For Immediate Release BRICKYARD'S NEW PAVEMENT IMPRESSES THE KING INDIANAPOLIS, July 28, 1996 -- Richard Petty, the most successful driver in NASCAR Winston Cup history with 200 career victories and seven national championships, has seen just...
For Immediate Release
BRICKYARD'S NEW PAVEMENT IMPRESSES THE KING
INDIANAPOLIS, July 28, 1996 -- Richard Petty, the most successful driver in NASCAR Winston Cup history with 200 career victories and seven national championships, has seen just about every race track in the country and raced on most of them.
He retired in 1992 and never got to compete at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but the 56-year-old legend from Level Cross, N.C., says the newly-resurfaced 2.5-mile track is the smoothest racing layout he's ever seen.
"It's as smooth as glass," Petty said. "When they paved it, they started ... on the front stretch and went all the way around and never stopped even if they had to pave at night. There was no stopping."
"That's how particular they were in laying that track. I can't believe how smooth it is. They did a heck of a job."
The paving of the track last fall was accomplished first by milling up three inches of the old surface, put down in summer of 1988. That was replaced by three inches of special-mix asphalt in separate strips a little over 12 feet wide and two-and-a-half-miles long. The seams are so closely matched they are barely perceptible. A new "Yard of Bricks" start-finish line, using bricks from the track's original 1909 surface, was installed. Built in 1909, the track pavement today is more than a foot thick and includes the original bricks underneath several layers of asphalt paving.
Since Petty won't ever compete as a driver at the Brickyard, the next best thing would be seeing Bobby Hamilton win his first NASCAR Winston Cup race in Petty's famous No. 43 STP Pontiac at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Hamilton and company tested recently at the Brickyard but didn't have a lot to show for their hard work.
"We had a good test. We just had a bad wreck," Richard Petty said. "We were making a long run to see how far we could go on fuel and how much we fell off and a tire went flat. There was no saving it."
Petty had plenty of chances for saves during 35 seasons and a NASCAR record 1,185 career starts. No one will ever come close to breaking that record with NASCAR's current 31-race season schedule. But Petty says he wishes he could have stayed around long enough to compete in the inaugural Brickyard 400.
"That would have been a lot of fun, but they waited until I quit before they ran it," Petty said. Petty did however take three "ceremonial" laps at the Brickyard -- in excess of 151 miles per hour -- during the 1993 NASCAR Winston Cup Indy test.
"It's important to NASCAR and to the sponsors for us to go to places like Indianapolis," Petty said. "We're expanding to places where our people (sponsors) can sell their products.
"From a monetary standpoint, Indy is the biggest race we run, and it would sure be a great place for Bobby to get his first win."