LEVEL CROSS, NC - Petty Enterprises announced this morning that John Andretti was released from his ride as primary driver of the No. 43 Dodge. Andretti has been with Petty Enterprises since 1998. Christian Fittipaldi will replace Andretti ...
LEVEL CROSS, NC - Petty Enterprises announced this morning that John Andretti was released from his ride as primary driver of the No. 43 Dodge. Andretti has been with Petty Enterprises since 1998.
Christian Fittipaldi will replace Andretti beginning with this weekend's event at Michigan International Speedway. Fittipaldi was already set to pilot the No. 44 Dodge in four events this season; a different driver will be announced to inherit that ride. Michigan will mark Fittipaldi's fourth Winston Cup start.
"Christian Fittipaldi has shown, every time he has gotten in a Winston Cup car, including Phoenix, Texas and Daytona, that he has the talent to drive these cars and help us get to the front," said Kyle Petty, CEO of Petty Enterprises. "We look forward to showing everyone what Christian can do week in and week out."
"Speed and Fittipaldi go together," Richard Petty said. "He knows how to run fast, and he knows how to race fast. We feel he is going to do a great job for Petty Enterprises and for Cheerios and Betty Crocker."
Andretti was the first driver to ever run the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 in the same day (1994), in his eight years in Winston Cup racing Petty has two wins. The first came in 1997 at the Pepsi 400, the second at Martinsville in 1999; where he came back from a lap down to win the event.
Andretti has been with Petty Enterprises for five years, but with limited success. This year he has scored only one top ten in fourteen starts; last season Andretti had only one top ten result in thirty-six races.
Fittipaldi, the 31-year-old San Paulo, Brazil native, is the former 1991 Formula 3000 champion and CART star. In CART, Fittipaldi landed one pole, two wins and 15 podium finishes. Fittipaldi's best career finish in Winston Cup competition came at this year's Daytona 500, where he scored 35th. He made his Winston Cup debut at Phoenix in 2002, where he finished 41rst. In his only other Cup start, Texas in 2003, he came home 38th.