ROCKINGHAM — Richard Petty spent most of his racing career going in circles. However, the legendary Carolinian went straight in 1965 at the wheel of a hemi-powered Plymouth Barracuda he dubbed “43 Jr.”
That car, which drag raced across the south during Chrysler’s brief boycott of NASCAR over restrictive rules that specifically targeted cars powered by its iconic hemi engine, will be on display Friday, March 30, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. at Griffin Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-RAM in advance of the 27th annual MOPARS at the Rock event at Rockingham Dragway.
“The Pettys did so much for racing, not just in the Carolinas but nationwide,” Rockingham Dragway owner Steve Earwood said last year. “Not many people know about Richard’s drag-racing career. In addition to racing himself with the ‘43 Jr.’ car, he and his brother Maurice also helped Roy Hill in his Pro Stock career. Roy even ran the Petty blue-and-red paint for a while.”
On Saturday, March 31, the “43 Jr.” will move on to the racetrack where it will share the spotlight with an all-Chrysler car-and-truck show, a swap meet and a host of drag racing events including the “Bullet Bob” Reed Memorial Hemi Shootout.
The car and truck show will feature 26 different classes including multiple Charger and Challenger categories. In addition to Best in Class trophies, there will be an Editor’s Choice Award along with awards for Best of Show and Best Truck.
Adult admission to Saturday’s event is $20, with children 12-and-under free when accompanied by a ticketed adult. Coupons good for $5 off the admission price are available at Griffin Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-RAM and active members of the military are half price.