Richard Petty reveals what made him great at Martinsville

FORT WORTH, TX - APRIL 12: Nascar Hall of Famer Richard Petty stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series NRA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 12, 2013 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)

In the history of Martinsville Speedway, no driver had better results at the iconic short track than seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Richard Petty.

The “King” won a record 15 races at the .526-mile venue. He took to the venue from his earliest days in NASCAR’s premier division, winning the second of his record 200 races—and his first on asphalt—at Martinsville.

Both Petty and NASCAR Hall of Fame crew chief Dale Inman quickly developed a knack for racing at the Southern Virginia facility.

“It was just a Richard Petty track, I guess,” Petty told the NASCAR Wire Service. “It fit my style of driving, and it fit Dale’s style of setting the car up. It was just a good combination.

“You go to other tracks, and you run good, but you only win two or three races. Fate was just a little better for us up there.”

Fate wasn’t the only determining factor. Unlike most other competitors, Petty was a right-foot braker and was never on the gas and brakes at the same time. That helped him develop the rhythm necessary for success at Martinsville.

“I could use my brakes different from what other people did,” Petty said. “Sunday morning of the race, we’d put on a brand new set.”

Petty estimated that the superiority of his brake package helped him notch at least half his Martinsville wins.

Photos: NASCAR at Martinsville Speedway Friday, April 8, 2022