Kyle Petty Getting Some Breaks

Petty is finally getting some breaks By Dave Rodman MARTINSVILLE, Va. (April 16, 1999) After a terrible start, things seem to be going Kyle Petty's way lately. Following a top-10 finish at Bristol Motor Speedway, a miraculous escape from a...

Petty is finally getting some breaks By Dave Rodman

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (April 16, 1999) After a terrible start, things seem to be going Kyle Petty's way lately. Following a top-10 finish at Bristol Motor Speedway, a miraculous escape from a freak accident in testing last week at Talladega Superspeedway and now a 10th-place Bud Pole Qualifying run Friday for Sunday's Goody's Body Pain 500 at Martinsville Speedway, Kyle Petty is walking on cloud nine. Despite his excellent run in Bud Pole Qualifying, 94.765 mph in the Hot Wheels Pontiac, all Petty wanted to talk about Friday was his escape on Wednesday at the "World's Fastest Speedway." While participating in a manufacturer's test session for General Motors NASCAR Winston Cup Series teams, Petty had his throttle hang open when he tried to drive into the gas pump area.

"As you round the corner where the gas pumps are, I was coasting along, and you can see it on the computer," Petty said. "It was turning about 1800 RPM, and I dropped it in first gear and barely touched the accelerator and the thing hung wide open. It turned 6800 according to the computer.

"When it did that it spun sideways and I was on the brakes trying to slow it down and hit the kill switch all at the same time. By then I was past the gas pumps, through a chain link fence and I hit my first pole of the year."

Petty said the car, which ran 7th in the Daytona 500, would need to have everything forward of the firewall replaced. Petty himself was fine and, well, just Kyle Petty.

"I just got out and laughed - there wasn't anything else you could do," he said. "That's probably one of the weirdest things that's ever happened to me in a race car (but) I'm not superstitious. When you've seen it all, there's no reason to be superstitious, man. You get past the superstitious stage."

On Friday at Martinsville it was technology that kept Petty on track, on the relatively flat .526-mile oval that eats up tires and brakes.

"The car is really good, and a lot of times I'll overdrive the car in qualifying," said Petty, who is on a big rebound after missing two of the first six races this season. "You could probably hear it hit the rev limiter (in practice). They asked me if I wanted to take it out and I said 'no, I'll probably overdrive it if you take it out.'

"We're running those new Brembo brakes and they've got a lot of stopping power, so they make up for my mistakes."

Petty hopes and thinks his rampage can continue, including at Talladega, where the circuit will arrive less than a week from now.

"We were having a really good test -- we were running really good," Petty said of his time before the accident. "We'll be OK when we go back. It's one of those freak deals that messes up the car and causes a lot of work for the guys at the shop, but it doesn't set us back any."

Source: NASCAR Online

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kyle Petty