Even though “The King” Richard Petty vacated the driver’s seat almost three decades ago, he remains popular with the NASCAR faithful. Richard and his brother, Maurice, worked with their dad, Lee, at Lee Petty Engineering, later Petty Enterprises. While Richard drove Oldsmobiles, Pontiacs, Chevrolets, and Fords, his best years were in a Plymouth or a Dodge with a 43 emblazed on the door.
Petty Enterprises won ten NASCAR titles between 1954 and 1979. Richard won seven of those ten, and six of those were in a Mopar. The seven championships remain a NASCAR record, but Richard now shares the honor with Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Jimmie Johnson. On top of his seven titles, Richard won 200 races in his career, including the Daytona 500 seven times (both remain records today).
Above: Goodyear took out a two-page advertisement to celebrate Richard Petty’s 1966 Daytona 500 win. It was the Goodyear Blue Streak tires that propelled Petty to the pole and the winner’s podium.
As depicted in the 1966 Goodyear advertisement, Richard won his second Daytona 500 on Blue Streak Goodyear tires. Maurice tuned the destroked Hemi to put Richard on the pole position, and crew chief and cousin, Dale Inman, handled the race day strategy. Richard led 108 of the 198 laps (rain-shortened race by two laps).
In 1971, Chrysler ended its financial assistance to Petty Enterprises, which forced the team to seek new sponsorship. President and CEO of Scientifically Treated Petroleum, better known as STP, Andy Granatelli, stepped in to offer the vital monetary resources necessary for the team to succeed.
Above Left: Petty kicked off the season with his second career win at Daytona. Unfortunately, while 1966 was a good year, the results were not a championship-worthy season. Above Right: The National Speed Sport News celebrated Petty’s pole position. Of his seven Daytona wins, 1966 was the only year he won both the pole position and the race.
In a Chicago meeting prior to the 1972 season with STP, a deal was struck for $250,000 with an additional championship incentive of $50,000. However, the car had to be painted STP’s trademark color of Day-Glo red. Richard balked at the color and stated the vehicle would be the traditional Petty blue, a mixture of white and dark blue paint.
Granatelli countered with an offer of an additional $50,000 to paint the car red. Again, Richard declined, and eventually, the two agreed to the car wearing Petty blue with Day-Glo red highlights on the roof and flanks of the vehicle.
Above Left: After the 1971 season, Plymouth informed Petty Enterprises that Chrysler would no longer provide financial assistance. So petty Enterprises teamed up with Andy Granatelli, President, and CEO, of STP to field a 1972 Plymouth. Above Right: The central sticking point of the sponsorship was Granatelli wanted the Petty cars in STP Day-Glo red, but Richard Petty would only have his cars in Petty blue. The two resolved their differences, and what resulted was a series of the most beautiful paint jobs in NASCAR, as displayed on the Petty Enterprises 1974 Charger.
With the STP sponsorship, Richard won four of his seven championships. In addition, the beautiful paint color combination became so recognizable that Granatelli began having STP-sponsored Indy car teams painted in the two-tone colors.
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company was founded in 1898 by brothers Frank and Charles Seiberling in Akron, Ohio. The brothers named the company after Charles Goodyear, the inventor of vulcanized rubber.
Above Left: In the 1960s until 1981, the Blue Streak race tires from Goodyear came with white Goodyear lettering and a blue stripe. Eventually, the blue stripe was dropped, but the white Goodyear lettering and the Blue Streak name remained. Above Right: The Goodyear Blue Streak race tires were designed as a “stock car special” non-DOT tire.
Goodyear’s designation as the “Official Tire of NASCAR” started in 1954 and has been uninterrupted since. The Goodyear and NASCAR relationship is one of the longest-running sponsor programs of any major sport.
The Goodyear Blue Streak tire was a road racing tire used in the 60s and 70s. The tires were designed with thin sidewalls, minimal tread, and were “race only” non-DOT approved tires. Initially, the tires had a blue stripe on the sidewall, but later versions came without the blue stripe and just Goodyear lettering.
Above: YearOne carries an entire line of Goodyear Polyglas bias-ply reproduction tires. The tires come in a variety of sizes with raised white letter (RWL) (left) or red line (right) designs.
For many enthusiasts, getting the correct tire for their restoration is critical. YearOne carries Goodyear bias-ply tires. While the tires may not be the Blue Streaks that took Petty to Daytona wins and seven championships, YearOne does have a large volume of Polyglas bias-ply tires with raised white letters or red lines.
As the ad states, “More people ride on Goodyear tires than on any other kind,” and with the assistance of YearOne, you can be part of the crowd traveling on tires fit for a king.