Iconic NASCAR engine builder Maurice Petty, brother of Richard Petty and son of Lee Petty, died July 25, 2020, at the age of 81.
“’The ‘Chief’ was one of the most talented mechanics in NASCAR history,” NASCAR Chairman and CEO Jim France said. “He provided the power that helped Petty Enterprises define dominance in sports. While he was known for his work under the hood, Maurice played multiple behind-the-scenes roles, doing whatever it took to help deliver his cars to victory lane. On behalf of the France family, I offer my condolences to the friends and family of Maurice Petty, a true NASCAR giant.”
Petty, inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2011 and the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2014, was an engine builder for his family’s Petty Enterprises team. His engines powered six different drivers, including Richard and Lee Petty, to a total of 212 NASCAR Cup Series wins.
“There would be no Petty Enterprises without Maurice Petty,” Petty’s nephew and former NASCAR driver Kyle Petty [@KylePetty] said in a tweet Monday.
Petty also contested 26 Cup Series races as a driver between 1960 and 1964, resulting in seven top-fives and 26 top-10 finishes. His best finish as a driver was a third at Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds in Spartanburg, S.C., in 1961.
Petty also was the crew chief for Pete Hamilton with Petty Enterprises in 1970. That effort resulted in three wins, including the Daytona 500.
Petty was preceded in death by his wife, Patricia Petty, in 2014.