Martinville II: Kyle Petty preview

Petty to Move Into Top-Five in Career Starts Driver Has 809 Starts to His Credit This weekend, Kyle Petty and the ...

Petty to Move Into Top-Five in Career Starts
Driver Has 809 Starts to His Credit

This weekend, Kyle Petty and the #45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge team will travel to the Virginia Commonwealth and the .526-mile Martinsville (Va.) Speedway for the Subway 500. Martinsville begins the second half of the "Chase for the Championship."

Petty and Martinsville have been linked together during his extensive career. He ran his first race there in 1980. It also only a short drive from Randleman, N.C., meaning it sits inside the shadow of Petty Enterprises. So it seems only fitting that Martinsville will be the track where Petty becomes the driver with the fifth most starts all-time. He enters this weekend tied with Darrell Waltrip with 809 career starts.

Petty has made 53 starts at Martinsville. He has five top-five and 15 top-ten finishes at the track. He also grabbed one pole at Martinsville, which came in 1992. Petty's 23,817 laps completed at Martinsville are the most of any track in his career.

Petty sits 35th in the owner point's standings.

Comments from Petty as he prepares for Subway 500:

"Yea, 809 starts, that's something I've not given much thought to. It just means I've been doing this for a long time. When I started racing in '79, if you would have told me that I would have more starts than Darrell Waltrip or some of these other guys I would have said 'no way.' As the years go by you really can't picture yourself doing anything else. So then they start to add up. It's not something I was conscience of. I just wanted to race."

"So, I don't think too much of it. I just think of the next race or what's happening now. I really can't say enough about the performance of my team at Charlotte. We knew that we had a fast car and we didn't let the fact that we got down a lap become an anchor to the team. Billy (Wilburn, crew chief) made great calls and the pit crew knocked off some great stops. Those are the kind of races that give you confidence. We're turning a corner with this team."

"Martinsville should provide us with another chance for a good finish this weekend. I've been racing there, man, since the early 80's. I've had some good runs there. It's a great place for our family. My grandfather winning, my father winning and just all the blessings we've had at this track. It's great to reach another milestone in my career here. Maybe it means more here than another place that isn't as close to home. It's neat how things work out like that.

"I thought the Dodge Avenger held up well in the first Martinsville race back in April. Martinsville is tough on equipment, but the new car did really well. When you go to Martinsville the first and only priority is keeping the brakes cool. We never saw any problems in that area. Now we just need to work on getting the car to turn better. Martinsville is a tight racetrack anyway. But, we learned a lot from the first race. We'll be in better shape when we roll off the truck on Friday."

"Experience really comes into play at a track like Martinsville. Even though it is the smallest track we go to, 500 laps there can make for a long day if you get yourself in trouble early. I don't think there are very many teams out there with the combined Martinsville experience that Billy and I have. Billy was working with Rusty (Wallace) when he was winning all those races there. He's probably been going to Martinsville for over 20 years. Before I started driving I would be there watching and helping 'The King' win his 15 races. That kind of experience is something you just can't buy."

-credit: petty racing

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Darrell Waltrip , Kyle Petty