MARTINSVILLE, Va. (Aug. 20, 1998) Kyle Petty 'stole' a car from his father Richard Petty to test this week at Martinsville Speedway and drive in the NAPA AutoCare 500 on Sunday, September 27. And why not. Richard Petty's STP Pontiacs ...
MARTINSVILLE, Va. (Aug. 20, 1998) Kyle Petty 'stole' a car from his father Richard Petty to test this week at Martinsville Speedway and drive in the NAPA AutoCare 500 on Sunday, September 27. And why not. Richard Petty's STP Pontiacs have a second, two thirds and a fifth-place finish in the past four Martinsville races. Kyle has been unhappy with his Martinsville runs of late and the logical thing to do was get a car identical to the one John Andretti almost won in last April at the Goody's Headache Powder 500.
"We brought our car and we stole a car from them (Richard Petty)," he said as team members started joking with Petty about using the word 'stole' "Well, we stole a car from them," he told team members.
Petty tested Tuesday and Wednesday in one of his Hot Wheels Pontiacs along with an STP-painted Pontiac that John Andretti drove this year at Pocono.
"It's been a long time since we've come here to test and one of the reasons is because 43 (Richard Petty) has given us a car," Petty said. "This is a copy of their Martinsville car. So they said they would run it a Pocono and we could have it after that.
"They have run really well and we have not run that good the last couple of years up here. We have the same motors and same stuff, but our cars are different. So we opted to bum a car off them and come up here," he said. Kyle said he was using both cars to develop an optimum setup.
"We have tried stuff on both cars with the computers, and we will go back and download, look at the data, and see what's best and make a combination of the two," he said. "On one car we are trying to get corner speeds from the entrance to the exit of the corner, and on the other car we are trying to get from the center of the corner to the middle of the straightaway. So there are two or three tests going on right here. A lot of time when you test you work on a setup for the race, but you can't do that here at Martinsville. With the concrete corners, there is not enough rubber on the track to get hooked up. We are working on segment time and figure if we can repeat this in the race we should be able to run fast enough to be competitive."
Adam Petty, Kyle's son who races in the ASA Series, also took some laps in both cars and it was his first ever opportunity to drive on a race track that his great-grandfather, Lee; grandfather, Richard; and father, Kyle all raced.
"I've tested at Talledega and Richmond and Indy. It helps me to run on Tuesday and Wednesday and then race on the weekends. It's all about seat time," the 18-year-old Petty said. "I've had a ball. You know I've always wanted to come and run the Late Model show, the Taco Bell 300, but the schedule never worked out. I never realized how much brakes you use here. It's a good experience for me to come here and drive these cars and learn a little bit."
Just like Adam learning from his father about Martinsville, Kyle had the best teacher he could have possibly had. Richard Petty's 15 NASCAR Winston Cup wins at Martinsville is tops on the track's all-time list and Lee Petty had one victory at Martinsville. Driving into the pit gate they have to pass the Richard Petty tower, so Kyle and Adam cannot come to Martinsville without remembering and knowing what Richard accomplished at Clay Earles' .526-mile track. And Adam appreciates the opportunity to learn from his dad.
"I couldn't do it without him," he said. "It's been fun. I've had a ball. It's an honor to come here and run where the Winston Cup cars run."
Source: NASCAR Online