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Petty Fails to Qualify--Streak in Jeopardy

Richard Petty failed to qualify Saturday for the Pontiac 400 at Richmond, Va., apparently ending his streak of consecutive starts in Winston Cup events at 513.

Petty, 51, a seven-time Winston Cup champion and winner of 200 races--both records--could go no faster than 116.535 m.p.h. He was not eligible for one of the two provisional spots in the 36-car field, and told his crew to pack up his car and their equipment and head for the team’s shop--indicating that he would not opt to buy a ride in a car that did qualify.

Petty’s streak dates to Nov. 7, 1971 at Macon, Ga., a race he did not run due to a dispute over purse money.

A NASCAR spokesman said Petty has until 1:05 p.m., EST, today--10 minutes before the scheduled start of the race--to decide whether to buy a ride.

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