Las Vegas: Kyle Petty preview

Petty Ready for New High Banks Team Looking to Back Solid California Run at Vegas This weekend, Kyle Petty and the ...

Petty Ready for New High Banks
Team Looking to Back Solid California Run at Vegas

This weekend, Kyle Petty and the #45 Wells Fargo Dodge team head to the 1.5-mile Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway (LVMS) for Sunday's UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400.

LVMS has gone through a complete makeover since the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series last competed there in March of 2006. In an effort to promote more side-by-side racing, the track's banking was increased from 12 to 20 degrees. A new garage area and a new pit road, one that is closer to the frontstretch, will give the fans a closer look at the action.

Petty will be making his 788th Nextel Cup start this weekend. It will also mark his eighth start at LVMS. Petty has one top-15 finish at the desert racing venue. He brought his Petty Enterprises Dodge home in the 12th position at the 2004 edition of this event. Petty finished 29th in the 2006 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400

Comments from Petty as he prepares for Sunday's UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400:

The team rebounded well from Daytona. Gauge the performance of your team as you head to another high-banked, west coast track.

"Man, I'll tell you, I was so proud of the guys after California. We didn't have the best day on Friday. We just never got the Wells Fargo Dodge comfortable. It showed during qualifying. But, Billy (Wilburn, crew chief) and the guys just kept after it. We really made some gains with the car during the practice sessions on Saturday. Billy just kept making great calls during the race. We were knocking on the door of a top 15 finish, but we just missed some adjustments late in the race."

"We did, however, hit on some stuff that should make us better when we get to Vegas. This race will be a crap shoot. We saw a lot of issues during the test session. Tire problems, motor problems. It's really an unknown, but we definitely expect to be better when we roll off the truck."

Everyone had a chance to test the new banking at LVMS during a February test session. What are your thoughts on the new surface?

"Obviously it is a completely different track.  It is
big, fast and has a lot of grip.  I am confident that Goodyear has done a
lot of homework.  They will bring a tire that will be safe for us to
run.  They do an outstanding job.

"It is also seems to be hard on motors. You are really twisting the engine. Your 'rpm' range is not that wide with all of that new banking. It will take some time, but you can see that it should be a great track after a few races."

"They also moved pit road closer to the frontstretch. That may be a factor before the race is over. Not only are you getting used to coming down off the banking to pit, but the entrance to pit road is at the exit of Turn Four. There are a lot of variables that could come into play during the race."

You just finished the first true test session for the Car of Tomorrow. What did you take away from the two days at Bristol?

"Honestly, it went about as well as I thought it would. There are some things that the teams will have to get used to, as far as the inspection process goes. They are bringing us in a day early on race weekend to make sure that we can get everyone through tech. That will help"

"As for the racing goes, when you get down to it, it's still a race car. My car still says Wells Fargo on the hood and I will get in and drive it like any other car I have been in. I have seen drastic change before, like when NASCAR shortened the wheel base. We just figured it out. I see no reason to expect anything different this time. We have very intelligent people working on these Dodge Avengers. Like this weekend, we'll be ready."

-credit: pe

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kyle Petty