Petty Enjoys Breathing Room in Owner Points Team Improvement Shown on Track This weekend, Kyle Petty and the ...
Petty Enjoys Breathing Room in Owner Points
Team Improvement Shown on Track
This weekend, Kyle Petty and the #45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge team will travel to the 1.54-mile Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway (AMS) for Sunday's Pep Boys Auto 500.
AMS is a track that is a favorite of drivers and fans alike. It is a place of high speeds and thrills. While the top-12 drivers will take the "Chase for the Championship" to the Hampton, Ga. track, there is another thrilling "race within the race" going on where the stakes are also high. The battle to stay inside the top-35 in owner points is coming down to the wire. Petty helped his cause with a 21st place finish at Martinsville. He now occupies the 34th spot in the standings.
Petty has made 53 starts at AMS, with the first coming in 1979. He has two top-five and 11 top-ten finishes at the track. Petty has enjoyed some good runs at AMS in recent memory. He finished 17th in the 2006 edition of this race and 8th in the "spring" race that same year.
Comments from Petty as he prepares for the Pep Boys Auto 500:
"Yea, I think it helps to come out of Martinsville with some breathing room, but I don't think it's surprising either. Our team has been good recently, but we've seen some great runs from the '22' team too. We had some bad luck and got caught up in wrecks at Dover and Talladega. We just didn't finish in front of who we needed to, but we've been pretty strong with the Marathon Dodge the past two or three weeks.
"Some of that changed at Martinsville, but we still had some bad breaks with getting hit near the end. I think we had a better car, but still didn't get the finish we deserved. It was just better and that's the difference. It's still a good sign for our race team to show improvement like that."
"Look at the races coming up starting this weekend. It's Atlanta, Texas and finish at Homestead. You have Phoenix in there, but that's three out of the last four races at intermediate tracks. Petty Enterprises has made great strides in that department. That speaks tons of Billy Wilburn, Robbie Loomis, the guys back at the shop preparing. The cars are junk after Thanksgiving, but right now they are priceless for us.
"Atlanta. OK, that's first. I'm sure Billy (Wilburn, crew chief) can get the car to be as competitive as it was at Charlotte. The tracks are similar. Sure, when you think about you think of pure speed, but Charlotte is fast too. Atlanta is wide and you can race three abreast with no problem. That's what happens when you leave a track alone. I think you just take some of the characteristics of Texas and Charlotte, make some adjustments and tackle the speed aspect and the multiple grooves. I think we're feeling good about this weekend."
"Each track that we go to is unique in its own way. Atlanta is no different. When we come down here we are racing in front of what could be the biggest corporate audience that we have. A lot of the sponsors that you see on Sunday have a huge presence in Atlanta. I'm fortunate enough to have been associated with Coca-Cola for many years now. They're headquartered down there. That gives me extra motivation when I go to Atlanta because I get to see a lot of the great people from Coke. I'm sure the other drivers feel the same way when they go to Atlanta."