PETTY DETERMINED AND EXCITED TO BE BACK BEHIND WHEEL Petty to Make First Pocono Start of 2007 Driver Picked Up Win at Track in 1993 This weekend, Kyle Petty and the ...
PETTY DETERMINED AND EXCITED TO BE BACK BEHIND WHEEL
Petty to Make First Pocono Start of 2007
Driver Picked Up Win at Track in 1993
This weekend, Kyle Petty and the #45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge team will travel north to the historic 2.5-mile Pocono (Penn.) Raceway for Sunday's Pennsylvania 500. The tricky triangular shape of Pocono makes it one of the most unique venues on the NASCAR Nextel Cup circuit.
The Pennsylvania 500 will be Petty's first race at Pocono in 2007. Chad McCumbee took the reins of the #45 Dodge for the June race at the track while Petty stepped into the TNT Sports broadcast booth for the first of five races.
Pocono has long been one of the most successful tracks for Petty. In 49 career starts at the track Petty has garnered one win, two top-fives and 12 top-ten finishes. He has led 230 laps at the track. His win came in 1993 when he led 148 of 200 laps.
Comments from Petty as he prepares for Sunday's Pennsylvania 500:
"I love Pocono. I always have. It's a driver's track. You know that in at least one of the three corners at Pocono you are going to have to just drive your car- whether it's tight or loose you are just going to have to drive the thing. It's not going to be perfect for an entire lap because the straights and the corners are of varying length and shape. Some people used to refer to Pocono as a "roval" because it had characteristics of both an oval and a road course. It's not quite the same now because we don't shift on the frontstretch anymore, but that is still a fair assessment. It is a lot like Indianapolis too. It's cool that we go to Indy and Pocono on back-to-back weekends because they are two very unique racetracks and they take the same type of equipment and mindset."
"The Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge team had a great run at Pocono in June. If it had gone green for the entire 200 laps I really feel like they would have finished inside the top-15. Chad McCumbee showed that he has a bright future in this sport. Pocono has been a great track for me in the past. We are going back to the 2006 nose for Pocono and the rest of the season. We feel it is a better nose, aerodynamically, at the moment. If we can go up there this weekend and make gains on the car like Billy (Wilburn, crew chief) and the guys did in June, then we'll have a great race."
"You know, there are 16 races left in the season and we still have a lot of goals that we want to meet. We definitely want to get this #45 team inside the top-30 in the owner point's standings. And if I'm not mistaken I am only 243 points out of the top-30 in driver points, despite missing five races. I would really like to get inside that top-30. That would be a great testament to the entire #45 team if we can do that. That's not a lot of points to make up over 16 races. Given the kind of cars that our shop has been putting out lately it should be achievable because the cars have been great."
"It felt great to strap in behind the wheel of my #45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge last week in Indianapolis. It's different when you miss a race due to injury or something like that. But when you are perfectly healthy and you are not in your car, you start to get a little antsy. Everyone knows that last week was my 800th start. That is a long time to be doing something. When you do something for that length of time it is hard to just turn it on and off like a light switch."
"At the same time it helped Petty Enterprises as a whole. We were able to try out some young talent in Chad McCumbee. We were able to put a veteran driver like John Andretti in the car to get his feedback on where we are. And it allowed me to do some television work, which I love to do. We were able to dramatically improve some of our setups with the help of Chad and John. It was a win-win situation all the way around."