Andy Petree is hoping an afternoon behind the wheel on Saturday afternoon at Martinsville Speedway will make his job easier Sunday. Petree owns the Schneider Electric Chevrolet that Bobby Hamilton will drive in the Virginia 500 NASCAR Winston...
Andy Petree is hoping an afternoon behind the wheel on Saturday afternoon at Martinsville Speedway will make his job easier Sunday.
Petree owns the Schneider Electric Chevrolet that Bobby Hamilton will drive in the Virginia 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race on Sunday. But Saturday Petree will be driving the Preen 'N Green Chevrolet in the Advance Auto Parts 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Martinsville.
"There is some information we can transfer from the truck race to the Winston Cup car. I don't know that is possible everywhere, but it transfers pretty well from the truck to the Cup car at a track like Martinsville," said Petree.
"At tracks where aerodynamics start really coming into play, you just aren' t going to be able to transfer much. This gives me a 'hands-on' look at setups for Martinsville and it might give us something for when we bring the Cup cars back in the fall. Hey, maybe we will have to bring the truck back because we ran so well."
Petree isn't a newcomer to behind-the-wheel-duty nor his a newcomer to Martinsville's tight .526-mile oval. A graduate of the weekly racing wars at Hickory Raceway, Petree ran a limited Busch Grand National schedule for two or three years. He even ran a handful of Busch races at Martinsville before he went behind the wall to become a crew chief and later a Winston Cup team owner.
"I believe I've found my niche in the sport. I guess I sound like (attorney) Johnny Cochrane here -- the niche doesn't take away the itch," said Petree.
"I've always enjoyed driving and have always wanted to. To be honest with you, I don't think there is a car owner or crew chief or car chief or mechanic or whatever in this sport who hasn't either thught they could do it or who didn't want to do it. I don't know that I thought that much about Winston Cup. I just wanted to race and drive."
Petree is happy with his station in the sport. But sometimes, being a car owner just doesn't satisfy his competitive spirit.
"It's all about competition. I want to be the best car owner in Winston Cup racing because I want to be the best with everything I do," said Peteree. "When I'm driving, I want to beat everybody I can beat and I'm going to be amd if I didn't beat somebody. I ran an ARCA race last year and beat Ken Schrader in qualifying. Let me tell you, that was fantastic. Kenny is a great driver and it mean a lot to beat him. Plus, he's a friend, so it meant even more. And I know how much he wanted to beat me -- just to show me -- so that made it even sweeter."
Action kicks off at Martinsville Speedway on Friday, April 12 with MW Windows Pole Day. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competitors will time trial for the Advance Auto Parts 250 at 1:30 p.m. while qualifying for the Virginia 500 is set for 3 p.m. Tickets for qualifying are $15 for adults and children under 12 get in free.
The Craftsman Truck Series racing action begins at 2 p.m. on April 13 when the green flag waves on the Advance Auto Parts 250. Tickets for the Advance Auto Parts 250 Craftsman Truck race are $30 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12. All seats are unreserved.
There still are great seats available for the Virginia 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race for $40-$70 each. To purchase tickets call the speedway ticket office toll free at 877-722-3849 or online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.