Kyle Petty - Dodge teleconference

Kyle Petty Dodge Teleconference Transcript May 29, 2007 KYLE PETTY (No. 45 Wells Fargo Dodge Avenger) COMPARE YOUR EMOTIONS WHEN YOU'RE RUNNING WELL AND WHEN YOU'RE NOT RUNNING WELL "It's a lot simpler when you're running well. You're a...

Kyle Petty Dodge Teleconference Transcript
May 29, 2007

KYLE PETTY (No. 45 Wells Fargo Dodge Avenger)

COMPARE YOUR EMOTIONS WHEN YOU'RE RUNNING WELL AND WHEN YOU'RE NOT RUNNING WELL "It's a lot simpler when you're running well. You're a lot madder when you're not running well. When your car is not driving good and it's not hooked up and things are not going good and you're constantly racking your brain trying to figure out what you can do to make it get better. You go through a list of 100 items it seems like. When you're really close then there's only one or two items. J.J. and I talked a lot about it the other night in the press room. It's a lot simpler to run up front. You feel like in a 600-mile race you could go another 300 miles. When you run 25th in a race like that, when the day is over with, it's like, 'My God, I just barely made it 500 miles. I couldn't go anymore.' It's a totally different emotion."

WHAT DO YOU THINK FANS MOST MISUNDERSTAND ABOUT DRIVING AT THE CUP LEVEL? "That's probably a good question. I don't know. Everybody equates the sport to what they know, which is driving up and down the interstate or driving on a country road or whatever. Race cars don't drive that way. They're a totally different animal. There's really no way to transfer it to the fans what's going through the driver's mind and what's going on on the racetrack. A lot of times an accident will happen and you see a driver drive into it and you're sitting at home on your couch and you think 'My God, I could have missed that wreck.' Let me tell you something. Sitting here beside me at 130 degrees after four and a half hours you see if you're thinking straight enough to get around that wreck. Things just happen sometimes that you can't avoid. It's easy to sit at home and look at it, but it's a lot different when you're there."

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU TO HAVE MAINTAINED THE TYPE OF SUPPORT YOU HAVE ALL THESE YEARS? "I've said it before about camp and I looked at it the other night the same way. I am extremely honored to be a part of that community of the NASCAR community and that garage area and the guys that are in there and the caliber of people. Let's take their driving ability and let's take their mechanical ability and let's take some of the other things out. Just the caliber of people that are in there, I consider that my neighborhood and I consider that my community and I've said that 10 million times. When people in your community say 'we're glad you're part of this thing' then that's special and that was special to me. I looked at it the other night and I thought it's hard to believe. You go out and run third and it's like you won the race. The guys coming up and down pit road and the guys from the other teams that came and told our guys and congratulated us, that was a big night for me."

DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF A LEADER IN THE GARAGE? "No, here's the deal. I said earlier in the year that Jeff Gordon's our guy. He's our go-to guy. He's our leader as far as the guy in the garage area. Have I been around a hundred years? Yeah, it seems like it man because I was here when my father raced and I was here so many times. I've seen things cycle through and cycle out and then cycle back again in this sport, just like you guys have as writers. In the end, if I lead anything I hope it's the point where they look at me and say 'he was a pretty decent guy.' We can go out here and we can race and be competitive and still be a good guy. That's all it is."

COMMENT ON WHAT CREW CHIEF BILL WILBURN MEANS TO THE 45 TEAM "I think Billy made the call and said there's 61 or 62 laps to go, and we can go 58 laps on fuel. We're going for it. We've got nothing to lose and everything to gain. We were straight up on our commitment to making that run, and Billy was straight up on making that call. I think that was the big deal. He made that call and said this is what we're going to do and we stuck with it. Other guys were kind of in and kind of out. They really didn't know what they were going to do right up to the last four or five laps of the race. Guys were still talking about pitting and not pitting and some of that stuff. I think when Billy came on last year that was huge for us. Billy came on last year and kind of picked up our stuff and said this is what we can do to get better and this is what we can do to make this a better team, then that was a big step forward for us. I said it at the end of the year. We got on a little bit of a roll last year. We were out of the top 35, then we were back in the top 35. We fought really hard and that was a little bit of a momentum thing for us. This year we just haven't been able to capitalize on it. We've had some good runs. We just haven't had good finishes, but Saturday night thanks to everything that went on.... Let's go back. We were in that one crash and got the valence caved in and all that stuff. When all that stuff caved in Billy was the calm one on the radio. I was the one screaming. Billy was the calm one on the radio saying, 'look, we've got a good car. We're going to get this fixed and we're going to get back out there and kick these guys' rear ends.' I think that's the attitude he carries into the race and carried into the night and the guys kind of followed him."

WAS IT EVER HARD GOING TO THE TRACK KNOWING YOU PROBABLY WOULD NOT BE COMPETITIVE? "No, it's never hard going to the racetrack. That's like saying is it tough going to the golf course or is it tough going fishing? I love it so much. I love to drive a racecar. I love to be around the garage area. I love to be around racing people. I love to be around everybody there. Even when I missed races, I'd get down, but I'd get down on myself, not on the sport. I'd get hard on myself, but not hard on the people or hard on the sport. What I meant by harder running at the back, it's just a different race running at the back. I was talking to Dale Jarrett and Michael and some of those guys and they're having to qualify week in and week out. It's a different kind of racing than they've been used to the last 10 or 15 years. They've been used to showing up at the race track, jumping in their race cars, making the race and going out and kicking everybody's rear end. Now, because of the way things are, there's a different approach to the sport for them. When you have to run 28th or 29th, and you're asking me, go ask Tony Stewart or Kevin Harvick what it's like to have a car that doesn't drive good all day long and they drive along 28th or 29th and then go ask them after they win a race what he feels like. It's a totally different sport, but it's still fun no matter what."

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THE FIRST HALF OF THE REGULAR SEASON? "For me it's been a strange season when I look around and you look at everything that's gone on. We've got the introduction of the new car -- the Dodge Avenger. I don't refer to them by that other name anymore, but it's the Dodge Avenger we're running this weekend. We've run two different types of cars, so although it's the first half of the season, it's also a little bit of one season and a little bit of another season because you have to two programs that go on at the same time. Then you've got the Hendrick dominance. I step back and look at that and I'm just in awe to see what Rick has done through the years but really what that team is doing this year. I was absolutely ecstatic when Casey won Sunday night. I think Casey is going to be something in this sport for a long time. When he won on Memorial Weekend, what a fitting race for him to win with the Mears Family on that day. It just happened to be NASCAR this time instead of Indy. It's just been one of those seasons where the Chevys have been tough and they've been hard to beat. Use to a manufacturer would jump out in front of everybody and everybody would scream and holler 'there needs to be something to pull 'em back.' I don't think there needs to be anything to pull them back. I think we've got to get caught up. We've not run as well as a Dodge contingent this year although the 2 and 12 cars have really picked it up over the last couple of weeks. Ray's program seems to be down a little bit this year compared to where it was last year. Our program seems to have stepped it up a little bit, but not far enough. We've got to pick it up. Look at the Ford program, they've really not stepped into an area where they're as strong. The race wins are ripe for somebody to pick 'em off, and it just so happens Hendrick teams have picked them off. I look at the Gibbs organization and Tony and Hamlin could have won four or five races also. When you look at it, it's just the luck of the draw. When you look at it, it's just been a very uneventful first half of the year. I'm hoping the second half of the year there's a little more controversy or uproar or upheaval anyhow."

COMMENT ON JUNIOR "You follow it just to see what's going on, but the reason you follow it right now is because there's nothing going on on the racetrack. If it was one of those years we had 12, 13 different winners and we had controversy going on and somebody banging and beating and thrashing on each other, then some of the stories I pick up and read wouldn't be in the paper. I guess what I'm trying to say is if we were putting on the shows I know we can put on, that NASCAR can put on and we as drivers can put on on the racetrack, then we would be reading racing papers and not a lesser version of People Magazine every Monday morning. There's nothing wrong with reading racing papers. That's what I like to read. I don't read People Magazine."

COMMENT ON MOVING TO TV BOOTH IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS "I'm looking forward to it. I did some stuff before Adam started racing and did some stuff in the booth and enjoyed that part of it. I really did. When Adam started racing obviously I went back to kinda watch him and be a part of his program. When the opportunity came along to be with TNT and be with Turner and work with Weber again, because I'd worked with him before. I really enjoy working with Bill and to work with Wally and some of that group and it just so happens they have six races in the middle of the season that was perfect for me. I'm at that point in my career I've got to start looking for my next career and my next job anyhow. Six races is perfect for me because I've always done about halfway part time at anything I do. To be able to do the Turner broadcast and to do it from the car and to do some things of the stuff we're going to try to do this year, it'll be a little bit more innovative and cutting edge. I think the Turner group will give you that opportunity. On the reverse side of that, John is going to come back and drive four races and Chad McCumbee is going to come in and drive a race. The guys are excited about John coming back. John has been at Petty Enterprises, so John knows our system and he knows how to do things over there. He's worked with Robbie and he and Robbie get along really well. I'm really excited Chad coming. He's shown he has a lot of talent on the truck series and he's run some ARCA stuff. To give a guy like that a young guy his first shot at it is pretty exciting, too. Looking at it that way, I'm going to enjoy the TV stuff just by doing the booth and I'm going to enjoy watching Petty Enterprises a couple of races, too."

CAN YOU COMPARE THE CHALLENGES YOU HAVE NOW TO SOME PREVIOUS CHALLENGES? "No, it's totally different. If I go back 10 or 12 years when I drove for Felix and some of that stuff, I look back on my life then and think how simple I had it. All I had to do was show up and drive a race car. You had life by the tail and didn't know it. Then obviously through starting my own team and some of the other things that have happened in my life, and along my career, I'm in a totally different place. It's a good place. I like where I'm at. I like what I'm doing and I wouldn't change the struggles and a lot of stuff. I'd change one thing and that's about it and I'm sure everybody knows what that is, but other than that I'm comfortable with where I'm at and I'm comfortable with who I am and what I do. That's like the other day they said, 'well, you had a good run. Are you thinking about not doing the TV thing?' I'm dead on the TV thing. That's where I am in my life right now, and that's what I want to do. With the camp and what Patti does at camp and the time we spun with fund raising for camp and with the race team and with doing some media stuff and TV stuff, there's a lot on my plate right now, but come back in four or five years and nobody probably won't be coming around so I've got to make hay while I can right now. I enjoy it right now."

YOU WON'T BE IN THE PEPSI 400 THIS YEAR. THAT'S WEIRD NOT HAVING A PETTY IN THE PEPSI 400. "That day is going to come. I'd rather be able to control that day when it comes rather than not control it. It was by choice. When you look at it, it will be weird because the Fourth of July race has meant so much to our entire family. Going down there and watching the Paul Revere race and Bobby Allison used to run the Paul Revere race and being at the hotel and hanging out with Davey and Clifford Allison and Ronald and Donald and Kenny Allison -- Donnie's kid. Ricky and Larry and Ricky Pearson. We all stayed at the same hotel, so the Fourth of July was like summer to me. That was what summer was all about, going to Daytona for the Fourth of July race, so that will be a little bit different, but the part I enjoy about being at the race track as much as the driving part is the people. I think TV gives me that opportunity, so I'm still going to be there."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Tony Stewart , Kyle Petty , Kevin Harvick , Bobby Allison , Clifford Allison , Chad McCumbee