Petty fast in Atlanta test HAMPTON, Ga. (Feb. 26, 1999) Don't ask 18-year-old Adam Petty - son of Kyle Petty and grandson of "King" Richard Petty - if he uses the advantages of his name just to have a little fun. The boyish grin...
Petty fast in Atlanta test
HAMPTON, Ga. (Feb. 26, 1999) Don't ask 18-year-old Adam Petty - son of Kyle Petty and grandson of "King" Richard Petty - if he uses the advantages of his name just to have a little fun. The boyish grin quickly disappears and a very serious race car driver emerges, as it did recently during testing for the March 13 Yellow Freight 300.
Petty, a Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate in the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division, turned in a lap of 186.541 mph Thursday, just off the Atlanta Motor Speedway track record of 186.673 mph set last November by Dick Trickle.
"This is my life," Petty said. "It's all I've ever known how to do and I'd be lost if I wasn't driving a race car. I take it very seriously, and how I run on the weekend usually determines how good a week I have."
Petty proved just how serious he was last October at Lowe's Motor Speedway during his first Automobile Racing Club of America Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series event. As his proud father and grandfather looked on, Petty drove to victory and entered his name in the record books as the first fourth-generation driver to win in a major division of stock car racing.
The teenager was optimistic about his first test session on the 1.54-mile quad-oval and his chances in the upcoming Yellow Freight 300.
"I'm having fun today and just trying to get some track time and learn what it's like," said Petty. "This isn't even our race car, it's just a backup car. We're waiting for the one that's going to race to get finished."
Petty's first NASCAR Busch Series season has quickly turned into a roller coaster ride. He earned a sixth-place finish at Daytona and then missed the race at Rockingham after Bud Pole Qualifying was rained out. Last season's owner points determined the starting lineup, and since his Petty Enterprises team is new, he was left out. That has him especially looking forward to the upcoming races, including the Atlanta event.
"It was very frustrating seeing those cars line up for that race and knowing that we had a car capable of winning," said Petty. "It definitely makes me more eager to get to the upcoming races like the one here at Atlanta.
"This is a unique place. Most of the tracks that are considered fast don't really feel that fast to the driver. This is a fast track where the driver even feels the sensation of speed. That's what makes it so much fun."
Despite the setback, Petty continues to look forward. He says that he approaches the disappointment as if it were a lost battle and not the end of the war.
"This team is capable of winning races and capable of winning the championship," he said. "I'm ready to get back to the track where the driver even feels the sensation of speed. That's what makes it so much fun."
Petty is also content with his role now in the NASCAR Busch Series, but still looks ahead.
"Obviously I want to get to Winston Cup," he said. "I may run a few races as early as next year, but I'm not sure yet. Whatever happens I'll keep trusting my dad. He's been a big influence and the greatest help to me. He'll know when the time is right."
Source: NASCAR Online