Former NASCAR driver Richard Petty is not dead. Petty is 78 years old as of December 2015. His wife, Lynda, died of cancer in March 2014.
Lynda Petty was diagnosed with lymphoma of the central nervous system in 2010. The Pettys were married for 55 years. Richard Petty credited Lynda for helping him early in his 200-victory NASCAR career. Her many contributions included feeding their four children and the pit crew from a car in the infield of race tracks.
Lynda Petty was honored for her work with Richard by giving the "Start your engines" command as grand marshal of the Southern 500 on Mother's Day in 2005. In her later life, Lynda Petty expressed disdain with NASCAR's evolution from camaraderie among the drivers into a strongly competitive association with less friendship.
The National Motorsports Press Association posthumously awarded Lynda Petty with its 2014 Spirit Award. She was the founder of the charitable organization Racing Wives Auxiliary. The group helped those in need within the motorsports industry. Her son, Kyle, received the award in 1999, and again with his wife Pattie in 2003.
Richard and Lynda Petty's family included three daughters: Sharon, Lisa and Rebecca. Their only son, Kyle, was a NASCAR driver from 1979 to 2008. The couple also had 11 grandchildren.