The Focus is Kansas Petty Knows Kansas, Every Race Has Big Implications This weekend, Kyle Petty and the ...
The Focus is Kansas
Petty Knows Kansas, Every Race Has Big Implications
This weekend, Kyle Petty and the #45 Wells Fargo Dodge team will travel to the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway for the LifeLock 400. Kansas is the only Midwestern stop for the Nextel Cup Series during the "Chase for the Championship."
While the top-12 drivers are engaged in a battle for the Nextel Cup championship, Petty and several other competitors are in a point's race as well. Teams that finish the season inside the top-35 in owner points will go into the first five races of 2008, including the 50th Daytona 500, with a guaranteed starting spot. This becomes even more important when you factor in the COT, which will be fully implemented in 2008.
Petty remains 34th in the owner points standings.
Petty has made five starts at the Kansas Speedway. His best finish of 15th came in the inaugural event at the track in 2002.
Comments from Petty as he prepares for Sunday's LifeLock 400:
"Right now, every race is important for everyone for different reasons. You can't spoil any good runs and our team's total focus is on having good races. For us, as we're looking at it right now, this top-35 battle is going to go all the way to Homestead. Can we get ahead and be out of that circumstance by Homestead? Yea, we can, but right now we are working hard to earn every point and move forward. It's obvious that Dover wasn't meant to be, but we're focused on Kansas right now. You are 15 steps behind if you're not looking to the next race. Our attention is on Kansas."
"We understand that we're going into Kansas with the purpose to have a strong race and finish. Every team out there is going to try and win, sure, but we're looking at the bigger picture too. Next year will be the beginning of change in our sport. You don't want to be left out of the first four or five races. A guaranteed spot at the beginning of the season starts with these races now.
"There are some guys that are racing Kansas Speedway this weekend knowing it has implications for Daytona and the beginning of 2008. That's a reality. We happen to be one of those teams, right now. It's about staying focused and getting good finishes. We want to distance ourselves from that position."
"I owe it to my team, my sponsors and myself to race as hard as I can. Billy (Wilburn, crew chief) is working his rear off right now with these guys getting our cars better. It's a great group of hard-working guys on the team right now. They know it's important for us to have a good run this weekend."
"Our intermediate program has probably been the most improved area of our race team this year. Those tracks make up the majority of our schedule so that was the first place we began to work. Kansas is a lot like Chicago. John Andretti had a great run earlier there this year there. Our third place finish at Charlotte in May, I think that can also attest to the fact that we are making strides in that area. The car that we're used to we've been better there."
"I have been asked, on several occasions, my opinion on the fact that no driver from the state of North Carolina has won a race yet this season. If you look, there are probably fewer of us now than at any point in the history of NASCAR. It's just a part of the evolution of the sport. I think North Carolina, as a whole, definitely played a large role in getting Nextel Cup racing to the level it is today. At the same time we're heading to Kansas the home of Sprint, our series title sponsor in 2008. The sport has changed and it has grown much bigger and better. That is no way a negative."