NOTE: Kyle Petty was second fastest in Saturday morning's first practice session and ninth fastest in Friday's practice. KYLE PETTY (No. 45 Sprint Dodge Intrepid R/T) "We built a new superspeedway car after Daytona in February, so this is the...
NOTE: Kyle Petty was second fastest in Saturday morning's first practice session and ninth fastest in Friday's practice.
KYLE PETTY (No. 45 Sprint Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"We built a new superspeedway car after Daytona in February, so this is the third race for this car. We came down here and ran good with it, and we felt like we ran decent at Daytona in July with it. These guys know the car now, and I know the car now. If you look at how we (Petty Enterprises Dodges) were yesterday, all three of our cars have gotten better. These are the three cars we've run at the last two or three superspeedway races, the 43, 44 and 45. All of our cars were in the top 10 or 15. Our speedway program, car wise has gotten better, and our engines are better. Mike Ege's stuff gets better and better. He started the year coming out of building Ford engines and jumping into Dodge motors at Daytona. That's pretty stout to jump into Daytona and have to build your first Dodge stuff. Now we're in October, and he's eight or 10 months removed from that, and our stuff is better. We're not a DEI program. They're pretty phenomenal when you look at it, but we're a pretty competitive program now on the speedway stuff.
"Tony Stewart and I was behind him and the 77 left pit road all together, and we ran that first pack down. You get the advantage of having those cars run two or three wide in front of you and you get a really good lap. You could go on up and run in the middle of the pack or lead the pack, there's a lot of people out there who could do that. Speeds on a speed chart at Talladega are not indicative of how the race is going to go. Of all the places we run, raining out qualifying at Talladega makes no difference. If this was New Hampshire, then track position would be critical. If you've got a good car and start 29th, you know you're in trouble. If you've got a good car here and start 42nd or 43trd, you're not in that big of trouble. You can adjust yourself and get where you need to be before everything starts to shuffle.
"Michael Waltrip made a fuel run in the 15 car and made a pretty phenomenal amount of laps. When you look at what he ran, I'm not sure we can go that far. We're close. We're doing everything we can to run as many laps as you can. You don't want to get caught out. You want to pit with the pack and pit with a good pack. You don't want to have to jump out of a good pack and pit and wind up with somebody else. That's going to be part of the strategy. I think we'll be all right. Caution laps will play a bigger role than in past years. If the window for pitting was 60 laps before, now the window is 30. That's just to use numbers, not to say those are the correct numbers. Eight caution laps move two pit stops, not just one pit stop. A bunch of that stuff changes.
"We can win. I don't think we go to a race track and think we can't win. I don't think we're a team that can win on a consistent basis, week in and week out. I think we can win races, and I think this is a race we can win. John does well here, and Jerry has been pretty good. My record has been kind of spotty, but as a group, we can win races here and our cars and engines and everything we've got has gotten competitive where you can have a shot at winning. "