Level Cross, NC - The name Richard Petty is synonymous with NASCAR Racing. We just returned from the Petty Museum in Level Cross, North Carolina and will have more on that later, but one of the cars there especially caught our attention. It was this 1971 Plymouth Road Runner, which represents what Richard Petty (aka King Petty) won the Riverside Raceway, Winston Western 500 with on January 23, 1972. Under all day Saturday overcast skies, Bobby Allison held the lead for most of the race, but Richard Petty pulled ahead to claim a win that afternoon. In my early teenage years, it was also this author’s first NASCAR race (after I convinced my dad to take me there) and I remember how much the crowd roared on Petty’s first lap as he raced his ’71 Plymouth by the stands. It was a receptive reaction that made it seem like they all personally knew him. The year 1972 was also the last year that Petty would campaign a Plymouth race car. Halfway through the 1972 season, Petty switched to a 1972 Dodge Charger, with its slightly more aerodynamic body the team found more winning results. And the following year’s same body style 1973 Dodge Charger worked so well for Petty Enterprises, they continued to run it until 1977, while other teams continued to build and race current year body styles. Although since that time, Petty has found performance across many domestic brands, the generation of enthusiasts that knew him up through the ‘70s, continues to remember his very successful years racing Mopars. It’s been more than a few decades since I saw that race at Riverside Raceway, and I recently had the opportunity to meet and spend some time with King Richard Petty at his Level Cross, North Carolina museum. An experience that I will always remember. To see the video, please check out Mopar Muscle Magazine on Facebook. For more info on Petty’s Garage, www.pettys-garage.com.