Andy Petree Workout Buff

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When Andy Petree turned 40 years old, he decided to do something to keep himself in shape. Despite Petree’s busy schedule as the car owner of the No. 55 Schneider Electric Chevrolet, he gets up five days a week to run four miles and do his workout routine. But Petree didn’t start his workout regimen by running four miles everyday; he had to work up to it. And it wasn’t a fun road.

“I used to make myself do it when I first started,” Petree said. “I got to the point where what I was eating was catching up to me and I realized I had to do something about it. I thought to myself, ‘I can either sit here and grow old and gain weight or I can do something about it.’ So that day, I decided to get on a workout program and follow through with it.

“At seven o’clock every morning I’m at my race shop,” Petree continued. “I have a gym with cardiovascular and weight training equipment. It was built for the team to help them stay in shape for things like pit stops or keeping up the endurance level we must have to get through a Winston Cup season.

“I get on the treadmill, set the speed and turn my television on Sportscenter,” Petree said. “I use the timer at the bottom of the screen to help me watch my time, but stay focused on the TV instead of watching the timer on the treadmill.

In the beginning Petree built himself up by walking. Then he added running and lifting weights to his routine. “I started off by walking, but I ran at the times that I felt I could,” Petree said. “Then I would add one mile on to it or I would push myself to run more while I was on the treadmill. Now I can consistently keep my speed up while I’m exercising. I’m at the point where I can run four miles in about 30 minutes. Sometimes I even run twice a day. It’s taken me three years to get there, but it’s been worth every sweat bead for it.

“But running isn’t the only thing I do for exercise. I alternate days doing different types of repetitions with my arms. I work one day on my triceps or one day I’ll work on curls. Sometimes I do a little different repetition, but work on the same thing. And I do sit-ups everyday.”

Petree has also trained for and competed in one 10K run, such as the one he entered last September. “I registered to run for that race because my sister ran in them,” Petree said. “She was doing pretty well with it, so I thought I would try my hand at it. It helped me focus some of my attention toward a goal. I enjoyed it. It was like I directed my attention on something like I do in racing. I actually did pretty well in it.”

The 44-year-old car owner and former crew chief tries to encourage others in his Flat Rock, N.C.,-based race shop to find a program that will get them in better shape as well. “I’ve tried to get people in my race shop to get on a program like me,” Petree continued. “I’ve offered my help and said I would train them if they want. I even tried to give goals that I thought would influence them to start a program for themselves.”

APR’s vice president, Steve Barkdoll, trained for several months with Petree and seemed to be happy with the results. Petree said, “I helped him so he could improve his health, just as I would do for anyone in my shop.

“I want these guys to stay in the best condition because that’s what it takes to succeed under the stress level that we go through in a year,” Petree continued. “This sport continues to grow and we’ve got to stay on top of our game to beat it. I built these facilities in my shop to help the guys be able to work out everyday.”

Although Petree’s positive attitude about running and weight training didn’t come on the first day, his efforts have paid off. Not only does he feel better, but he is also in the best shape of his life.

“At first it was tough,” Petree said. “I had to make myself do it. But I stuck with it and now I really enjoy it. I look forward to the time I have on the treadmill and lifting weights. Although I do it to stay in good shape, it’s helped my stress level tremendously.”

But Petree’s travel schedule to 38 NASCAR Winston Cup Series races is not conducive to a lot of free time. “It gets hard sometimes to do it while I’m on the road, but I find other ways to keep up my pace. I’ll use facilities at MRO (Motor Racing Outreach) to run while the BUSCH Series race is going on around the track or I’ll get up just like I do at home and go over there first thing in the morning. If they’re not at the track, then I’ll find another area to run around.”

Petree’s enthusiasm for running carried over to driver Bobby Hamilton’s win at Talladega, the first victory for car owner Petree and sponsor Square D in Talladega, Ala. (April 2001). “Bobby always runs well in Martinsville (Va.). So I told him if he won there for our first win, I was going to run around the track. It’s only one-half mile, so I know I could’ve made it back in time for the start of victory lane celebrations. We ended up winning our first race in Talladega and although I could have run the distance, I wouldn’t have been in victory lane the whole time. So instead I just jumped on the hood of his car.”

This weekend Petree will try his skills in his second 10K run at The Best of Badin (NC). The race is a fundraiser for diabetes and Andy Petree Racing is one of the sponsors. Petree ran last weekend in Loudon, N.H., to practice for the 6.2-mile run this Saturday, turning his fastest time on his last lap around the 1.058-mile oval.

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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, 2002

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