THE DON HUNTER COLLECTION
Richard Petty made a career out of being the easy-going icon, the driver who would sign every autograph and pose for every picture. Make no mistake about it, however. He could also be a fiery competitor on ... and off ... the race track.
After leading most of the second half of a 300-lap event on July 14, 1963 at New Asheville Speedway in North Carolina, Petty found Ned Jarrett on his bumper. Petty and Jarrett made contact on lap 281 as they encountered the lapped car of Major Melton, allowing Jarrett to take the lead, and eventually, the win.
"I went a lap down early in the race," Jarrett remembers. "By the end of the race, I had made up my lap and was closing in on the leader Petty. As I tried to pass him, Petty blocked me and we made contact, forcing Petty high and nearly spinning him out. I went on to win the race and Richard finished second."
After the race, as shown these amazing shots, Petty went after Jarrett with a vengeance. A few days later, the drivers, along with a couple others, sat down to iron out their differences. It must have worked ... they went on to become known as "The King" and "Gentleman Ned."