12 The list of sports stars racing down the drag strip includes an NFL quarterback, an NBA Slam Dunk champion, a MLB All-Star, a Formula One veteran, boxing’s “Hitman,” and the King of NASCAR. Crossover stars have been a part of drag racing history from Mario Andretti in a famous match race to recent participants like 2017 Daytona 500 champion Kurt Busch and Carolina Panthers defensive end Tyler Brayton winning an International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) sanctioned sportsman race. Easily the most famous sports figure to participate in drag racing is another North Carolinian, seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty. Petty’s exploits in the stock car racing world are well known, tied CROSSOVER HAVE BROADENED DRAG RACING’S APPEAL with Dale Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson for most championships, and the all-time winningest driver in NASCAR history with 200 victories. He was also named to the North Carolina Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 2017. Petty and fellow stock car racing legend David Pearson boycotted NASCAR after the Mopar Hemi Engine was banned in 1965 and were pitted against each other in match races throughout the Southeast. In addition, Petty won the B-Altered Class at the first NHRA national-event ever held at Bristol Dragway. However, what Petty has described as the lowest point of his life came at a drag race in Georgia. A piece broke off his car, sending it over a dirt embankment and into a crowd, where seven spectators were injured and an eight-year-old boy was killed. Another short-lived career belonged to former Thomas Hearns, who had legendary boxing matches with Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran and Marvin Hagler in the 1980s. Hearns made his IHRA debut in Ohio with motorsports veteran Denny Darnell, known in racing circles as “The General,” serving as his public relations representative. However, fight promoters soon put the kibosh on the five-division champion’s second career with the legendary trainer Emmanuel Steward feeling that Hearns faced enough danger inside the ring without more on the track. Certainly, the most accomplished crossover was Danny Ongais, although he crossed over from drag STARS