Younger Petty feels prepared to have season worthy of name

February 14, 1991|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Evening Sun Staff

After 12 years, Kyle Petty thinks he has finally positioned himself to have a season like Richard Petty used to have.

"With this team, I expect to win races and position myself to win a championship," said Kyle, son of the seven-time Winston Cup champion. "We're capable of doing that and doing that consistently."

Kyle Petty won the first time he ever raced at Daytona International Speedway. It was a mixed blessing, as he drove his first car to an ARCA victory in one of the Daytona 500 preliminary races in 1979. It felt good to win, but the expectations for Richard Petty's son were immense.

"Did I think in 1979 that it would take 12 years to get to this point?" he repeated. "Would you? A lot of things I thought would happen after that day never happened. But I've learned to never say never.

"I didn't think I'd ever worry about points and the point standings, but last season it got to the point where I worried. When I looked at the standings last season and saw we were third in points, it was scary. It startled me to be that far up . . . We wound up 11th in the final standings because of three bad races at the end of the season, but we learned our wildest dreams could come true. That we could run consistently in the top five."

After 12 years, Kyle Petty finally begins a season believing his team belongs at the top.

This will be Petty's third season with SABCO Racing. The crew chief on his Mellow-Yellow/Peak Buick is one of the best, Gary Nelson, whose cars have won the Daytona 500 twice.

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