When you think of Richard Petty, a number of things come to mind. His seven NASCAR Cup Series championships. His Richard Petty Motorsports ownership. His reputation as “The King.” His impressive car collection. And, last but not least, his famous black cowboy hat.

Petty’s been wearing that hat for so long, it almost seems like he was born with it on his head. But, did you know he didn’t start wearing it until the late ’70s? During an episode of the Dale Jr. Download, Petty sat down with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and explained the origin story of the accessory that would later become one of the most iconic hats of all time. And it all had to do with sticking it to the man.

?Got into one of the [sponsorship] deals ? probably, more so, used to than what it is now,? Petty said. ?If he?s talking to the Goodyear guy, you had an STP hat. Talking to STP guy, you had something else on. I said, ?Man, this ain?t working,? You know what I mean? So you was always behind. The one thing about the hat: If the sun?s shining, you don?t get hot. If it?s raining, you don?t get wet. So works out pretty good.?

Petty had a lot more to say during his interview with Dale Jr., including the time he broke his neck and didn’t know it and the time that he and Ronald Reagan ate Kentucky Fried Chicken together.

?He got us on the front page, we got him on the sports page,? Petty said. ?So it was a win-win situation for all of us, because he was running for president at the time.?

What a legend!


What Is Richard Petty’s Net Worth?

Richard Lee Petty is one of the most legendary drivers in NASCAR history. Born on July 2, 1937, the Level Cross, North Carolina native won the NASCAR Championship seven times, twice in the Grand National series and five times in the Winston Cup Series. He also raked in a record 200 career wins, and, in 1967, won a record 27 races. He also had some fantastic luck at Daytona International Speedway, winning seven Daytona 500s.

Here’s a fun fact: While he found great success driving the Plymouths with the iconic Petty Blue paint scheme in the ’60s, the car he drove the longest was the Dodge Charger in 1971-1974.

From getting Rookie of the Year in 1959 to getting inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010, Petty has a long history of victories and accolades. Considering Petty’s career accomplishments, it’s no wonder that they call the NASCAR racing legend “The King.” And, considering that he has a whopping $65 million net worth, he definitely has king-like riches to his name.

After putting 40 years into his auto racing career, Petty retired following the 1992 season. But, after calling it quits as a race car driver, he didn’t stop raking in the big bucks and seriously building up that net worth.

He also had a career as a broadcaster (though that didn’t last very long), has been a longtime owner (first Petty Enterprises, then Richard Petty Motorsports) and has a number of sponsorships under his belt. There’s also the Richard Petty Museum in Randleman, North Carolina. It’s safe to say that Petty has been keeping pretty busy even after all these years.

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To give you an idea of just how wealthy Petty is, here are the standings of the Top 20 richest NASCAR drivers in history (you’ll see that Petty just cracks the Top 10).

20. Denny Hamlin — $30 Million

19. Michael Waltrip — $35 Million

18. Jeff Burton — $45 Million

17. Greg Biffle — $50 Million

16. Kurt Busch — $50 Million

15. Kyle Busch — $50 Million

14. Carl Edwards — $50 Million

13. Kasey Kahne — $50 Million

12. Cale Yarborough — $50 Million

11. Danica Patrick — $55 Million

10. Matt Kenseth — $60 Million

9. Richard Petty — $65 Million

8. Dale Earnhardt — $70 Million

7. Kevin Harvick — $70 Million

6. Mark Martin — $70 Million

5. Tony Stewart — $70 Million

4. Ken Schrader — $75 Million

3. Jimmie Johnson — $120 Million

2. Jeff Gordon — $150 Million

1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. — $300 Million

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