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NASCAR's Richard Petty named North Carolinian of the Year

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CONCORD (AP) -- He was already The King. Now, Richard Petty is the North Carolinian of the Year.

Petty won a record 200 NASCAR Winston Cup races and seven Daytona 500 races. He won 27 races in 1967 alone, 18 races in 1970 and 21 in 1971. Since 2000, no driver has won more than eight in a season. Only the late Dale Earnhardt matched Petty's seven NASCAR championships.

Petty was honored at the press association's annual meeting, held this year at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord.

The award started in 1993 and is given to North Carolinians who bring honor and recognition to the state. Other winners include evangelist Billy Graham and former North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith, North Carolina Senator Elizabeth Dole and banjo-picker Earl Scruggs.