Daytona II: John Andretti preview

Andretti Knows the Way to Victory Lane at Daytona No. 45 Driver is Former Daytona 400 Winner John Andretti will make up part of a very small contingent of drivers when he enters the garage area for this weekend's Daytona 400 at the 2.5-mile ...

Andretti Knows the Way to Victory Lane at Daytona
No. 45 Driver is Former Daytona 400 Winner

John Andretti will make up part of a very small contingent of drivers when he enters the garage area for this weekend's Daytona 400 at the 2.5-mile Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. He is one of only a handful of drivers who have visited Daytona's famed victory lane as the winner of a Nextel Cup race and the 24 Hours of Daytona road race event. This weekend, Andretti will pilot the #45 Tire Kingdom Dodge Charger in his third start of the season for Petty Enterprises.

The Daytona 400 has become one of the favorite races of the year for drivers, crews and fans alike. It has evolved from a day race to one that is run under the lights. Night racing gives a different perspective to the side-by-side action that has come to define racing at Daytona. Andretti's 1997 '400' victory was the last July race to be staged under the blazing Florida sun.

Andretti has 22 previous starts at 2.5-mile, high-banked oval - 11 of those with Petty Enterprises. To go along with his 1997 victory, Andretti has one top-five finish and he has led 138 laps. He has started 10th or higher in three races at the track.

Comments from Andretti as he prepares for Saturday night's Daytona 400:

"I love going to Daytona. I've won the 24 Hour race before in sports cars. I've won the Daytona 400 in stock cars. I won the last day race for the Daytona 400, actually. I would really like to get into the new victory lane and hold up the new lighted trophy that they have. It's just a special place to race. I can't say enough about it. Everyone dreams of winning there and I feel very fortunate to have done that twice."

"I feel great about our chances. I think we should have a good race. The thing about going to Daytona is that is doesn't really matter where you start. You just need to have a good drafting car. Hopefully, then, someone will work with you and you can get to the front. I think we should be able to have that. I'll have a teammate out there who knows how to get around the place. If we can get our cars hooked up like you see some of the other teams we'll be in good shape."

"Billy Wilburn and I have really developed great lines of communication over these last couple of weeks. The big thing between a driver and his crew chief is for the crew chief to be able to understand what he wants the car to do. It makes both of our jobs much easier. Anytime I ask for something I get it. That is all I can ask for. One of the things we have had to deal with is that we have gone from a downforce car, to an Avenger, and now to a speedway car in the three races that I have run. That's the NASCAR 'trifecta' in 2007. We are getting a lot of different things thrown at us once instead of just working down one path. But, that is good because we are making some quick progress. We are doing a lot of testing. That is going to help a lot too because we get to go through a lot of things and continue to work on that communication."

"Coming back to Petty Enterprises has been great for me because I would do anything for the Petty's. It has been like a trip home. You go in and see everyone that works there, people that have become like family. That means a lot. I have enjoyed every minute I have spent with Petty Enterprises. I have two races left with them this year. I am as determined as ever to help them out. Both myself and the Petty's have had success at Daytona. I can't think of a better place to turn it around and have a good finish."

-credit: pe

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers John Andretti