PETTY ENTERPRISES ANNOUNCES 'TNT' DRIVER LINEUP Petty Enterprises Announces "TNT" Driver Lineup Labonte and McCumbee to Pilot No. 45 Dodge Mooresville, N.C. (May 12, 2008) -- Petty Enterprises announces its driver lineup for the No. 45 ...
PETTY ENTERPRISES ANNOUNCES 'TNT' DRIVER LINEUP
Petty Enterprises Announces "TNT" Driver Lineup
Labonte and McCumbee to Pilot No. 45 Dodge
Mooresville, N.C. (May 12, 2008) -- Petty Enterprises announces its driver lineup for the No. 45 Marathon/Wells Fargo/PVA Dodge for the races beginning with the June 1 event at the Dover (Del.) International Speedway through the July 12 event at the Chicagoland (Ill.) Speedway.
Kyle Petty is scheduled to step away from the car at Dover to attend his daughter's wedding. Petty will also return to the broadcasting booth to cover the NASCAR Sprint Cup events that will air on TNT Sports, which begin with the June 8 event at the Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. Petty made his TNT Sports broadcasting debut in 2007 to rave reviews and accolades.
Petty will return when the series makes its annual mid-summer trek to the Indianapolis (Ind.) Motor Speedway.
Chad McCumbee will bookend Petty's hiatus by getting behind the wheel of the No. 45 Dodge at Dover and Chicagoland. He previously filled in for Petty at Pocono and the Michigan International Speedway in 2007 and at the Texas Motor Speedway last month. McCumbee's best finish for Petty Enterprises came at Pocono when he came home 25th. In two NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series starts at Dover, McCumbee has a high finish of 13th, which came in 2007. The Chicagoland race will be his debut on the 1.5-mile oval.
"As a father there aren't many days more special than the day you get to give your daughter away in marriage," said Petty. "I appreciate Chad jumping in the car at Dover to allow me to do that. He is strong on the intermediate tracks and I'm confident that he will do a great job at Dover as well as Chicagoland. It's just another part of our evaluation process of him."
For the remaining five races, Petty will turn the reins of the No. 45 Dodge over to a familiar friend and competitor. Two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, Terry Labonte, will become a teammate to his younger brother, 2000 series champion Bobby, for only the second time in their Sprint Cup careers. The Labontes are the only brothers to both win the series championship and have combined to win 43 Sprint Cup races.
"It is an honor for me, personally and professionally, to have Terry drive my car," sounded Petty. "He is a longtime friend and one of the true gentlemen to ever compete in our sport. Everyone at Petty Enterprises is excited to have he and Bobby in our Dodge Chargers. I know Terry will do a great job for us and all of our partners over this five race stretch and I look forward to covering it from the TNT booth."
In addition to his 1984 and 1996 Sprint Cup championships, Labonte is a 22-time winner in NASCAR's top division. His most recent track time came when he competed in three races during the 2007 season.
"Bobby and I have always enjoyed the time we have spent together on the race track," said Terry Labonte. "We haven't been teammates very much, but when we are it makes that time even better. And I'm honored that Kyle would ask me to get behind the wheel of the 45 car for these five races. I feel confident that we can go out and have some good runs."
Bobby Labonte agrees that his older brother can still get the job done.
"This was a great move by us because Terry is the same driver today that he was when he won the 2003 Southern 500 or when he finished third at Sonoma a few years ago," said Bobby Labonte. "When he jumps behind the wheel of a racecar he is still the 'Iceman.' To have him as a teammate again is special for our whole family. It means a lot to me because I grew up wanting to be just like him."