Richard Petty Gets a "King's" Welcome at Indy Saturday; Dreyer & Reinbold Cars Practice But Do Not Qualify in Windy Conditions INDIANAPOLIS (May 9, 2009)-- Richard Petty was much more than a spectator Saturday when he returned...
Richard Petty Gets a "King's" Welcome at Indy Saturday; Dreyer & Reinbold Cars Practice But Do Not Qualify in Windy Conditions
INDIANAPOLIS (May 9, 2009)-- Richard Petty was much more than a spectator Saturday when he returned to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Pole Day of the Indy 500.
"The King" came to the world's most famous racing facility as a car owner this time with his driver, John Andretti, prepared to make the top eleven qualifiers on the first day of time trials at the Brickyard. Andretti practiced in the No. 43 Richard Petty Window World Honda Dallara in the morning session, but he didn't attempt a qualifying run Saturday afternoon.
Andretti and the three other Dreyer & Reinbold Racing drivers -- Mike Conway, Milka Duno and Davey Hamilton -- had their respective cars in line for qualifications late Saturday before the Speedway gun was shot at 6 p.m. Andretti's car will be third in line for Sunday's time trials. Conway, Duno and Hamilton's machines are also set for early qualifying Sunday..
Petty kept busy in his four hours at the track Saturday by watching Andretti in practice, visiting the syndicated "Bob & Tom Show" for radio and television, holding a press conference, meeting with his old stock car rival, A.J. Foyt, and signing autographs for the racing fans.
The seven-time NASCAR champion met with Andretti, Window World executives and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing officials to discuss his Indy 500 program this month. Petty will return on Sunday, May 24, for the 2009 Indy 500.
Hamilton, driving the No. 44 HP Kingdom Racing Honda Dallara, posted the best speed of the day for the DRR quartet in practice with a best speed of 222.212 miles per hour. Duno, in the No. 23 CITGO DRR Honda Dallara, clocked a 220.367 m.p.h. lap with Conway, in the No. 24 Purex DRR Honda Dallara, recorded a best of 220.226. Andretti, who took just nine laps Saturday, had a best of 218.538 m.p.h. in the windy conditions.
A one-hour practice session will take place Sunday morning at the Speedway before time trials begin at noon. Positions 12 through 22 will be secured in Sunday qualifying.
JOHN ANDRETTI, No. 43 Richard Petty Window World Honda Dallara:
"I would say tomorrow we are going to hit it pretty hard and go out pretty aggressively to try to get in the next eleven. I think that's attainable and it's about being in the right place at the right time." Andretti on Petty: "In a way, it clogs up our system, because Richard attracts a lot of people, but it's great. I think it's really great having him be a part of this whole experience. He had a really good time and that's what is important, because he doesn't have to make this effort and he doesn't even have to do this. Richard has won enough of this in his lifetime to have to be a part of what we are doing here. I think him coming here and being enthusiastic about all of it is really good."
MIKE CONWAY, No. 24 Purex Dreyer& Reinbold Honda Dallara:
"We decided not to go out today, because based on our practice runs we didn't really have enough speed to be battling for the top eleven. Instead, we decided to wait and save our tires and hopefully we'll be quicker for tomorrow."
MILKA DUNO, No. 23 CITGO Dreyer & Reinbold Honda Dallara:
"We are prepared for tomorrow. The CITGO car was quicker today than it was yesterday, and that's what we were looking for. Tomorrow is another day and we will see what we can do."
DAVEY HAMILTON, No. 44 HP Kingdom Racing Honda Dallara:
"I think we may be pretty good in line. We were in line for this afternoon and didn't make it in, so I think we'll have a good spot for tomorrow. We will do a practice run. We are in that 225 area, but there are about six guys that are in that same area. I would have liked to get to try today, not that we could have made it, but we are at least in the game and tomorrow morning we will go out and see what we've got."