New Car, Same Old Darlington for Petty Team Moves Up Two Spots in The Points Standings This weekend, Kyle Petty and the ...
New Car, Same Old Darlington for Petty
Team Moves Up Two Spots in The Points Standings
This weekend, Kyle Petty and the #45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge team will head to the 1.366-mile, egg-shaped Darlington (S.C.) Raceway for Saturday night's Dodge Avenger 500.
Once upon a time the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series took Mother's Day weekend off. They now use the Saturday prior to the holiday to put on a spectacular show under the lights of the "Lady in Black." While it may be NASCAR's oldest superspeedway, having held its first event in 1950, it will have a different feel for this race. For the first time ever, the Car of Tomorrow will grace the ultra-abrasive asphalt of Darlington. This will be another great test for the COT as it evolves into the every day racecar.
Petty will be making his 796th Nextel Cup start this weekend as his date with the 800 start mark gets closer. It will also mark his 50th start at Darlington. Petty has five top-10 finishes and has completed 14,260 laps at Darlington. He finished 18th in this event in 2006.
Petty currently sits 31st in Nextel Cup points
Comments from Petty as he prepares for Saturday's Dodge Avenger 500:
"Darlington is a tough old bird, man. Not everyone likes this place, I can vouch for that, but everyone respects it. You know that if you can go down there and run well, then you have earned yourself respect among your peers. I've been racing there for a long time. I've left frustrated, but I've left there with some good runs too. That's just the way it is. It's a love-hate relationship that I don't think we see anywhere else."
"This time it is going to be a little bit different. This time we are taking the COT down there. I think we will put the COT through its paces at Darlington. When those tires start to wear off, and it doesn't take many laps for that to happen, and you are out there running the high groove where the wall can jump out and grab you at any moment. It is going to be exciting.
"Getting around Darlington in the COT could be very similar to the big bodied cars we drove in the early 1980's. I hope so anyway because that would give some of us that have been around the sport for a while a little bit of an advantage. At Richmond we learned a lot about the abuse the COT can take. There weren't many "clean" cars at the end of that race. At Phoenix we learned a lot about how much downforce we should expect with the car. Darlington will be a combination of both."
"Our team has really been working their tails off this year. We are now seeing some positive results from that work. We are putting some distance between ourselves and the guys behind us in points. That is what we have to keep doing. This has been a crazy year so far. We want to continue to be consistent, like we have been lately, then we will be fine as far as points go. We are knocking on the door of the top-30 right now, but we have to potential to be much higher than that."