Indy 500: Richard Petty Motorsports Opening Day report

JOHN ANDRETTI BACK AT INDY IN WINDOW WORLD PETTY MACHINE INDIANAPOLIS (May 7, 2009) -- John Andretti had a sigh of relief when he walked into the pit lane Thursday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After sitting in...

JOHN ANDRETTI BACK AT INDY IN WINDOW WORLD PETTY MACHINE

INDIANAPOLIS (May 7, 2009) -- John Andretti had a sigh of relief when he walked into the pit lane Thursday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

After sitting in the Dreyer & Reinbold/Richard Petty garage for three days, the Indianapolis native was finally get a chance to debut his beautiful blue and "Day-Go" No. 43 Window World Honda Dallara on track after some early morning fog held up practice runs for 20 minutes.

The veteran driver quickly took the brightly-colored machine up to the 220 mile-per-hour range as he consistently moved through the check list of projects set up by the team's engineering staff. Andretti is no stranger to the famed Brickyard after successful drives in the Indy 500 and the Brickyard 400.

But Thursday, Andretti felt excited with his new racing vehicle, a car that brought NASCAR legend Richard Petty to the 500 for the first time as an owner. Petty, the seven-time Sprint Cup champion, will be on hand Saturday to watch Andretti qualify the No. 43 machine.

Andretti put in 50 laps Thursday with a best speed of 221.910 miles per hour, 17th best on the day with 32 drivers. The NASCAR Sprint Cup regular will be attempting to qualify for his tenth Indy 500 this weekend.

One of the most versatile drivers today, Andretti brings a huge amount of experience to the Dreyer & Reinbold team with his background in CART, IRL, IMSA, NASCAR, USAC and even NHRA, but John feels good about teaming with DRR director of competition Larry Curry this month. Curry was the crew chief on Andretti's CART victory in Australia in 1991.

Andretti has worked hard to have Petty get involved in the Indy 500 as a car owner. He brought Petty to the Indy 500 last year in "the King's" first appearance at the world's biggest race. Andretti also brought Window World to Indy this year after the North Carolina company sponsored John in this year's Daytona 500.

Andretti will be back in action Friday as preparations continue for Saturday's opening round of qualifications.

John Andretti, No. 43 Richard Petty Window World Honda Dallara: "We are pecking at it and coming at from a different point of view than a lot of the other guys that have been with their race teams for a long time. At the end of the day we tried a couple of things and we are in the game. We are not in the top game, but we are in the back of the top game and hopefully tomorrow we can make a step to be more solidly in the top part of it and be a contender for the top eleven."

-credit: rpm

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers John Andretti , Richard Petty
Teams Richard Petty Motorsports