Petty Looking to Continue Atlanta Success Team Posted Best Finish of Season in This Race Last Year This weekend, Kyle Petty and the ...
Petty Looking to Continue Atlanta Success
Team Posted Best Finish of Season in This Race Last Year
This weekend, Kyle Petty and the #45 National Tire and Battery (NTB) Dodge team will head to the 1.54-mile Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway (AMS) for Sunday's Kobalt Tools 500.
After two weekends of racing on the west coast, the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series heads back to a track that is rich with stock car racing heritage. AMS became one of the "original" NASCAR speedways, paved tracks of one mile in length or longer, when it hosted the circuit for the first time in 1960. Much has changed since then, but the high-speed track remains a favorite of drivers and fans alike.
Petty will be making his 789th NEXTEL Cup start this weekend. It will also mark his 53rd start at AMS. Petty has enjoyed some outstanding runs at the Hampton, Ga. track. His stats include two top-fives, 11 top-tens and a total of 87 laps led. He finished eighth in this event last year, his highest finishing position of the 2006 season. Petty finished 17th in last season's fall event.
By virtue of his 28th place finish last weekend in Las Vegas, Petty remains 33rd in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series point standings.
Comments from Petty as he prepares for Sunday's Kobalt Tools 500:
With the way that the team has performed over the last two weeks it looks like you are poised for another great run when you get to Atlanta.
"We think so. These Petty Enterprises Dodge Chargers have been performing really well at these types of tracks this year. We haven't quite got the finishes that we are looking for, but we are putting ourselves in much better positions, late in the race. That is one of our main objectives every time we go to the track. We just want the No. 45 NTB Dodge to be there at the end, and if that happens, we feel we can fight it out with the best of them."
"Last year we came down to Atlanta and had our best run of the season. Both cars had great runs as Bobby led some laps. For us to be up front, at a place like Atlanta, was really cool. We have a lot of supporters in the area. Coca-Cola has headquarters there. Turner has their headquarters there. It's good to have strong runs at Atlanta. Also, I think that opened a lot of eyes. That run made people began to see that Petty Enterprises is on the way back."
As one of the "wiser" drivers in the garage, you have been coming to AMS for many years. What does it mean to come race here?
"Atlanta sometimes gets lost when you talk about the history of this sport. That is really unfortunate. Obviously places like Charlotte and Daytona dominate the historical headlines, and rightfully so. But, Atlanta has carved out its own place too. The fans down there have been second to none for years. The facility has hosted some great races. As a driver when you go somewhere that has a great facility with enthusiastic fans, that's about as good as it gets."
"Over the years Atlanta has become home to some huge corporations, such as Coca-Cola and Tuner that we talked about. That adds a different element. You are doing sponsor appearances and meeting with our partners. All of the sudden, it's a big sponsor weekend. That's important too."
Are you excited about having National Tire and Battery on the car this weekend?
"We feel like we have the greatest stable of sponsors in the garage at Petty Enterprises. NTB certainly adds to that portfolio. They have a great presence in many of our race markets. They definitely appeal to the NASCAR fan."
"You can feel their excitement; they are just really pumped about going to Atlanta and having a great run. They were excited last season with their run. I'm proud we were able to do that. The next race is always the most important one. Our focus is getting that No. 45 NTB Dodge into Victory Lane."