Biography

Stock car racer extraordinaire Richard Petty enjoyed not one but four distinct careers. In addition to chalking up a remarkable series of racing honors that included winning a Sprint Cup seven times and winning the Daytona 500 seven times (among countless other laurels), Petty parlayed his celebrity from these events into a lucrative and highly visible stint as a corporate spokesperson for brands including Goody's Headache Powder, Pepsi, and the STP motor oil company. Petty also embarked on a political career and -- as early as 1965 -- enjoyed periodic film roles, including many cameos as himself. Features included the sports dramas Thunder in Dixie (1965) and Corky (1972), a biopic of his own life and racing career starring himself and entitled 43: The Petty Story (1974) and (appropriately enough) the Disney-Pixar CG-animated family film Cars (2006), in which he voiced an automobile named The King. In 2008, Petty cameoed as himself to the Kevin Costner political comedy Swing Vote. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi