'Track Has Changed, But Still A Favorite' This weekend, Kyle Petty and the ...
'Track Has Changed, But Still A Favorite'
This weekend, Kyle Petty and the #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge team head to the one-mile Dover (Del.) International Speedway this week for Sunday's MBNA America 400. Petty will be coming to the track after celebrating his 45th birthday on June 2nd.
Petty, 45, will be making his 726th career start this weekend. He is 10th on the all-time list in NASCAR Cup career starts, and fourth among active drivers. His eight career victories place him 45th 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've always had a liking for Dover. I don't know why, but it's a track that I've always enjoyed coming to. I have always liked racing there. It's right up there with one of my favorite places to go. It's probably strange, and maybe it sounds strange since so many people don't like it, but I have no problem with Dover. It's one of those places that I really like racing. You hear a lot of guys say they don't like it for whatever reason, but I've always liked racing there and I look forward to always going back.
"I liked it back when we raced 500 miles too. I didn't mind it back then, but I don't mind it now either. It's probably easier on some other people that it's down to 400 miles, but I have fun racing at Dover. The distance never really bothered me. It was a long day, and probably a long day for the fans in the seats, but Dover is a lot of fun if you're racing out there. There is always something going on within the race. It's a fast track and things happen quickly. You can never really rest, and it makes the race go pretty quick in the driver's seat. The change from 500 miles to 400 miles wasn't a big deal.
"I guess Dover just really fits my driving my style. I really liked racing at Rockingham too. Dover might be as close as we get to what Rockingham is like. The banking is pretty steep, it's fast, and the track has always been good to me. Rockingham was good to me and Dover has been good to me, so yeah, it's good to get back to Dover.
"I've been going to Dover for what seems like forever. I've always had good luck there too. The very first race there, it feels like I was 15, but I must have been 21 or 22 and I had a good race. I finished second to Darrell (Waltrip), and it has always been a good place since then. I've won there and I think that helps too. Any track where you have a lot of success, you like going back. Dover is one of those places for me.
"Dover has changed over the years too. We used to, of course, run the races for 500 miles, and now we are back to 400. The biggest change, and most obvious has been the concrete surface. That changed the track greatly, like Bristol when it went to concrete, you lost the top groove. We used to be able to race right up near the wall at Bristol and Dover. At Dover there was a top, middle and lower groove. There is still a middle and lower groove so it's not too bad.
"We don't have that top groove at Dover, but it's not as bad as Bristol. Bristol it's really tough to race side-by-side because of the concrete. We still have good side-by-side racing at Dover. That's the difference. We can still race at Dover, and although we lost that top groove, we still have two grooves of racing. The concrete changed Dover, but it didn't change it to the point that we can't race there.
"Dover has had some good races on the concrete too. It had good races on the asphalt and it has good races now. The place has changed over the years, but it has always been a good track. It has been better to me than some other guys, but that happens to everyone. I'm just looking forward to getting this Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge team back there and hopefully having another good run this Sunday."