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Petty to Make 800th Start Only Six Drivers Have Reached Milestone Number This weekend, Kyle Petty and the ...

Petty to Make 800th Start
Only Six Drivers Have Reached Milestone Number

This weekend, Kyle Petty and the #45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge team head to the historic 2.5-mile Indianapolis (Ind.) Motor Speedway (IMS) for Sunday's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. The annual event at IMS has quickly risen to the ranks of one of the most prestigious events on the NASCAR Nextel Cup schedule.

Petty will join the 800 start club when he takes the green flag for the Allstate 400. Only six drivers have reached this milestone number of starts. Petty's father, "The King" Richard Petty, sits atop the list with 1,185 starts.

This weekend also marks Petty's return to the #45 Dodge after his brief stint in the TNT Sports booth. Chad McCumbee and John Andretti filled in for Petty in his absence.

Petty is one of 12 drivers entered in the 2007 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard that participated in the very first event in 1994. Petty finished 26th in this event in 2006.

Comments from Petty as he prepares for Sunday's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard:

"It's kind of crazy to think that this will be my 800th start. I just started back in 1979, when I made my Cup debut, and you never think that you are doing the same thing for 30 years. I think about a lot of people that have helped me sustain such a long career- my family, Felix (Sabates), the Wood's and everyone else that have been a part of it. It's because of those people and the great equipment they put me in throughout my career that I am able to join my father on that exclusive list of drivers. It just so happens that it falls at a track like Indy, with all of the racing tradition they have there, that makes it even more special."

"I am just excited to get back in the car. Billy Wilburn (crew chief) and the entire #45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil team have been working so hard while I was away. (Chad) McCumbee was on the verge of a great run at Pocono before rain cut it short. The team went to Kentucky to test earlier this month and they really learned a lot of front-end geometry stuff that I think should help us everywhere we go, including Indy. It really helped John's (Andretti) car at Chicago. We just need a little bit of luck on our side. Right now, our Petty Enterprises Dodges are as good as they have been all year. If we can put in a good qualifying effort on Saturday that will get us off on the right foot because it can be difficult to pass at Indy."

"Everyone wants to win at Indy, sure, but it's not Daytona and never will be- at least for us. For us, it's always going to be Daytona. Indianapolis will be the place for open wheel racers. 'OK', the place has the feel of Yankee Stadium, Lambeau Field or Madison Square Garden, a place where some of the greatest athletes in sports have played, but that's for the open wheel guys. We have those feelings when we get to Daytona. This is still a big race for us, but it's not going to top Daytona.

"These last couple of weeks have been very busy and I haven't even raced since Sonoma. The TNT Sports stuff was an awesome experience. I hope to be able to do more of that. Plus we just finished up our 13th annual Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride. This year we went North to South instead of West to East. I think everyone enjoyed the change. It was a lot of fun and we were able to help a bunch of kids in the process. Now it's time to get back into the car and race."

-credit: pe

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers John Andretti , Kyle Petty , Richard Petty , Chad McCumbee