Phoenix: Kyle Petty preview

The True Test What Will We Learn About "Car of Tomorrow" at Phoenix? This weekend, Kyle Petty and the ...

The True Test
What Will We Learn About "Car of Tomorrow" at Phoenix?

This weekend, Kyle Petty and the #45 Wells Fargo Dodge team head to the flat one-mile Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway for Saturday night's Subway 500. Saturday night's race will feature the "Car of Tomorrow" racing on its largest track to date.

This "Car of Tomorrow" race is considered by many to be the trust test of what the car will bring to the future of the sport. The previous races with the car have been short tracks with no aerodynamic challenges. Phoenix is a much faster raceway where aerodynamics are important for a good run.

The countdown to 800 career starts continues. Petty will be making his 793rd Nextel Cup start this weekend. He has 20 previous starts at Phoenix dating back to 1988. Petty has raced a Ford, Pontiac and Dodge at the track. His experiences have led him to four top 10 and one top five finishes.

Comments from Petty as he prepares for Saturday's Subway 500:

"It's tough to say what will happen. You know, I think we've tested the car. We raced at Bristol, we raced at Martinsville and we tested at Richmond. It went through a lot of aerodynamics testing at Richmond.

"Phoenix, and what we'll learn there, the biggest thing is actually racing at a track where aerodynamics matter. It's as important, or more important, than mechanical is at Phoenix. We are actually racing the car this weekend too. We don't have a test or anything like that. It's time to actually see what we have.

"We haven't seen anything from Bristol at Martinsville. Bristol isn't about aerodynamic, it never has been. Martinsville isn't about aerodynamics, it never has been. It came into play at the Richmond test, but it truly comes into play this weekend.

"The things that we struggle with concerning this car are going to be factor and a challenge. Getting the car to turn in the middle, and maybe some other issues that are inherent to this cars design will be tested this weekend. We'll have to look at the results and see what we can do to make the car go fast. Our Wells Fargo Dodge, yea, we're probably going to have to make some changes here and there. It's going to take an effort to get the best out of your car. Everyone is in the same situation.

"I think we'll have our challenges ahead of us, but we're going to have fun too. Phoenix was awarded a second date and I think that's good. I've raced Winston West races a long many years ago. We used to race at Ontario and on the way back I'd race at Phoenix in the old Winston West Series. That was way back in the late 1970's and early 80's. We had a lot of fun doing that.

"I've done some sports car races there too. It was amazing, looking and watching all the fans. They really wanted a second Nextel Cup race at the track. There are some places that we go to and are talked about that want a second date. I think, 'I don't know. What are they going to do with it?" I think the staff at Phoenix have done a tremendous job of making it bookend our season. We are here this weekend, but come back again for the end of the season when we're in the chase.

"The city has really adapted to our sport well too. It's a huge sports market. There are a lot of sports fans and a lot of NASCAR fans in the area. It's a great city to visit and attract fans from the west. It's a good idea that we race there twice.

-credit: pe

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kyle Petty