Richmond II: Kyle Petty preview

'We'll Be Smart, But We're Here to Win' This weekend, Kyle Petty and the ...

'We'll Be Smart, But We're Here to Win'

This weekend, Kyle Petty and the #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge team head to the .750-mile Richmond (Va.) International Raceway for Saturday night's Rock and Roll 400. Petty will be making his 48th start at Richmond this weekend. He has finished every race since 1999 at the track and had completed every lap but 62 since then. Petty has one win and 12 top 10's at Richmond.

Petty, 45, will be making his 739th 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 Richmond:

"I don't want to be that guy that takes someone out of the championship this weekend. That's going to be a common theme among the drivers this weekend. I don't think it's going to change the race, but I think guys are going to be aware of the drivers who are on the bubble of the chase. Nobody wants to be the one that costs a driver that chance. I'm going to race hard, that guy is going to race hard, but we're not going to go crazy trying to race these guys. We're going to be a little bit smarter than that this weekend.

"It's not going to change the race. This race still pays money, still gives out points, and there's still a trophy waiting for someone in victory lane. That makes this race no different than any other one in a racer's mind. We're still here to win, and that's what we want to do Saturday night. There isn't another guy out there that is going to lay over for someone else on the track. We can all be smart about it, but it's not going to change the race.

"We're professionals and we all know what is at stake. If we don't, we haven't been paying attention. This is the talk of the town. Everyone knows which drivers are close to getting in and which drivers can be bumped out of the final spots for the chase. We'll be reminded during the race too. Our spotters will let us know if we're next to this guy or that guy. Like I said, we're not going to lay over for these guys, but we're going to be aware of them. You have to respect these guys and know what they are racing for.

"No. I don't expect any problems. Richmond is a short track, but it's not Bristol either. We shouldn't see guys getting angry or guys running into each other. Richmond really isn't that type of race. But, anything can happen. You never want to say never. Hopefully we'll see a good race and everyone will race clean.

"We usually see good races at Richmond. It's a favorite track for a lot of the guys out here. I like the track. There have been so many changes here, but it's still a great track. It has multiple grooves and we can race each other without worrying about getting stuffed in the fence or some other things that can happen at short tracks. Richmond is a short track, but it has different characteristics to it. It lends itself to good racing.

"There is going to be a lot of talk about this race. There will be a lot of hype and a lot of questions being asked. Everyone wants to know what's going to happen. Everyone will be asking if we're going to race differently, if we're going to treat guys differently, and whatever. We all know the situation. We know what this race means and we know who's in contention. It's in our minds, but it's not the reason we are there this weekend.

"This Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge team is here to win the race. That's our goal. It's no different. I don't want to kill anyone's chances to miss the chase, but we're not going to sacrifice a chance to win. This is a performance based sport. We'll be smart, but we are here to win."


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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kyle Petty