Bristol II: Kyle Petty preview

This weekend, Kyle Petty and the ...

This weekend, Kyle Petty and the #45 Quilted Northern Dodge team head to the .533-mile Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway for Saturday night's Sharpie 500. Georgia-Pacific brand Quilted Northern will wrap the #45 Dodge Charger pink for this weekend's race in support of the "Time for Thanks" program. The program supports the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the leading organization in the fight against breast cancer for more than 20 years. The team hopes to raise awareness to this program by collecting a strong finish Saturday night. Petty finished eighth at Bristol in April.

Petty, 45, will be making his 737th career start this weekend. He is seventh on the all-time list in NASCAR Cup career starts, and fourth among active drivers. His eight career victories place him 55th on NASCAR's all-time list in Cup wins. One of the most recognizable names in international motorsports, as is his sponsor, Georgia-Pacific, Petty's driving career began with a five-race season in 1979. The native of Level Cross, N.C., has won over $21 million.

The thoughts of Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge driver Kyle Petty heading into Bristol:

"It's a big weekend for us, but this is why. We are bringing a pink car to Bristol - something I'm not sure anyone has ever done there before. Quilted Northern and the 'Time for Thanks' program is really big into supporting the Susan G. Komen Foundation. It's a huge foundation for the fight against breast cancer. We are going to do everything we can to put the spotlight on them this weekend. It's hard to think of a better way to do that than by brining a pink car to Bristol. If there is ever a place to raise awareness to a program it's Bristol, especially this Saturday night race.

"This race is just huge with the fans. It's not necessarily that big for the drivers. This isn't the Daytona 500 or anything like that, but it is probably one of the most exciting races for the fans. You ask NASCAR fans what race is their favorite, I'll bet half of them are going to say this Bristol night race. They love this track, this race, but really it's the atmosphere of racing on Saturday night that makes this race so much more special for them. It just brings that added element to the plate and the fans love it.

"Daytona, Talladega, and Bristol seem to be the races that the fans love watching. They love the close action and the excitement that it brings. The proof is in the stands. Bristol will be packed on Saturday night. This race sells out years in advance. Yeah, if you want to bring some attention to your car, then Bristol is a good race to do that. There are a lot of eyes in those stands.

"I know we had a lot of eyes on us back in April. That was a lot of fun for us. We stayed out of all the wrecks all day and just happened to get better as the day went along. The end of the race we were right there with a good car. We finished eighth, but it was a huge boost for this team. We have been strong at times this season and we are running a lot better this year. We have been running well the past few weeks too. The results may not always show it, but our goal is to keep running strong the rest of the season. We want to keep it up this weekend.

"Anything can happen here at Bristol, and when it happens it happens quickly. That's why it's hard to avoid wrecks. We just don't have enough time to slow down or make a move around them. You have a car spin, but it can collect three of four other guys and block the track. It's a pretty small track, and when these cars spin it practically blocks all ways of getting around them. You just about have to stop, but that's about the time when someone runs into the back of you. Bristol can be aggravating for a driver.

"You have to keep your cool and you have to race smart. We did that here the first time, and if we can do that again we'll have another good day. It's not easy, but that's why the fans love Bristol. I am curious if they'll give a pink car a little break? Hey, we're supporting a good cause and the car looks pretty unique. Pattie (wife Pattie Petty) and I know what it's like to ask for support and get it. The fans helped build the Victory Junction Gang Camp. Hopefully all the fans this weekend will support this Quilted Northern Dodge at Bristol and we can have a strong run."


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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kyle Petty