NASCAR icon Richard Petty receives Argetsinger Award

CORNING, N.Y. (AP) Richard Petty, the winningest driver in NASCAR history, was honored Thursday night with the Cameron R. Argetsinger Award for outstanding contributions to motorsports.

The award, given by the International Motor Racing Research Center, was presented by NASCAR, International Speedway Corp. and Watkins Glen International during a ceremony at Corning Museum of Glass.

''You can't say thank you enough,'' said Petty, who retired in 1992. ''It's an honor to be involved. Thank you for honoring me. Very few people come along like me at the right time. I couldn't have been in a better place.''

The award memorializes Cameron R. Argetsinger, founder and organizer of the first races at Watkins Glen in the late 1940s. Team owner and former driver Chip Ganassi was the inaugural recipient of the award last year.

Petty, who earned a record 200 career wins in NASCAR's top tier and seven Cup championships during his long driving career, competed in eight NASCAR races at nearby Watkins Glen, including a special one in July 1964.

It was the last race of the Hall of Fame career of Petty's father, Lee, who won the inaugural Daytona 500 in 1959. Dad called it a day after nine laps because of handling problems and the King headed to the garage one lap later after getting taken out in a crash.

''I blew a left front tire. My dad come by and stopped. I got in the car with him and we rode around to the garage,'' Petty recalled. ''They'd shoot you if you tried to do something like that now.''