Charlotte Motor Speedway kicked off its 65th Coca-Cola 600 weekend with a salute to "The King" and NASCAR's royal family.

The speedway on Friday unveiled a six-foot, 1,000-pound, fiberglass and concrete hat honoring seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Richard Petty and the Petty family's 75th year in NASCAR. The ceremony took place at BetMGM Speed Street in front of the speedway.

The 'King's Hat', an art installation in the likeness of Richard Petty's iconic Charlie 1 Horse cowboy hat, features classic moments from the Petty family's storied history at America's Home for Racing.

For the man known to millions as "The King," being honored by one of his home tracks was special.

"It is a big deal for us because four generations have won a race at this track," Richard Petty said. "We are thankful for Charlotte Motor Speedway because it is close, and the fans represent the Petty family.

"When I look at the pictures of my dad when he was a young man and me as a young man, it reminds us that we have been so fortunate to keep the Petty family together and involved in racing."

Richard Petty debuted at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the track's first race, the 1960 Coca-Cola 600. After years of trying, he broke through to win the 600 in 1975 and 1977. 

Kyle Petty, who joined two additional generations in attending Friday's ceremony, forged his own legacy at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The longtime NASCAR analyst scored a monumental victory in the 1987 Coca-Cola 600.

"There are only a few race tracks where we all competed," Kyle Petty said. "I live in Charlotte now, so the important part of this hat is the photos, not the stats, because photos mean everything."

Kyle's son, Adam, won an ARCA race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1998. Adam was the fourth generation of Petty to find success at the track. Kyle said he hopes the statue influences the next generation of fans.

"Hopefully, a young fan will come and see this, which will make him keep it in his mind for another 75 years, which means we will still be around," he said. "It's an educational tool that shows where NASCAR has been, where it is headed, and where it can be."

Thad Mofffitt, Richard Petty's grandson, will compete in Friday night's North Carolina Education Lottery 200 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series event at the speedway. 

"It means the world that I am the next one in line," Moffitt said. "There were 12 grandkids, and none of them really had anything to do with it, and racing was kind of a burden on us. Being the one who wanted to race was a neat opportunity, and having them give me a shot was cool." 

Greg Walter, the Executive Vice President and General Manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway, expressed gratitude in honoring the Petty family's legacy. 

"This hat represents the connection that we have to the Petty Family over the years and this is something that fans can take pictures of and celebrate the legacy," said Walter. "One of the important aspects of this sport is recognizing a family that has had success over four generations and has entertained our fans. This is really important for us."

The King's hats are hand-crafted by TivoliToo, Inc., the same company that designed and built the Charles Schulz Peanuts® character tribute in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota.

Fans are encouraged to visit the statue throughout race weekend, and use #PETTY75 when posting pictures on social media.