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Famed engine builder Maurice Petty dies at 81

Maurice Petty, one of four members of his famed racing family inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, died Saturday. He was 81.

A North Carolina native, Petty competed in 26 premier series races between 1960-64, but he made his name as an engine builder.

“One of his many crowning achievements was serving as crew chief and engine builder for Hamilton in 1970 when they won the Daytona 500 and both races at Talladega Superspeedway,” the NASCAR Hall of Fame said Saturday in a statement. “Although the record shows 212 victories, Petty has well over 250 wins to his credit considering all the engines he built for his competitors.”

He built the engines that fueled 198 NASCAR Cup Series victories and the seven titles of his older brother, Richard. Known as “Chief,” Maurice Petty was the first engine builder inducted into the Hall of Fame. He also served as a crew chief and general manager for the family racing team.

The Hall of Fame welcomed him in 2014, following the enshrinements of his father, Lee, in 2011, Richard in 2010, and cousin Dale Inman in 2012.

“The `Chief’ was one of the most talented mechanics in NASCAR history,” Jim France, NASCAR chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “He provided the power that helped Petty Enterprises define dominance in sports. While he was known for his work under the hood, Maurice played multiple behind-the-scenes roles, doing whatever it took to help deliver his cars to Victory Lane. On behalf of the France family, I offer my condolences to the friends and family of Maurice Petty, a true NASCAR giant.”

–Field Level Media

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