‘First Lady of NASCAR’ Lynda Petty dead at 72

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The flag outside Richard Petty Motorsports on March 25 (WGHP)

RANDLEMAN, N.C. — Lynda Gayle Owens Petty, the wife of Richard Petty, died at her home in Level Cross on Tuesday.

She was 72.

Lynda was surrounded by her family and passed away “peacefully” after her battle with cancer, the family said in a statement.

“We wish to sincerely thank everyone who has supported us and our family throughout the years and at this time,” the family said in a statement “We will forever love and miss a wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and friend.”

Victory Junction’s COO, Austin Petty, also released a statement on the passing of his grandmother.

“We have lost my grandmother, but my family and our Victory Junction family are grateful to have had her love and wisdom for so many years. It was no secret that she was the cornerstone of the Petty family; a woman of humility and extraordinary strength. While we mourn her death, we also celebrate her life and the profound impact she had on those who knew her.”

Richard married “Mrs. Lynda” in 1958 when she was 17-years-old. Richard was 21. The two met in high school.

The couple eloped in South Carolina and kept it a secret, waiting until Richard could afford an engagement ring.

“I brought her home, dumped her out in the middle of town, she went into her house and I went home,” Petty told FOX Sports. “I took me three or four months to get a diamond for her, and by the time we got the money, I bought a diamond and told everybody we were married.”

Credit: WGHP

Credit: WGHP

As Petty’s stock car kingdom was growing, Lynda ruled at home, and disciplining their four children rested solely on her shoulders.

“I was the one, and you can ask them … you’d ask Kyle, ‘Did your daddy ever whip you?’ and he’d say, ‘No, but my mother wailed the daylights out of me.,’” Lynda said in a 2009 interview. “I disciplined and I never even bothered Richard with it. I didn’t want to put the fear of God in him that he was going to beat his children to death for doing something, so I took care of them and they loved him to death and still do.”

Over the past few years, the couple lived in Randleman where they operated Richard Petty Motorsports.

Credit: WGHP

Credit: WGHP

The Richard Petty Museum was started in the race shop in 1988 by Lynda, but it was moved to nearby Randleman in 2003 because of space demands as the racing operation expanded. Last November, it was announced the museum would be relocated to Level Cross at the site of the original Petty Engineering and Petty Enterprises shops.

Lynda is preceded by grandson Adam K. Petty and is survived by her loving husband Richard; son, Kyle and daughters Sharon and husband Terry Farlow; Lisa and husband Charlie Luck; Rebecca and husband Brian Moffitt. In addition, she is survived by grandchildren Austin Petty and wife Sarah; Hannah and husband Brad Leonard; Montgomery and husband Randy Schlappi; Maggie and Kyle Farlow; Richard, Sarah and Margaret Luck; Helen, Thad and Harrison Moffitt, and great grandchildren Sullivan Mae Schlappi and Adam Christopher Stonewall Petty.

A private memorial service for family and friends will be held at Reverie Place in Randleman, North Carolina which Pastor Kenny Crosswhite will officiate. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the following:

Petty Family Foundation
311 Branson Mill Road
Randleman, N.C. 27317

Richard and Lynda Petty were featured in this 2012 Duke Cancer Institute video where Lynda talked about her battle with cancer:

91 comments

  • Sandilovesthelord

    So sorry for your loss! Prayers that the Lord God will comfort and carry your family and friends through these sad days…

  • robert post

    The Queen of nascar has left us, Long live the Queen. thoughts and prayers to the entire family The Post family Lexington SC

  • sue plumpton

    Prayers go out to the Petty family she was a great person I only met her one time but will always remember how strong she was. Always hold the memories close.

  • JOE ANN J. ADAMS

    OUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS TO THE PETTY FAMILY – FROM THE MELVIN L. JOSEPH FAMILY. GOD BLESS!

  • Brittany

    Heaven gained a true angel,growing up in the Randleman/Level Cross Community I saw first hand how much she loved her community and everyone it. Such a sweet lady with a big heart and infectious love for life. She will be missed <3 Thoughts and prayers with all of the Petty family.

  • JRogers

    Some people are such idiots and leave such cruel messages on here. You just want to reach out and slap some sense into them. If you can’t say anything good, then keep your mouth shut. RIP Mrs. Petty. I know your family and friends are going to miss you!

    • Will Grant

      You’re awfully brave online, “JRogers” considering you probably have a gut that hangs down to your knees and it takes you an hour and a half to watch “60 Minutes.”

  • Mary Holton

    Will Grant, what a childless mentality you have. You have one sick mind. And by the way when did Dale Jr become God. First don’t believe he said that and think you have no business posting to this page for people mourning Lynda.

    • Will Grant

      Oh, brother…”childless mentality” … it’s obvious you didn’t finish high school, “Mary Holton.”

  • Barbara

    Have always heard of, and admired, Ms Lynda; such a strong and respected LADY! All aches and pains now cease in the arms of our Lord and, with Adam, holding your hand, you’ll each wait for your other loved ones. May God’s blessed assurance abound to each of you that remain behind to carry on Ms Lynda’s loving care. God Bless each of you.

  • Will Grant

    You’re awfully brave online, “JRogers” considering you probably have a gut that hangs down to your knees and it takes you an hour and a half to watch “60 Minutes.”

  • Denise Stephenson

    So sorry to hear of the lost of Lynda Petty. I’m sure the NASCAR family will miss her. Prayers for the petty family.

  • June Perry

    Richard do not feel the deep loss that you are now feeling…She will always be alive in your heart. With pain there is healing. You have many friends, fans, and family that will always be there for you. I know what a strong woman she must of been to hold the ” PETTY ” clan together. Fear not, there is strength in future generations that she has taught so well you will never be alone.
    My sympathy goes out to the rest of the Petty family and friends, so many will mourn her passing. She is with God now and will continue to watch over you all till you meet again.

  • todd kopicz

    I’m at a loss of words,I met Lynda one time even though it was brief I will always remember her smile..such a great family .its a sad day

  • Bill and Barb McConnell (Florida)

    As we tuned in to NASCAR today, was saddened to hear of the passing of Lynda. Cancer is a terrible disease but now she is with those that went before her and welcomed her with open arms. Rejoice in her new life and await the time you will be reunited.

  • Millie May

    Our prayers are with the Petty family. I was a member of Richard Petty fan club when he raced . When they came to Daytona to race. I bowled with Lynda and Richard . She was a lovely lady and was a good bowler. I will have fond memories of her.

  • don doane

    my thoughts and prayers go out to the petty family. losing mom is the pits in life. no one loves you more than a mom. may she sit high in Gods kingdom.

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