'Dover Will Challenge 'Chasers'' This weekend, Kyle Petty and the ...
'Dover Will Challenge 'Chasers''
This weekend, Kyle Petty and the #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge team head to the one-mile, concrete-surfaced Dover (Del.) International Speedway for Sunday's MBNA America 400. The race is the second in the championship chase. Petty will be making his 47th start at Dover this weekend. He has one win and seven top-five finishes at the speedway.
Petty, 45, will be making his 741st 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 Dover:
"I really like Dover. I've been going there for what seems like forever. Ever since I was a kid I have been going to Dover, and I still like going there. I like the track. I think it's a pretty cool track. I liked it when it was asphalt, and I like it now with the concrete. Dover isn't like a Charlotte, Texas or Atlanta -- it's different. It's its own thing.
"That difference starts with the concrete. There are only one or two other tracks that we race on that are totally or partially made of concrete. It's a different racing surface than we see throughout the year. Basically all it does is take a groove away from us. We really struggle racing on the higher groove at Dover at the start of the race. It's pretty hard starting the race on the outside. There isn't much rubber up there and guys just slide around. Man, it's a mad scramble at the beginning of the race to get down on the bottom of the track. It's a lot better to qualify on the inside than the outside. The longer the race, and the more we work in the top groove, the better it gets. It's just bad at the beginning of the day.
"I think after the concrete you have to worry about the banking. Well, you have to worry about cars sliding down the banking. The track is banked all the way around. It's pretty severe too. A car that wrecks is going to eventually slide down to the bottom of the track. That usually creates a barricade and it can get pretty bad. You can have some big pileups at Dover in a hurry.
"Every race is going to dictate the champion, but a lot of things can happen at Dover. You can get wiped out pretty easily here. All the tracks in the chase are going to play a role in determining a champion, but a lot of things can happen to a guy at a track like Dover. This is a really fast track and things happen so quickly. I'm sure the guys in the chase know the risks of this weekend, but anything can happen in 400 laps here.
"You have to be smooth and consistent every lap to have a good race. You want to keep that car as snug to the bottom as you can. If you can just keep your car low and force guys to pass you on the outside you are going to be alright. It's a tough track to pass on because it takes a while for that top groove to get any grip. It's a lot like Bristol is that way. If you can keep your car fast on the bottom you aren't going to have any problems. If you can't, you're going to fall to the back pretty quickly. It's really bad early in the race, but it does get better at the end. It just takes some laps for that second groove to come in.
"We used to have maybe three or four different grooves with the asphalt, but it's not like that anymore. The track's groove is much more select. I think we can still race there, yeah, no problem, but we lost some of the grooves with the concrete. That's fine. We still have good races, and we still have good side-by-side racing too. That's all we need. You shouldn't need five or six grooves to get around someone.
"I just really enjoy the track. I guess it just fits my style. I think after a while you look at some tracks and you favor some more than others. That's just part of it. Winning here probably helped a lot in liking this place, but I've had some not to great days too. Hopefully this weekend this Georgia-Pacific/Brawny team will have another good day."