Iracingone On One:/I Richard Petty

6745Jpg
RacingOne: During your racing days, did you ever think Winston Cup racing would come this far?

Petty: I guess you never really thought about it. We were just racing from week to week and we would go all over the country. You just never thought about it being as big as it is today, we thought it was big then and it was to us, because we came out of North Carolina and there was no professional football, baseball, or basketball or anything like that because racing is all we had. So we thought that was the biggest thing in town, but as time progressed we found out we were not as big. But now in the past 4-5 years it just has really exploded, we have gone all over the country, we’re in every part of the country.

RacingOne: You had a chance to look at the new Chicagoland Speedway. What do you think of it?

Petty: It’s going to be really nice when they get through with it, naturally they are about two-thirds of the way through with it, right now they’re still building the grandstand, garage and surrounding areas. I guess the first thing they did was build the track and the fence, then they had a track so they could build a grandstand around it, then the garages and the rest. The main deal is they're going to have a nice track for us to race on.

RacingOne: If you were to build a track, what types of thing would you bring to it. For instance, Chicagoland is a 1.5-mile speedway. Is that a good size for a Winston Cup race?

Petty: It seems to be. I think the majority of the people in the country look at Winston Cup racing and look at mile and mile-and-a-half tracks. But we do have places like Bristol, Martinsville and Richmond that are small tracks, but everything else is a mile or above, so it’s really Winston Cup racing, it’s not your Saturday night racing. Really it’s something we have worked our way into thinking that we must have a track more than a mile to really put on a Winston Cup race, but I think the variety is what makes the circuit special.

RacingOne: Let’s talk about your team and Petty Enterprises, which has returned to Dodge this year. It must be nice to be back in the Dodge family.

Petty: It really is. I guess Richard Petty has a name, and he built his name working with Plymouth and Dodge and they haven’t been in racing for the past 20 years and all the sudden they came back in and naturally we want to be involved in that. Dodge has 10 teams this year and we're starting out strong with a lot of people, but Dodge had a brand new car and we made a race car out of it and also a brand new engine. The whole process is taking a while to get everything oriented, but every race they get a little bit better, but we hope by the time we come to Chicago, Dodge should have a win.

RacingOne: How about your team Kyle Petty, John Andretti and Buckshot Jones? Give me a coach’s evaluation of where you are in the 2001 season.

Petty: Well, the drivers are doing a lot better than the cars. We had some good long runs, like John Andretti, he ran second in Bristol. We have been having all kinds of things that are not supposed to happen, like someone running into all three cars at Martinsville. We've had a couple engine failures and maybe some driver failures but were getting better each week we go.

RacingOne: What are your memories of Dale Earnhardt?

Petty: Well, it’s a bad situation. I lost my grandson last year and also we lost Kenny Irwin. But on top of that we lose our biggest star at Daytona, and I know what the family is going through. It’s bad enough to lose my grandson who just started, and now you lose someone who has been in the sport for 20-30 years. It’s circumstances beyond anyone’s control, nobody’s going to stop anything, and we must go along.

RacingOne: Do you think the cars can be built safer?

Petty: They can be built safer, but there’s nothing to be done to make it totally safe. I like what NASCAR is doing now to try and make it 2 percent, 5 percent safer, anything is better than what we've got. The first race my dad ever raced in, all he had was a seat belt. After parts broke they improved safety over time, every year the cars get safer. In the mid-1980s we had big cars, now we have smaller compact cars and the cars are stiffer. With a stiff car, when a driver hits something, he takes most of the hit.

RacingOne: Tell us about the Richard Petty Driving Experience

Petty: It's been running for about 10 years, and it originally started with a weekend school. But not everyone wants to be a Winston Cup driver, so we started the Richard Petty Experience. A person can ride with a professional driver or drive in a program that only takes a day. It gives the fans an appreciation of what the drivers have to go through in a race.

RacingOne: What advice can you give for someone that wants to be a Winston Cup driver?

Petty: Everyone who came into Winston Cup has come a different way. Some have started in go-karts, and even a Saturday night deal, then they might get their chance to go Busch or Truck racing. There are thousands of drivers out there and there are only 43 cars in the field, so the select few are the best at it. An inspired driver must be dedicated, concentrate on driving for 24 hours a day for about five years, just to see if you can go along.

Photos

  • From the Archives: Kansas
  • From the Archives: Kansas
  • From the Archives: Kansas
  • From the Archives: Kansas
  • From the Archives: Kansas
  • From the Archives: Kansas
  • From the Archives: Kansas
  • From the Archives: Kansas
  • GEICO 500
  • GEICO 500
  • GEICO 500
  • GEICO 500
  • GEICO 500
  • GEICO 500
  • GEICO 500
  • GEICO 500
  • GEICO 500
  • GEICO 500
  • GEICO 500
  • GEICO 500
  • GEICO 500
  • GEICO 500
  • GEICO 500
  • GEICO 500
  • GEICO 500
  • GEICO 500
  • GEICO 500
  • GEICO 500
  • GEICO 500
  • GEICO 500
  • Toyota Owners 400
  • Toyota Owners 400
  • Toyota Owners 400
  • Toyota Owners 400
  • Toyota Owners 400
  • Toyota Owners 400
  • Toyota Owners 400
  • Toyota Owners 400
  • Toyota Owners 400
  • Toyota Owners 400
  • Toyota Owners 400
  • Toyota Owners 400
  • Toyota Owners 400
  • Toyota Owners 400
  • Toyota Owners 400
  • Toyota Owners 400
  • Toyota Owners 400
  • Toyota Owners 400
  • Toyota Owners 400
  • Toyota Owners 400

Advertisement

You may unsubscribe at any time.
Motor Racing Network
555 MRN Drive
Concord, NC 28027
www.mrn.com/Footer/Contact-Us.aspx
(704)262-6700
feedback@mrn.com
  • © 2015 MRN. All Rights Reserved

    FacebookTwitterDiggDeliciousLinkedInGoogle BookmarksYahoo BookmarksLive (MSN)

    ISC Track Sites