In his career, he won seven Daytona 500s (1964, 1966, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1979, and 1981) and seven NASCAR championships (1964, 1967, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975, and 1979). However, despite all of these championships, and 200 career wins, he is still best known today as the man who rechristened Dale Colbert with the name "Earnhardt".
In his NASCAR career, which spanned from 1958 to 1992, he mostly drove the #43 STP car. For his efforts, the number 43 is one of only two retired numbers in NASCAR (the other being Earnhardt's #3), STP is one of only two retired sponsors in NASCAR (the other being GM Goodwrench, a longtime Earnhardt sponsor), and "Petty blue" is one of only two retired car colors in NASCAR (the other being black, for Earnhardt). NASCAR did this when Earnhardt died in 2001 at Petty's suggestion. They remain two of the most popular drivers in NASCAR history.