There will never be a another driver in NASCAR's Cup series that can match the win record of Richard Petty, but that was a different time, and racing was much different. Several modern-era drivers might have been serious rivals, though.
Petty was nicknamed the "King" because of his ability to win so many races and series titles. He did win 200 Cup races back in his heyday, primarily during the 1960s and 1970s. He has seven championships in the series.
The race schedule often included multiple events in any given week. Petty was a dominant driver with few who could compete with his resources. David Pearson might have been his biggest nemesis.
Pearson won 105 races and three championships in NASCAR's top series, but he often did not race full-time. Had this legendary driver raced as often as Petty, he may have surpassed his win record.
Racing was tough during that era with the bulky, high-horsepower cars. Safety was minimal with the cars and tracks. Drivers wore open-faced helmets with little to restrain them in the car compared to today's standards.
Sometimes the only communication a driver had with his crew was via a chalkboard. It was much different from the current drivers who rant over the in-car radio, sometimes like spoiled brats.
The drivers raced the car they brought to the track with few adjustments, unlike the cars that are tuned by engineers with technology that could not have been imagined back in the day.
Driver requirements consisted of the desire to race and win, strong endurance and a certain mental toughness that kept them doing what they did with what they had. They could barely support families on their winnings.
Few current NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers would have run the course like Petty because they simply would not have the desire or commitment, and perhaps ability to endure a life that was far from the luxuries of today.
There are drivers on the current Cup roster who are just racers at heart. They would have raced anything, anytime and won. Some still do race every chance they get in other series.
These five drivers might have been tough competition for the "King." See if you agree.