North Wilkesboro Speedway kicked off the 40th NASCAR All-Star Race weekend with a trio of special celebrations on Friday. Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Richard Petty — whose 15 Cup Series wins at North Wilkesboro are a track record — joined son Kyle, a former driver, and Speedway Motorsports President and CEO Marcus Smith in unveiling a special “Petty Hat” in front of the speedway ticket office.

Petty’s daughter, Rebecca, and grandson, Thad Moffitt — who will compete in Saturday’s Wright Brand 250 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race — also joined in the ceremony.

The Petty-blue version of the Charlie 1 Horse hat worn by “The King” salutes the Petty family’s 75-year history in NASCAR, as well as the Petty family’s success at North Wilkesboro Speedway — which includes three Cup Series victories by Richard’s late father, Lee.

“Seventy-five years for the Petty family in NASCAR is something to celebrate,” Smith said. “Millions of kids have grown up looking up to Richard Petty and seeing his iconic hat and understanding his place in NASCAR history. I look at history like the foundation of a building: without a good foundation, you can’t have a good building, and Richard and the Petty family are part of the foundation of NASCAR.”

The Petty family’s roots at North Wilkesboro date back to the track’s first Cup Series race in 1949, which saw Lee Petty finish second.

“Things like this are special for our family, and they’ll let the new fans know that we’ve got a history in NASCAR,” Richard Petty said. “It all started at the short tracks like North Wilkesboro. Without the short tracks, there’d never be a Charlotte or a Daytona. This is where it all got started in NASCAR and as long as there’s a NASCAR, there’ll be a Petty involved in some way.”

Speedway officials also saluted the late Paul Call, who served as the track’s caretaker for more than six decades until his death at the age of 87 in 2023. Call’s family remains synonymous with North Wilkesboro Speedway’s history, and a special plaque dedicated to Call was placed at the front gates for fans to see as they enter the speedway for All-Star Race weekend.

“His memory will always live on here at North Wilkesboro,” said Ronald Queen, Call’s nephew and the director of operations for North Wilkesboro Speedway. “He was the gatekeeper here.”

The North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources saluted North Wilkesboro Speedway with a special trail marker, commemorating the speedway’s inclusion on its Moonshine and Motorsports Trail. The trail highlights the state‘s unique, intertwined history of distilling and stock car racing. North Wilkesboro Speedway is one of 17 designated locations across the state where the history of moonshine and motorsports intersect.

Reid Wilson, the secretary of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, highlighted the speedway’s importance to the state.

“We’re excited to be able to present this interesting set of stories about distilling and racing,” Wilson said. “Each of the 17 stops on the Moonshine and Motorsports Trail tells different stories about this unique, intertwining history of distilling and racing in North Carolina, that no other state can match.”

— North Wilkesboro Speedway —

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