Daughter of NASCAR legend Richard Petty keeps family legacy going - Carolina Country

Steering a Racing Legacy

Rebecca Petty Moffitt has taken the wheel for ‘the King’ of NASCAR

By Leah Chester-Davis

Steering a Racing Legacy

Rebecca (middle) with her father and her sister Sharon Petty Farlow, who serves as the executive director of the Petty Museum. Photos by Randy Berger Photography.

Rebecca Petty Moffitt’s calendar is busier than Daytona Speedweeks — back-to-back races that kick off the NASCAR season.

In late February, she had just returned from Daytona International Speedway to spend three days in the office before hitting the road to Atlanta and then to Las Vegas. It’s a relentless schedule of three days in her Randolph County office and the rest of the week at a racing event somewhere in the country, a schedule that extends for 36 weeks, the length of the NASCAR season.

Rebecca Petty

Rebecca Petty Moffitt, daughter of NASCAR legend Richard Petty, continues to drive the family legacy.

“I always keep a bag packed,” she says.

Rebecca, whose dad is NASCAR legend Richard Petty, grew up in the racing world. Now, she is chief executive officer of the Petty Family Foundation and president of Petty’s Garage, which does restorations and after-market performance upgrades. Representing her family is not only part of the job, but also a labor of love.

Responsibilities of royalty

With her dad known as “The King,” Rebecca notes the respect and appreciation her dad has for fans, and they for him. He often shows up at the Petty Museum, adjacent to the foundation offices and Petty’s Garage in Level Cross, to greet fans and sign autographs.

“He is very appreciative,” she says. “It makes him feel good to know that he is so well-liked.”

This year has the added distinction of 75 years of Petty family racing.

“It’s a huge milestone,” Rebecca says.

And the milestones are plentiful, including helping build NASCAR into the powerhouse motorsport it is today. That includes her grandfather Lee Petty winning the first Daytona 500 in 1959, her dad racking up the most wins (200) and tying for the most championships (7), her brother Kyle and her late nephew Adam being involved in the sport, and now her son Thad racing in the Craftsman Truck series.

Richard Petty Museum

Scenes from the Petty Museum in Level Cross.

For her role of representing her family and helping preserve its history and legacy, her training began at an early age.

“My parents were always giving back to churches, the community and schools. The Petty Family Foundation is a way for our family to continue the philanthropy that our parents and grandparents instilled in us.”

Giving back

The Petty Family Foundation supports children, veterans, education and the community. Rebecca’s mother, Lynda, served on the local school board for 16 years. When she passed away in 2014, the family established the Lynda Petty Scholarship, which goes to the Randolph Community College Richard Petty Education Center and to a deserving student from each of the five county high schools who plans to go into the automotive field. Another effort, Victory Junction (victoryjunction.org), is a camp for children with serious medical conditions. The camp, served by Randolph EMC, was founded in memory of Adam Petty after his tragic death in a racing accident at the New Hampshire International Speedway.

“It’s very rewarding when kids are at camp and you see them interact with each other and how much fun they are having,” Rebecca says.

Richard Petty reflects on his years behind the wheel.

A family legacy

Just as racing these days is a team sport, Rebecca makes it clear the Petty foundation, museum and garage is a family effort.

“We depend on each other’s support.”

Rebecca and her three siblings, along with their father, review all requests for use of their dad’s name and image on products.

“We want to make sure it is something in line with what we want our brand to be,” she says. They also employ about 30 people.

Rebecca’s work extends to both the community and the motorsports industry. She serves on the local tourism board and the North Carolina Motorsports Association. It’s all about showcasing what North Carolina has to offer and bringing business to the state.

While both her dad and family legacy are legendary, Rebecca says she is most proud of the family’s contribution to the development of major safety features that are mandatory in racing today. Most are tied to a family story, such as the late 1960s when DuPont introduced flame-resistant fabric and her grandmother sewed Richard Petty a uniform to race in. Other racers followed suit. There was also the time her dad “was in his worst wreck ever. His car was flipping, and his arm and head were going in and out the window. It scared my grandmother so bad she came home and created the window net.”

Another safety feature is the bar on the roll cages to help keep a driver from being crushed. Her brother was one of the first to test the HANS device, a type of head restraint.

“It takes a family. It takes a village,” Rebecca says. “We are celebrating 75 years, and our family has been involved the whole time.”

About the Author

Carolina Country Contributing Editor Leah Chester-Davis loves to explore North Carolina. Her business, Chester-Davis Communications (chester-davis.com), specializes in food, farm, gardening and lifestyle brands and organizations.

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