The Petty Junkyard
please allow time for pics to load.

So you wondered,  "What ever happened to all those used Petty race car parts?"     Well, they used to have their very own junkyard out in back of the shops in Level Cross.   In the old days, the stuff would get tossed back there and left.    Due to the nature of the terrain, much of it was later bulldozed and buried with fill.   

In the early to mid eighties, the land this stuff was on was relatively accessible to looters, and souvenier hunters.  One fellow,  I'm told was so brazen to bring a backhoe in on a weekend while the team was at the track.   You name it - it was there, and a fair amount was excavated and brought up:  Sheetmetal, blocks, heads,  reportedly a whole box fill of new Superbird windshield air deflectors .   There are stories of complete Hemis tossed off the dyno while still warm.   Boss 429 heads.   

A couple of pieces brought up were the '70 Road Runner or Superbird quarter panel and an authentic Pete Hamilton nose.  John Arruzza is the lucky owner, and related much of the above story.
As you might expect, the Pettys were not all that thrilled with someone trespassing and digging all this stuff up.   And so the loophole was closed.   Eventually,  their Craftsman truck shop and Maurice Petty's engine shop were built on this property, and whatever was left has now been built on or has been paved over.     Some of you may have seen the remains of the 43 jr Barracuda drag car which was excavated as a battered shell before the construction, and is now in a private collection. 

In 1970,  the Petty junkyard was in full swing with a variety of vehicles in relatively complete condition.   George Wallace, a former engineer at Chrysler Corporation visited the Petty yard in June 1970.   With him was Larry Rathgeb, who was in charge of the day to day race activities for Chrysler.   Together, they were there to take a look at the '70 Road Runner that Petty had crashed and demolished during the Rebel 400 at Darlington.   
There was a purpose to look at this particular car.  When the Petty's switched to Ford for the 1969 season, all their Chrysler inventory was disposed of in one way or another.   When they came back to Plymouth for 1970,   the Petty's built two Superbirds right away, but depended on off the shelf Nichels Engineering built short track cars at the start of the season.    When the Superbird was damaged in practice at Darlington, the team went back home and got the short track Road Runner, which is the car everyone saw crashing on Wide World of Sports.  Since this particular car had gone through the most severe crash of any of the Chrysler Engineering designed race cars, George Wallace and Larry Rathgeb wanted to see  how the structure held up.  And they were pleased to see it worked out fine.
Here's another view of the Road Runner as seen walking towards it from the shop.  Is that a Superbird hood leaning up against the car?
A large pile of Petty junk.   The Darlington Road Runner can be seen behind the pile, off tot he left with the deck lid up.
View from the junk pile (at left) back towards the shop.  You can see the tire tracks where they dragged the scrap out to be disposed of.  Compare this photo to the recent aerial photo of the Petty complex shown below.
With his work done,  George Wallace wandered deeper into the yard and found what must be one of Richard's first race cars - an Oldsmobile.   Happily for us, George kept his camera busy.
What would this Lee Petty race car be worth today, if it still existed? 
Our thanks to George Wallace for sharing his photos and recollections of the Petty junkyard.  Gone, but not forgotten.  Also thanks to John Arruzza for the photos of the nose and quarter panel.  
The junk yard was located directly behind building 9, which was the Chrysler parts distribution warehouse, built in 1970.   In the previous photo above, You can see the overhead door of the warehouse open, with buildings 5 & 6 visible to the left of the photo.   Buildings 13 and 15 were built later and caused the permanent clearing and paving of what was the junkyard.

Here is a list of the buildings from the Petty complex

1. The Lee Petty home where Richard and Maurice were raised.

2.  Beneath this roof lies the original A-frame reaper shed that started it all. Built in the early 1920's, this building was a simple wooden structure with a dirt floor. It was first used as a race shop in 1951.

3. First addition to the race shop. Richard and Maurice poured the concrete floor in 1956.

4. Built in 1957 and 1958, this building housed the original engine room.

5. Constructed in several phases between 1958 and 1964

6. Dyno rooms and expanded engine room built in 1966. Currently houses two engine dynomometers

7. #43 car set-up and offices. (1969)

8. Originally the parts department, now the fab shop for 43 & 44 cars. (1970)

9. The "Chrysler Barn". Originally built as a distribution center for all Chrysler racing parts. (1970)

10. Paint and body shop. (1973)

11. Storage. (1973)

12. The Richard Petty Museum. Used as a race shop for Kyle from 1979 to 1984. (1973)

13. Maurice Petty and Associates offices. (1974)

14. Marketing offices. (1998)

15. Maurice Petty and Associates. Engines for Richard Petty Motorsports #43 Dodge currently built at this location. (1999)

16. Expanded paint and body shop. (1999)

17. Expanded engine room and #44 car set-up. (1999)