Michigan: Kyle Petty preview

Kyle Petty - Michigan Is About Momentum This weekend, Kyle Petty and the ...

Kyle Petty - Michigan Is About Momentum

This weekend, Kyle Petty and the #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge team head to the two-mile Michigan Speedway for Sunday's Batman Begins 400. Petty made his first start at the track in 1979 and has over 45 starts there with three top-five finishes at the track.

Petty, 45, will be making his 728th 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:

"Anytime you think about racing at Michigan, you really need to think about momentum. Michigan is a momentum track. It's a horsepower track. It's long, wide, and you need to carry your momentum throughout the entire lap to have a good run. That's what Michigan is all about. The last thing you want to do at Michigan is break that momentum. A bad entry into a turn, a slow car in the way, even a bad pit stop can break that momentum. That's never good at a place like Michigan.

"We just don't see many cautions there -- we just see a lot of long green-flag runs. You need to get into a rhythm. You need to keep everything flowing. A little miscue that costs a second somewhere can be huge at Michigan. A second is almost eternity in respect to time at a track like this. It's so competitive, and so tough, that you never want to break your rhythm during the race. The better you can keep that rhythm and momentum the better day you'll have.

"The race really isn't broken up like most other races are. The cautions help break up the tempo of the race at other tracks, but not really Michigan. There are so many grooves to run that we don't need to run into each other. There is room to race and room to pass. We don't get a lot of cautions because of that reason. Hey, this is about the purest form of racing. Who can get there the fastest?

"I think we'll see a good race at Michigan. The tires are getting better, and the aero is getting better too. We can have about a dozen guys who can race within tenths of seconds out there. It's really competitive. You throw in the fact that you've got some young guys and veterans and the racing is really good. I think Michigan is a good track to see good, clean racing.

"We're looking forward to Michigan. We're looking forward these days to get to some horsepower tracks. One of the biggest steps forward for us this season has been with our horsepower and our Evernham Engines. We really believe the using Evernham Engines has been a huge plus for us this season. We felt that we had some good cars in the past, but now we've got a lot under the hood to compliment that too.

"We've spent a lot of time working on downforce and things like that. That's all very important at Michigan. The Dodge Charger, getting the perfect balance for the car, has been something we've been focusing on. You need to have a car that is very aerodynamic at Michigan. We're hoping that some of things we've learned will pay off this weekend.

"We'll get to work right when we pull into Michigan and unload. I'm sure we'll see plenty of busy guys Friday afternoon trying to get the best setup. It's really about getting a good handling car for Sunday and then keeping that momentum during the race. Those are just two keys for a good run at Michigan. Hopefully this Georgia-Pacific/Brawny team can bring everything together for a good run this weekend."


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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kyle Petty