Lynda Gayle Owens Petty, 72, one of the first women of NASCAR and its most beloved wife, mother and friend, passed away peacefully at her home in Level Cross, North Carolina today. She was surrounded by her family.

Affectionately known as "Mrs. Lynda" to so many, Lynda Petty set a standard for being a loving, supportive and, when needed, an authoritative wife and mother. She also set the benchmark for being a leader in her local community while raising a family in the fast-growing sport of stock car racing.

It was with strong will that Petty fought cancer over the past several years. It was the same determination that led her to make a difference as a Red Cross volunteer, a school volunteer, the president of the athletic booster club and a Girl and Boy Scout leader in her lifetime. She also served on the Randolph County School Board for 16 years and was on the board of the Randolph County Hospice.

Lynda helped start the Racing Wives Auxiliary and will always be remembered as the wife to Richard Petty. Their steadfast love endured trials that only a marriage of over 50 years can. Through triumph and heartache, Lynda Petty was the castle that supported a king in private and public moments.  

Lynda is proceeded by grandson Adam K. Petty and is survived by her loving husband Richard; son, Kyle and daughters Sharon and husband Terry Farlow; Lisa and husband Charlie Luck; Rebecca and husband Brian Moffitt. In addition, she is survived by grandchildren Austin Petty and wife Sarah; Hannah and husband Brad Leonard; Montgomery and husband Randy Schlappi; Maggie and Kyle Farlow; Richard, Sarah and Margaret Luck; Helen, Thad and Harrison Moffitt, and great grandchildren Sullivan Mae Schlappi and Adam Christopher Stonewall Petty.    

A private memorial service for family and friends will be held at Reverie Place in Randleman, North Carolina which Pastor Kenny Crosswhite will officiate. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the following:

Petty Family Foundation

311 Branson Mill Road
Randleman, N.C. 27317

A public memorial service will not be held and the family asks for privacy at this time.

The family offered the following statement to the public:

"We wish to sincerely thank everyone who has supported us and our family throughout the years and at this time. We will forever love and miss a wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and friend."

RPM PR

UPDATE: STATEMENT FROM NASCAR CEO BRIAN FRANCE

“On behalf of the France Family and everyone at NASCAR, I want to offer sincere condolences to the Petty Family regarding the loss of their beloved matriarch, Lynda Petty,” said Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and CEO. “Through the years, Lynda became an integral part of the NASCAR landscape. We have lost a true friend, who will be missed each and every day. Our thoughts and prayers will be with the Pettys throughout this difficult time.”

UPDATE: STATEMENT FROM AUSTIN PETTY - COO VICTORY JUNCTION

"We have lost my grandmother, but my family and our Victory Junction family are grateful to have had her love and wisdom for so many years.  It was no secret that she was the cornerstone of the Petty family; a woman of humility and extraordinary strength.  While we mourn her death, we also celebrate her life and the profound impact she had on those who knew her.  The pride she had in her children, her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren was shared with us through her unconditional love.  Her strong example of leadership outside of her home was most recently acknowledged by the Association of Fundraising Professionals when she, along with my grandfather, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement in Philanthropy Award for her personal commitment to seriously ill children and to our American troops.  We honor my grandmother's legacy of inspiration and enduring love at Victory Junction today and always."

UPDATE: STATEMENT FROM FORD MOTOR CO.

Edsel B. Ford II, member, Board of Directors, Ford Motor Company:  "Our sympathies go out to Richard and the entire Petty family today on the passing of Lynda.  She has stood by Richard's side throughout these many years, and she will be missed by many in the sport."

Jamie Allison, director, Ford Racing:  "From all the Ford fans around the world, our thoughts and prayers are with Richard, and all the Petty family today with this sad news.  Lynda was a very important part of the Petty legacy in the sport.   We know this is a difficult day for both the family, and all the team members at RPM, and our hearts go out to them."

UPDATE: STATEMENT FROM ED CLARK - PRESIDENT ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY

“We want to extend our most sincere condolences to the Petty family following the passing of Lynda Petty. She will forever be remembered for her strong commitment to her family and her extraordinary support of the generations of racing Pettys. She left a lasting impact on numerous individuals throughout the sport.”

UPDATE: STATEMENT FROM CLAY CAMPBELL - PRESIDENT MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Richard and the entire Petty family in their time of loss. Lynda is such a huge part of the Petty success story here at Martinsville Speedway. While Richard was winning races here in the early years, she was keeping tabs on their children while keeping one eye on Richard. For every one of those 15 races Richard won here, she was a driving force behind him.

“She leaves behind such a huge legacy here at Martinsville Speedway and in our sport. Her smile and her spirit will be missed by us all.”

UPDATE: STATEMENT FROM MARCOS AMBROSE

My deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolences go out to Richard and the entire Petty family. Lynda’s strength, commitment to family and dedication to helping others was immeasurable. She will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with the Petty family during this difficult time.