Maurice Petty, a stock-car racing pioneer who built the engines that propelled Petty Enterprises to over 200 victories, passed away on July 25 surrounded by family, the Petty family announced. He was 81-years old.
Born in 1939 into the Petty family of Level Cross, North Carolina, a legendary family known for their wins and championships, Maurice would soon become an integral part of continuing the dynasty. Maurice was a participant at the track even before his teenage years and would be part of his father’s three championships and 54 wins.
Maurice, chief engine builder at Petty Enterprises, was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2014. He was the first engine builder to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Brothers Richard and Maurice Petty combined for 198 victories and seven titles in the sport’s premier series. He built engines, was a talented mechanic and driver, an occasional crew chief and team general manager who became known in the garage simply as “Chief.”
Maurice is credited with 212 wins as an engine builder among six different drivers. In addition to Richard Petty, other drivers who won with his engines were Lee Petty, Buddy Baker, Jim Paschal and Pete Hamilton.
Maurice was the crew chief for Pete Hamilton for the 1970 DAYTONA 500 and the Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway victories. As a driver, Maurice had 26 NASCAR Cup Series starts with seven top-five and 16 top-10 finishes between 1960 and 1964.
He was preceded in death by Patricia, his wife of 52 years, in 2014. Patricia’s loving support was integral to his legendary career, and provided the foundation of the family.