Michigan II: Kyle Petty preview

'Veteran Has Seen it All at Michigan' This weekend, Kyle Petty and the ...

'Veteran Has Seen it All at Michigan'

This weekend, Kyle Petty and the #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge team head to the two-mile Michigan Speedway for Sunday's GFS Marketplace 400. Petty will be making his 49th start at the speedway. His best finish on the banked oval is third in 1997. He has won over $1 million dollars at the track.

Petty, 45, will be making his 736th career start this weekend. He is seventh on the all-time list in NASCAR Cup career starts, and fourth among active drivers. His eight career victories place him 55th on NASCAR's all-time list in Cup wins. One of the most recognizable names in international motorsports, as is his sponsor, Georgia-Pacific, Petty's driving career began with a five-race season in 1979. The native of Level Cross, N.C., has won over $21 million.

The thoughts of Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge driver Kyle Petty heading into Michigan:

"We're looking to score points at Michigan. That's going to be our primary goal. We're looking at the second half of this season as an opportunity to improve on the first half. We want to finish better, score more points, and hopefully climb into the top 25 in the championship point standings. That's our outlook from now until the rest of the season.

"We sort of looked at it that way after we raced half of the season. We looked at where we were, and then made some goals of where we want to be at the end of the season. It's part of moving forward for us. We started off this season, and we had a lot of new things on the plate. The new Dodge Charger has been great for us. We had that and we had Evernham Engines. We had to take what we were working with before and change some things. We had to adapt to the new stuff. Now, we've been to the tracks, and we're looking to improve on what we've learned so far this season.

"We can have a good run at Michigan. We can have good runs the rest of the season. That's the same for everyone. Anything can happen to anyone, especially at a track like Michigan. Michigan is really a track where you depend on so many factors. You need to have a good handling car, you need to have a good engine, and you need to have good fuel mileage. There are just a lot of factors that go into having a good day at this place.

"I've raced there so many times that I think I've seen it all. I've seen guys have good runs only to blow their engine. I've seen guys crash. We've seen guys lose or win the race on fuel mileage. It seems like it's something different every time. You just need to be able to put together a complete day and have no problems. Luck probably has to be on your side a little bit too.

"It's going to be the same thing this weekend. There might be a guy that you think has the race in control. You're in the stands thinking, 'Man, there is no way this cat is going to lose this race.' Then, what seems like to be out of nowhere, he's out of contention. You just need to have everything go perfect for you to win. It's a lot about pit strategy and fuel, but, hey, you never know how the cautions will fall either. A lot of things change the factor of the race at Michigan.

"You have to bring everything that you have got. You can't compensate in one area and hope you can make it up in another at Michigan. You can't give up horsepower for handling. You can't give up horsepower for fuel mileage. It's not going to work. You have to have the best of everything. That's what racing at Michigan is like.

"We're looking forward to this race. We're back on the ovals after a week of some road course racing. This is back to something a little bit more normal for us. I think there are probably a lot of guys ready to get to a so-called 'normal' race. Hey, they are all important to us. We're looking to make improvements from here to the end of the season. Michigan is the next stop for this Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge team."


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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kyle Petty