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Car No. 43 through the years in NASCAR | – NASCAR

Car No. 43 through the years in NASCAR | – NASCAR
29 Jul

By Zack Albert | Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Only a handful of car numbers stand out as transcendent in motorsports. The No. 43, a number that Richard Petty carried to stock-car racing royalty, is one of them. Take a trip through NASCAR’s history books with the iconic No. 43 through the years with Petty, his predecessors and successors with the number.

Several drivers fielded the No. 43 in NASCAR’s earliest days before Richard Petty made his first premier-series start with the number in 1959. Here, fans get a closer look at Larry Mann’s 1951 Hudson Hornet before an event.

Jimmie Lewallen was among the earliest competitors to use the No. 43, making four starts with it in 1953. Names such as Shorty York, Jim Reed, Billy Irvin and Bob Ross were other drivers of the No. 43 before Petty’s career took off.

Maurice Petty wheels the No. 43 as he races behind Wendell Scott’s No. 34 at Orange Speedway in Hillsborough, North Carolina. Maurice, Richard’s brother, made four starts in No. 43, but became better known as a master mechanic, engine builder and crew chief.

Jim Paschal was another keeper of the No. 43 before Richard Petty’s reign took hold with the number. Paschal won 25 times in NASCAR’s top division, registering two of those in the Petty Enterprises No. 43 in 1963.

Richard Petty stands beside his 1957 Oldsmobile before the first Daytona 500 in 1959. Cars from the NASCAR Convertible Division competed alongside hardtops; Petty dropped out with engine failure after just eight laps and finished 57th in the 59-car field.

Petty made 15 starts in the Convertible tour in the late ’50s, posting his first NASCAR win with the No. 43 in 1959 at Columbia Speedway in South Carolina.

Richard Petty alongside his 1960 Plymouth at Daytona International Speedway. Petty landed his first three wins in 1960 along with two pole positions on his way to a second-place finish in the standings behind champion Rex White.

Petty’s No. 43 sports some scars from previous short-track battles in the early 1960s.

Family patriarch Lee Petty leans in to consult with son Richard during a pit stop at South Boston Speedway in 1963. Lee Petty was best known for driving car No. 42, but grabbed one of his 54 career wins using the No. 43, at North Wilkesboro Speedway in 1959.

Richard Petty with his 1963 Plymouth at Daytona International Speedway. Petty had scored eight wins the previous season, but jumped to a 14-victory total in ’63.

Richard Petty exits the No. 43 after an event at Bristol Motor Speedway in 1964, the year that delivered his first championship in NASCAR’s top series and his first Daytona 500 win.

Richard Petty takes the checkered flag in the Buddy Shuman Memorial 100-miler at Hickory Speedway in 1965. Petty sat out most of the ’65 campaign in a dispute with NASCAR officials, who had banned the Chrysler Hemi engine.

After a brief stint in drag racing, Richard Petty returned with gusto in 1966. He guided his No. 43 Plymouth to eight wins in 39 starts.

Among Petty’s 1966 triumphs was his first victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway. His No. 43 led 90 of 267 laps and edged Buddy Baker by two seconds.

Richard Petty’s most dominant season came in 1967, when his blue Plymouth stormed to 27 wins in 48 starts and his second championship. Here, Petty’s No. 43 works to the low side of rival David Pearson at Asheville-Weaverville Speedway.

Richard Petty leaves pit road in the 1968 Daytona 500 after his crew patched the roof of the No. 43 with tape. Petty competed with a vinyl roof in an attempt to gain an aerodynamic edge, but the strategy backfired, leaving him eighth in the final order.

Petty’s season, however, was a success, with 16 more wins added to his total.

Richard Petty switched to Ford for 1969 with the No. 43 Torino Cobra seen here in bright blue at Daytona International Speedway. He won 10 times and claimed second in the standings to champ David Pearson.

Petty was back with Plymouth for 1970-78. Here, he leans on his 1971 Daytona 500 winner, which swept to 21 victories that season and his third series championship.

Richard Petty’s No. 43 rides took on a splash of bright STP red with his familiar blue in the early 1970s. And the King added some ’70s-style facial hair as well.

His 1973 Dodge became a Daytona 500 winner that year, winning by two laps over runner-up Bobby Isaac’s Ford.

A fifth championship was Petty’s byproduct in the 1974 campaign in this striking No. 43 Dodge.

Petty made it back-to-back titles in 1975, earning his fourth championship in a five-year span. Here, Petty celebrates in Daytona’s Victory Lane after a triumph in the July 4 Firecracker 400.

Richard Petty’s No. 43 STP Dodge navigates Riverside International Raceway’s winding layout in the mid-1970s.

Richard Petty poses with the No. 43 Dodge at Daytona International Speedway in 1978. Petty switched over to Chevrolet before the season was out.

Richard Petty’s No. 43 stays close alongside Buddy Baker’s No. 28 at Martinsville Speedway in 1979. Petty ended a drought of more than a year in the historic ’79 Daytona 500, then added four more triumphs to run his win total to 190 for his career to that point.

Richard Petty’s No. 43 digs to the low side of Dale Earnhardt’s No. 2 at Bristol Motor Speedway in 1980. The two legends won seven titles each and both were elected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in its first class.

Crew chief Dale Inman, right, helps push Richard Petty’s No. 43 Buick through the Daytona garage area in 1981. Inman oversaw Petty’s record seventh Daytona 500 win that year, then left to work with Earnhardt and team owner Rod Osterlund.

The 1982 season brought a slightly different look to the No. 43 team, which shifted its allegiances to Pontiac. Petty went winless, stuck on 195 career wins by season’s end.

Richard Petty’s No. 43 edges out Bill Elliott’s No. 9 for the checkered flag at Rockingham in March 1983 to get back on a winning track. Two more wins that year put him just two wins away from the 200-win plateau.

The Petty Enterprises crew pushes Richard Petty’s No. 43 to Victory Lane after recording his 200th career win in NASCAR’s top series in the 1984 Firecracker 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

Richard Petty celebrates his milestone 200th Cup Series win in Daytona’s Victory Lane after the 1984 Firecracker 400.

Richard Petty’s No. 43 Pontiac stays just ahead of Bobby Allison’s No. 22 Buick during one of the last races held at Riverside International Raceway in California.

A gem from the 1986 season: Richard Petty poses with his No. 43 car and the Space Shuttle Enterprise.

Richard Petty leads the pack in the 1987 Talladega 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

The shape of Richard Petty’s No. 43 Pontiac had shifted by the 1989 season, but the familiar colors remained the same.

The 1990s arrived with Petty in the twilight of his driving career. The legend made plans to retire at the end of the 1992 season at age 55.

This No. 43 Pontiac Grand Prix would be Richard Petty’s final ride in Cup Series competition. He brought his career and fan appreciation tour to a close after the 1992 Hooters 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Petty’s team shelved the No. 43 in favor of the No. 44 with Rick Wilson taking over driving duties in 1993. For 1994, the No. 43 returned with Wally Dallenbach Jr. and John Andretti splitting the season.

By 1995, Petty introduced Bobby Hamilton, right, as his driver, starting a three-season partnership. Hamilton scored two wins during that time, becoming the first person not named Petty to win with the No. 43 since Jim Paschal in 1963.

John Andretti returned to the No. 43 team in 1998, starting a five-year term with the Petty group. Their time together produced one win — Andretti’s last — at Martinsville in 1999.

John Andretti’s 1999 Pontiac makes the rounds at Sonoma Raceway.

IndyCar veteran Christian Fittipaldi had a brief tenure in stock-car racing’s top circuit from 2002-03. Of his 16 career starts, 10 of those came in the No. 43, which added a dash of Cheerios yellow to its paint schemes in the 2000s and switched to Dodge in the 2001 season.

Jeff Green closed out the 2003 season with the No. 43 team, driving its Dodge until the end of the ’05 campaign. Their pairing produced just one top-10 finish in 80 starts.

Bobby Labonte chats with the No. 43 crew at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2007. The former Cup Series champion drove the No. 43 for three seasons (2006-08)

Reed Sorenson joined the No. 43 group for 2009, marking just his fourth full season at the Cup Series level. The campaign was also the No. 43 team’s final season with Dodge.

AJ Allmendinger became the pick for the No. 43 in 2010, forging a two-season association. Allmendinger corralled one pole position in that first season, ending a pole drought of nearly 11 years for the No. 43.

AJ Allmendinger sports red-white-and-blue colors on the No. 43 Valvoline entry at Kentucky Speedway.

Allmendinger’s time with the Petty-owned team also provided many opportunities for retro-look designs on the No. 43 as the 2011 Ford lines up beside one of Petty’s 1970s racers.

Aric Almirola came aboard the No. 43 team as its driver in 2012, the first season of what would become a six-year relationship.

Aric Almirola finds the apex as he rounds a turn at Watkins Glen International in 2015. Almirola’s time with the No. 43 group yielded a victory at Daytona International Speedway in July 2014, ending a 15-year dry spell for the team.

Bubba Wallace stepped in for a four-race tryout with the No. 43 team while Almirola recovered from an injury in 2017 before joining the team full-time the following season. Wallace finished second in the 2018 Daytona 500 to kick off his rookie campaign.

The No. 43 continues to fly in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series with Bubba Wallace aiming to add to its vibrant legacy.



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