KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Maurice Petty, part of a racing dynasty and the first engine builer to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, died Saturday. He was 81.
His family confirmed the death. No cause was given.
He was the son of Lee Petty and brother of Richard Petty, and his ability to turn a wrench earned him the nickname “The Chief” in the garage. While his father and brother were stars for their ability behind the wheel, Maurice Petty was known more for his mechanical acumen. He helped the famiily win 198 races and seven championships in NASCAR’s premier series.
Hall of Famer Buddy Baker, Jim Paschal and Pete Hamilton also drove Maurice Petty’s engines to victory lane.
Lee Petty died in 2000 and Maurice Petty’s wife of 52 years, Patricia, died in 2014. He also was the uncle of former driver and broadcaster Kyle Petty and Truck Series crew chief Trent Owens.