Richard Petty Adds Another Important Job to Darlington Schedule

Richard Petty

NASCAR images for Goodyear Richard Petty poses at Darlington Raceway.

The King has just taken on another responsibility for Throwback Weekend. Richard Petty will serve as the honorary starter of the Goodyear 400 Cup Series race on Sunday, May 8 (3:30 p.m. ET, FS1).

Darlington Raceway and Goodyear Tires issued a press release on Tuesday, May 3, and announced the news. They confirmed that the King will head to the start-finish line and wave the green flag to start the Goodyear 400 Cup Series race. He will then head up to the FOX Sports booth and join Clint Bowyer and Mike Joy to work as a guest analyst for the first stage.

“Richard Petty is one of the all-time greats in motorsports, so we are proud to add one more accolade to his legendary career as the honorary starter for the Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway,” said Kerry Tharp, Darlington Raceway President. “Petty will join many of his fellow NASCAR Hall of Famers and legends as part of the Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR at the track Too Tough To Tame on May 6-8.”

Petty Previously Led the Field in 2017

The King has taken part in multiple special moments during the annual celebration of NASCAR history. This includes the 2017 season when he led the field around Darlington Raceway in his No. 43 Plymouth.

Petty drove the iconic race car on the scheduled parade laps, but he did not exit at the correct time. Instead, he just stayed out on the track while the Cup Series drivers, spotters, and crew chiefs just sat back and laughed. NASCAR officials ultimately had to throw the black flag and “park” The King for his repeated violations.

“Darlington Raceway has always been too tough for me as I only conquered it three times,” Petty added in the press release. “I generally ran good, but did not always finish well. The last time I drove around the track at Darlington in 2017, I got black flagged. This time as the honorary starter, I’ll be holding the flag!”

Throwback Weekend Brings Out the Biggest Stars

The annual celebration of NASCAR history is the site of several special moments. The teams honor legends from the past with their schemes while the track officials bring in special guests for specific roles.

The 2021 race weekend is a fitting example. There were several big names on hand to up the excitement level. For example, Greg Biffle took parade laps in a vintage 1976 Ford truck prior to the Camping World Truck Series race that kicked off the weekend. Dale Earnhardt Jr. turned heads the following day by taking parade laps in his father’s fully-restored No. 8 Chevrolet Nova.

The Cup Series race had several special guests. 2012 NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Inman served as the Honorary Starter, and he waved the green flag for the Goodyear 400. Prior to the green flag, the 2013 NASCAR Hall of Famer Leonard Wood and the 2015 NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott took parade laps in restored stock cars.

Wood drove the iconic 1971 Ford Mercury that Darlington’s all-time winningest driver David Pearson used during his Hall of Fame career. Elliott drove a restored version of the No. 9 Coors Motorcraft Ford Thunderbird that he used during his 1988 championship season.

READ NEXT: ‘The King’ Headlines Stacked FOX Booth for Throwback Weekend

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