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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: The second race

   July 19, 1958 -- It's time to clear up a small mystery.

   Buffalo is not exactly known for its auto racing history, but the records show that one of the greatest stock car drivers in history raced within the city limits. Maybe you've heard of Richard Petty.

   He wasn't "The King" quite yet. In fact, he was just getting started in what would eventually be called NASCAR.

   Petty drove in a Grand National event in Civic Stadium (later War Memorial Stadium) on this date. He finished 11th.

   There are some historical sources that say this was the first time that Petty had ever taken part in a Grand National event. But before we start raising money to put up a plaque, we should check the facts.

   According to NASCAR.com, Petty's career actually began the day before … in Toronto. He finished 17th in that race, and competed in five other races that season. Dad Lee Petty was the overall champion that year.

   Richard Petty went on to a staggering career with seven championships. The Grand National circuit, and Petty, never did return to Buffalo, though.

 --- Budd Bailey

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