Question: How much of a Richard Petty fan is Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® President, Mike Stanfield? Answer: He and his bride, Sharon, visited Petty’s Garage on their honeymoon! It should therefore go without saying that President Mike is absolutely thrilled to announce that one of his lifelong heroes, Richard Petty, will be serving the 91stCelebration of Springtime in the Valley as its Sports Marshal; and, will be the Featured Speaker/Presenter at the Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast Presented by Grange Insurance!
Richard Lee Petty (born July 2, 1937), nicknamed “The King,” is a former NASCAR driver who raced in the Strictly Stock/Grand National Era and the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. He won the NASCAR Championship seven times (Dale Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson are the only other drivers to accomplish this feat), winning a record 200 races during his career, winning the Daytona 500 a record seven times, and winning a record 27 races (10 of them consecutively) in the 1967 season alone. Statistically, he is the most accomplished driver in the history of the sport and is one of the most respected figures in international motorsports. He also collected a record number of poles (127) and over 700 Top 10 finishes in his 1,184 starts, including 513 consecutive starts from 1971–1989. He was inducted into the inaugural class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010.
From Petty’s official statement: “One may think that after 1,184 races that spanned three decades, “The King” would bow out and retire quietly; but, that’s just not Petty’s style. Today, he spends much of his time overseeing the operations of Richard Petty Motorsports, a race team competing at NASCAR’s highest level, as well as Petty’s Garage high performance speed shop. He has been elected to the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame, International Motorsports Hall of Fame, North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame, and the North Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame. He also serves as Chairman of the North Carolina Motorsports Association. Around the racetrack, it’s hard to miss “The King” in his signature cowboy hat and sunglasses signing autographs for fans or just lending a helping hand to his race team. Away from the racetrack, Petty is famous for his philanthropic efforts. Petty was instrumental in the development of the Victory Junction Camp, which gives chronically ill children the chance to experience life-changing camping experiences in a safe and medically-sound environment. Founded in 2004, Petty donated 84 acres of his own land for the camp; and, he is still extremely active at the camp to this day. He also is the co-founder of the Petty Family Foundation.”
In talks with Festival Organizers, it quickly became obvious that Petty wanted “The Car” to accompany him on his visit to the Apple Capital. “The Car,” named “Legacy by Petty,” is a unique Dodge Challenger convertible. Since Dodge doesn’t produce a stock Challenger convertible, Petty’s Garage worked with Drop-Top Customs on the fully functional convertible conversion. Built to commemorate Richard Petty’s 200 wins and other lifetime achievements, more than 150 hours of custom airbrush artwork by Mickey Harris went into the project, detailing key moments in Petty’s career. The “Legacy by Petty” is being trailered to meet Richard in Winchester; and, he will ride in it in the Grand Feature Parade on Saturday, May 5th.
The Festival is deeply grateful to its many Sponsors for their invaluable support in helping Festival Organizers to create the Bloom. Our Sports Celebrity Sponsors are: Dunkin’ Donuts, Compass West Realty, Winchester Printers, Costco, Signet Marketing and McDonalds! Thank you All!