- Associated Press - Monday, February 18, 2013

DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (AP) - It’s good to be king. It’s even better to be The King.

Richard Petty retired in 1992 but the all-time great still commands as much attention from NASCAR fans as other former champions such as Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson.

Petty was mobbed on a weekend walk through the garage at Daytona International Speedway and stopped to fulfill every request for an autograph or a picture. Fans who want more of the Hall of Fame driver can sign up for the Richard Petty Fantasy Racing Camp from March 10-13 in Las Vegas.

The camp’s website lists a bunch of race-fueled activities like taking spins around Las Vegas Motor Speedway and wearing custom apparel.

And, of course, “rubbing elbows with The King himself!”

All that can be yours for the everyday low price of $10,500.

That can buy a lot of Stetson cowboy hats. Suddenly, that $100 dollar race day ticket doesn’t seem so expensive, does it?

Until fantasy camp starts, fans will have to turn their attention to Daytona, where Petty dominated like no other driver in NASCAR.

“Daytona was really the thing that propelled me into the racing world,” Petty said. “We’d won a bunch of races, but if you came down here and won Daytona, you’d forget about all of them races you won. Anybody that wins at Daytona is going to be known as the Daytona winner.”

Petty has had some success as an owner and has two entries, Marcos Ambrose and Aric Almirola, vying for a spot in Sunday’s Daytona 500 field.

Both of those drivers could surely use the stamp on their resume of winning the Daytona 500. It’s a feat that would stick with them forever.

“Anybody that wins at Daytona is always going to be known as the Daytona winner,” Petty said.

If anyone would know, it’s seven-time Daytona 500 winner Richard Petty.

Hey, he was right!


Follow Dan Gelston online: https://twitter.com/APGelston and https://racing.ap.org

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