Petree proves behind every good car is its owner CHARLOTTE, N.C. (March 2, 1999) He can do it all. Close a multi-million dollar sponsorship deal -- twice. Fix a tick in a 750 horsepower motor. Diagnose a handling problem. Change tires on Sunday...
Petree proves behind every good car is its owner
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (March 2, 1999) He can do it all. Close a multi-million dollar sponsorship deal -- twice. Fix a tick in a 750 horsepower motor. Diagnose a handling problem. Change tires on Sunday with guys 10-20 years younger than him and still be one of the best in the business. He is Andy Petree, car owner of the No. 33 Skoal Racing Monte Carlo driven by Ken Schrader. Because Petree can conquer any challenge and be one of the best at everything he does, he is a rare gem among his peers in the NASCAR Winston Cup garage.
Petree is one of the few owners who have come through the ranks, with his first racing job as a mechanic. From there, Petree made his mark as one of the most successful crew chiefs in the business, leading Richard Childress Racing and driver Dale Earnhardt to two NASCAR Winston Cup Championships. During his 12-year tenure as a crew chief, Petree chalked up 25 victories and 12 Bud Pole Awards.
Ready to accept his next challenge in life, Petree bought Leo Jackson Motorsports in 1996. He became the youngest car owner in the NASCAR Winston Cup garage and one of two to make the transition from crew chief to car owner. Travis Carter is the only other current crew chief turned car owner.
"I was ready to make the move to be a car owner," said Petree. "I won two championships as a crew chief, but I wanted to accomplish more. The next move was to be a championship car owner. I started out thinking I could do everything from running the business to being the crew chief and the front tire changer on race weekends. That is a pretty full plate for anyone."
In Petree's first year as a car owner, he led Schrader and the Skoal Racing team to a 10th -place finish in the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings. In addition to his duties as a car owner, Petree played the role of crew chief and tire changer. Petree turned in his air wrench in 1998 to concentrate on the business end of being a car owner. He handed over his duties of crew chief to Sam Johns at the end of 1998.
"I gave up changing tires because I thought I could better assess problems as they came up during the race, not because I couldn't physically do it anymore," said Petree. "I hired Sammy because the team was suffering as a result of my time being consumed by the business end of being a car owner. Sammy can devote his full attention to the Skoal Racing team."
Johns is doing an exceptional job as crew chief of the No. 33 Skoal Racing team. Schrader is third in the NASCAR Winston Cup points after two events, the highest position for the team since Petree became the car owner. Petree is thrilled with the way things are going with Johns in charge.
"Sammy has done an extraordinary job leading the Skoal Racing team," said Petree. "I have given him complete control and he has done exactly what I expected him to do."
Petree is still making decisions concerning the performance of the Skoal Racing team. The latest decision Petree made was to turn in his dress shoes for hot shoes and pick up his air wrench again. Petree is currently the only NASCAR Winston Cup car owner to go over the wall, one of many jobs he has mastered during his career.
"It's hard for me to sit on top of the box and see the pit stops falter," said Petree. "After the tire changers struggled at Daytona, I decided to return to changing tires and put Jason Enders on the rear tire. I am still just as good at changing tires as anybody on pit road, so I made the decision to start changing tires again until we could find somebody better or equally as good."
Petree is truly a gem in the sport of auto racing, a rare one at that.
Source: NASCAR Online