Mccumbee In For Petty
April 1, 2008 | 9:00 A.M. EST
But Petty Enteperises is hoping its No. 45 ride won't join Kyle.
Petty will step out of the Petty Enterprises No. 45 Dodge this weekend in favor of young Chad McCumbee who will try to get the team a spot in the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
After falling out the Top 35 and losing his guaranteed starting spot, Petty just missed qualifying his way into last Sunday's Goody's Cool Orange 500 at Martinsville.
So PE will look to McCumbee in Texas and hope for a better turn of events in the Lone Star State.
“Chad McCumbee is going to step into the No. 45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge this weekend at Texas," Petty announced. "Texas is a good track for him. He had a strong run going in the truck race there last year. At Pocono, he did a great job filling in for me when I went into the booth."
McCumbee, who has been running the Craftsman Truck Series this year, did jump into the Petty ride last summer for six races while Kyle fulfilled his TNT broadcasting duties.
The young driver has impressed many in the NASCAR garage and looks to be the future driver being groomed for PE.
"Everyone at Petty Enterprises believes in Chad and his abilities," Petty said. "Texas gives us a chance to get another good look at Chad without throwing him to the wolves. He should be relaxed because he knows he can get the job done there.”
McCumbee is currently 13th in the Craftsman Truck Series point standings. He has had a strong start to 2008, finishing seventh in the season opener at Daytona and securing a fifth-place finish in Atlanta.
The 23-year-old driver won an ARCA event last June at Pocono Raceway on the same weekend that he made his Sprint Cup Series debut in the No. 45 Petty Enterprises Dodge.
In the Truck race at Texas Motor Speedway last fall, McCumbee started second and led four laps but finished 13th after an accident forced him out of the race.
“I feel comfortable around the No. 45 team," McCumbee said. "(Crew chief) Billy Wilburn and I work well together. We had a great race last year at Pocono. I’m hoping for more of the same this weekend. Kyle is going to be there, giving me advice and pointers. That means a lot to me. I’ve learned a lot from him already.”
“I’m anxious to do my part to help this team. We’re planning on going to Kentucky Speedway on Wednesday for a test. Just to help me get used to the new car. The two races last year were in the old car, so there will be a little bit of an adjustment period there. I don’t have a lot of experience in the old car either, so maybe that will be a positive.”