’s other 25 victories came on tracks 1.00-mile or shorter in length.

With engines built by his brother Maurice Petty and his cousin Dale Inman serving as crew chief, Richard Petty was all but unstoppable in 1967. All three men, along with Petty Enterprises founder Lee Petty, wound up in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Archives & Research Center via Getty Images

4. Daytona Disappointment

Richard Petty is synonymous with success at Daytona International Speedway, where he won a record seven Daytona 500s and three July 4th races. But in 1967, Petty went 0-3 at Daytona, finishing fifth in his 100-mile Daytona 500 qualifying race, eighth in the 500 and 11th in the Firecracker 400. The 11th-place run in Firecracker was Petty’s lowest finish of any race that season where he was classified as still running.

At Virginia’s Martinsville Speedway, Richard Petty swept both races in 1967. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Archives & Research Center via Getty Images

5. Dirt Demon

Of Richard Petty’s 27 victories in 1967, 11 of them came on dirt tracks. Petty swept dirt races at Columbia Speedway and the dirt track at Virginia State Fairgrounds (now Richmond Raceway). And here’s an odd nugget: Petty swept both races at Hickory Speedway in North Carolina. The Hickory 250 was won by Petty in April on the track’s dirt surface. In September, Petty won the Buddy Shuman 250 at Hickory, but by then the track had been paved, so he won twice in one year at the same track, but on different surfaces.

Darlington Raceway is another track where Richard Petty performed a season sweep in 1967. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Archives & Research Center via Getty Images

6. Setting The Pace

Another record set by Petty in 1967 was laps led, with 5,543. All told, Petty led 44 percent of the laps he completed during the season. Here’s another odd little quirk: Petty led at least one lap in 41 of 48 races. But he didn’t lead any laps in the Daytona 500 or the Firecracker 400, the July 4th race at Daytona International Speedway. Likewise, Petty never led either of the two races at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1967, the World 600 on Memorial Day weekend or the National 500 in October. In fact, an engine failure in the National 500 ended Petty’s 10-race winning streak.

After the 1967 season concluded, Richard Petty (right) received the NASCAR Grand National (now Cup Series) championship trophy. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Archives & Research Center via Getty Images

7. Short-Run Speed

Of Petty’s 27 victories in 1967, the shortest came in the Islip 300 on Long Island’s Islip Speedway, a 0.200-mile track. The total distance covered in the 300-lap race was a mere 60 miles, which took 1 hour, 24 minutes and 51 seconds to compete, meaning the average speed was a glacial 42.428 mph. Islip was the only race Petty won in 1967 where his average speed was slower than 50 mph.

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Tom Jensen

Tom Jensen

Tom is the Curatorial Affairs Manager at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. For more than 25 years, he has been part of the NASCAR media industry.

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