1981 DAYTONA 500

Richard Petty will be enjoying his 80th birthday over Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola Weekend. In order to get the celebration of “The King” started early, we’ll spend the next month recalling some of the memorable Daytona International Speedway moments in the career of the seven-time DAYTONA 500 champion.

1981 DAYTONA 500

In 1981, Richard Petty capped his DAYTONA 500 dominance by winning the race for the seventh and final time in his historic career. The landmark victory perfectly illustrated the power of strategy and teamwork that had always been core to Petty’s unprecedented success.

With 25 laps to go and on the final pit stop, Bobby Allison – the race favorite -- pitted under the green flag for two tires and fuel. His stop lasted 17.4 seconds. Though many expected Petty, then running in fifth, to adopt the same strategy as those leading him, Crew Chief Dale Inman called for fuel only. The masterful strategy resulted in a pit stop of just 7.8 seconds.

Petty was immediately propelled into the lead by a staggering 10.7 seconds, which he would not relinquish, beating a hard-charging Bobby Allison across the line by 3.5 seconds.


With the victory, Petty put an exclamation point on his DAYTONA 500 career, ending any doubt about who was the greatest DAYTONA 500 driver in history.

In addition to being the all-time leader in DAYTONA 500 wins, “The King” is one of only three drivers to win back-to-back DAYTONA 500s and is one of only two drivers to have won the DAYTONA 500 in three different decades. Other records Petty holds include most laps led (781), most races led (20) and most laps led in a race (184) when he captured the 1964 DAYTONA 500.

Don’t miss out on your chance to take part in Richard Petty’s 80th celebration at the 2017 Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola. Guarantee your seats now!

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