December 11, 1997 12:00 AM

Racing patriarch Lee Petty, 86, who won 54 races on the Nascar circuit and was a three-time national champ in the ’50s, died on Wednesday after a long illness related to a stomach aneurysm. Petty’s son, Richard Petty, is considered racing’s greatest driver, but it was dad who won the first Daytona 500. Four generations of Pettys have raced.

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