Homestead: Kyle Petty preview

Owner Points No Longer a Worry for Petty; Driver Locked Into First Five Races of 2008 This weekend, Kyle Petty and the ...

Owner Points No Longer a Worry for Petty; Driver Locked Into First Five Races of 2008

This weekend, Kyle Petty and the #45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge team will travel to the 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway (HMS) for Sunday's NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season finale.

By virtue of his finish at the Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway last weekend, Petty has secured a finish inside the top-35 in the NASCAR Nextel Cup owner point's standings. He will be locked into the first five events of the 2008 season, including the 50th running of the Daytona 500. Having met this goal, Petty can head to HMS with nothing but racing on his mind.

Petty has made five starts at HMS. His best finish came in the inaugural race in 1999 when he crossed the finish line in the seventh position.

Comments from Petty as he prepares for Sunday's 400 mile event:

"I told my team in Phoenix that we weren't racing the entire field on Sunday. We just had to focus on beating the cars that we were racing for the top-35. Our cars had been great over the last several races, but we needed to finish the season strong. I'm really proud of how the guys responded. We've locked ourselves in to the first five races next year and that is a big relief."

"Now we can go to Homestead and just race our tails off. We don't have to be cautious or hold anything back. It'll be kind of like the all-star race for us. Just go out there and let the rough side drag. You can have a lot of fun at Homestead when you get aggressive with the setup."

"Sunday's race is going to be a little bittersweet, man. It's the last race with the 'standard' car. I've had some good runs of the years with this car in my career. And Petty Enterprises has made a lot of gains with our intermediate program with this car. Now these cars are obsolete. But with the new Dodge Avenger comes progress. The new car will be good for our sport."

"There has been some talk over the last few years about taking the last race away from Homestead. I personally think it is a great place to end the season. In a perfect world, NASCAR would prefer to have five or six guys going into Homestead with a chance to win the championship. You want to put them on a track where they can show all of their talent. A track where they can walk away, win or lose, knowing that they gave it everything they had. A track where the finish is not influenced by someone else. Homestead has all of that."

"It's hard to believe that the next time we go to the track for a race weekend, it will be the 50th Daytona 500. Everyone always puts a lot of time and effort into the Daytona 500. There will be more than ever during this off-season. We will have a lot of eyes on us next year. Plus, the race will be run with the new car. Looking back over my career I can't think of a more important winter than the one coming up."

-credit: pr

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kyle Petty