Richard Petty

NASCAR AMERICA: 1-on-1 with the King – and Hall of Famer – Richard Petty (VIDEO)

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As the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s Class of 2015 Induction Ceremony (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra) draws closer, some of the sport’s biggest figures are starting to arrive for the occasion.

One of them is seven-time Sprint Cup champion Richard Petty, who was part of the Hall of Fame’s inaugural Class of 2010. That group also included NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. and son Bill France Jr., legendary driver and team owner Junior Johnson, and another seven-time Cup champ, Dale Earnhardt Sr.

Being part of that first class remains a major accomplishment in the eyes of The King.

“That was the name of the game with us – if you ever run a race, you have to win it,” Petty said to NBCSN’s Kelli Stavast from the red carpet this evening. “We were fortunate to get in on the first go-round, and that will always be a big plus on my side.”

With 200 Sprint Cup wins on his resume, it was almost a given that Petty would enter the Hall on his first try. But he told Stavast that five years later, he’s still grateful that he doesn’t have to worry about getting in.

“I’m glad I went ahead and got in, and don’t have to go up against some of those guys that are in now,” he said. “It’s gonna be a really good [Class of 2015]. It’s a real versatility deal across the whole board. It shows from NASCAR’s standpoint…all the different scenarios of what it takes to be in the Hall of Fame.”

For more of Petty’s thoughts, check out his full interview above.