Thanks to longtime NASCAR modified racer Roger Griffith of New Hartford, NY, a 1985 Curb Racing/STP Pontiac wheeled by NASCAR superstar Richard Petty is now on display in the Saratoga Automobile Museum’s “Racing in New York” gallery.
After retiring from modified competition, Griffith purchased the former Petty car for competition in vintage events. He repainted it and numbered it to match his modifieds, but when he retired from vintage action, Griffith returned it to its original livery. The freshly repainted #43 made its debut in SAM’s wildly popular Golub Gallery NASCAR exhibit in 2012.
“Roger called one day to say he had been thinking of selling it to make room in his business,” recalled SAM auto racing curator Ron Hedger. “Then he surprised me by adding that he’d decided it belonged in the museum where race fans could view and appreciate both the car and the fabulous career that Richard Petty had. We are extremely grateful for his donation.”
Richard Petty left his career-long home at Petty Enterprises from 1984-86 to drive for Mike Curb, a very successful record industry executive and former Lt. Governor of California. He won his 200th and final race, Daytona’s Firecracker 400, in a Curb Pontiac in 1984. In 1985, when the car Griffith purchased saw action, Petty notched 13 top ten finishes and finished the season 14th in the point standings.
The car greatly resembles regular passenger cars of the day and provides an interesting contrast to the cutaway Penske Racing #2 “Car of Tomorrow” once wheeled by Kurt Busch exhibited next to it in the “Racing in New York” gallery.