“He could do things in a race car I could only dream about,” he said. “Throughout the entire racing world, I don’t know of anybody who would have said he didn’t give 110% from the time they dropped the green flag until the race was over. He was the same way in life, too.”
Petty is one of the most recognized names in the history of NASCAR. But Lee Petty didn’t begin competing in NASCAR for fame or fortune. It was a means to an end. On a good day it was a way to put food on the table and pay the bills. His career bore little resemblance to the pampered lifestyle of today’s stock car racing elite.
Julius Timothy “Tim” Flock was born in Fort Payne, Alabama and grew up in one of the most famous racing families of early stock car racing. His two brothers, Bob and Fonty were both NASCAR drivers, as well as his sister Ethel Flock Mobley.
“He was as good as they come,” Petty said. “There have been very few guys who had more confidence in what he could do than Herb. He was so strong-minded that he ‘willed’ his wins and what he was doing on the track. He was going to beat the guys on the track no matter what was going on. That was his mind set.”
NASCAR was born in the southern United States so it may surprise you to learn that in 1950 it was a young man from New York who won the Grand National Championship - the forerunner to today’s Sprint Cup Series.
"In so many ways he was the perfect first champion," Bill France Jr. said of Byron in 1998 when he was named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers. "A guy who loved racing so much he refused to give it up. And he loved his country so much he gave it all he had."