'Competition Leaves No Room For Excuses' This weekend, Kyle Petty and the ...
'Competition Leaves No Room For Excuses'
This weekend, Kyle Petty and the #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge team head to the two-mile California Speedway for Sunday's Sony HD 500. Sunday's race will be the 25th race of the NASCAR Nextel Cup season. It is also the second-to-last race before the "Chase for the Nextel Cup championship" starts. Heading into Sunday's race two of NASCAR's biggest stars, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon, are on the verge of not making it into one of the ten spots available for the chase.
Petty, 45, will be making his 738th 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 California:
"Hey, this is a performance-based sport. It's just that simple. If you don't perform, especially the way this chase is structured, you just aren't going to make it in. And I think everyone knows that and respects that. We all started off at Daytona, some 20 races ago, and we were all given the same set of rules to play by. It didn't matter if you were the defending series champion, if you had won 'X' amount of races, or whatever. If you weren't within 400 points or in one of the top 10 spots in points, no, you weren't going to make it to the chase.
"Guys like Gordon, Earnhardt Jr, and even a guy like Matt Kenseth understand that. They just didn't have great seasons like they did in the past. Is it good for the sport? If nothing else, it shows that this series is competitive, and that different guys each season are going to be up front. Sure, it probably stings a little to maybe not have Gordon or Earnhardt Jr. in the chase from a marketing standpoint or things like that, but it's probably just the opposite if you look at it from the competition end. We see a guy like Dale Jarrett who has had a really good year. Remember last season? Man, there were people writing that team off, but now look at them. It shows that this is a competitive sport.
"You can't be the king of the mountain forever. Petty Enterprises was there for a long, long time, and we are working our way back up. Some guys have struggled this season that really haven't struggled the last two or three years. It's a cycle and that's the way this business goes. Teams are always going to be chasing the leaders and making improvements to be better. That's what makes this sport so competitive.
"You will see guys who struggled this season make changes for next year. You can count on that. We have seen it happen already. We have seen it happen for 2007 already. It's just that competitive. Teams want to stay ahead of the curve and be in the chase every year. We want to be there too. It means more testing, more wind tunnel time, and taking advantage of every resource you have. That's the way it is.
"We have heard of some new changes for 2006 regarding testing and other things. Hey, we'll adapt. NASCAR will lay out the guidelines. We'll do everything we can do to get the most out of them. That's why we hire and align ourselves with the best people we can. We need people that know how to make the best out of every situation that gets thrown at us. Sometimes we have to try a different approach, but we get the most out of what is given to us. You just hope at the end of the day it's enough to give you that competitive advantage.
"This season had been no different and this race will be no different. We are going to head into this weekend with the best we have. We leave the shop and go to these races to win. Nobody is here to race for second and nobody wants to be behind the leader. That's the guy we are all shooting for and the one we want to knock off. That's the goal this weekend for this Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge team."