Petty Comments on COT and other issues Tuesday evening NASCAR confirmed that the “Car of Tomorrow” will be utilized in all 36 points races and both exhibition races. The announcement comes in midst of a busy time for our sport. The recent announcement comes after Dale Earnhardt Jr. recently announced his departure from DEI and that another crew chief has been suspended for a rules violation.
Comments from Kyle Petty, driver #45 Wells Fargo/Marathon/Tire Kingdom Dodge on the recent announcements in the sport:
Do you think it’s good that NASCAR runs the COT full-time in 2008?
“I think we should run the COT the second-half of 2007. These are smart people in the NASCAR garage. There are smart crew members, smart crew chiefs and smart drivers. They can handle the COT. They can make this work. It’s a great move by NASCAR. I think we’ve gotten into some headaches with it in the races that we have run, but we need to race it more and more. We need to learn it and get into a rhythm. This will obviously do that in 2008. You have to applaud NASCAR for making this move. I’m all for running this car as soon as possible every week.
Comments on Dale Earnhardt Jr.?
“We don’t have free agency in NASCAR. You can’t be a free agent if you are an independent contractor. I have a contract with Petty Enterprises for three years, five years, 10 years and so on. But, when it runs out I can go and get another job. The way I look at it, Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a contract with DEI and it ran out. He just goes and drives for someone else now. Free agency comes when you are represented through the union and through the process of the way things work. For me, it’s a case that someone had their time run out and they are moving on to do something else.
Will it affect other drivers?
“That’s a tough question. You don’t know where other contracts are with other drivers. You can’t say for certain if an organization will buy drivers out of their contracts to leave for get Dale Jr, but I’m sure there are some out there that would do that. There are other teams that can’t get their drivers out of their contracts and they will miss the opportunity.
“There are going to be guys trying to make things happen for themselves. I pay ‘Driver X’ four million to sit at home and do nothing and I’m paying Dale Jr. 10 million to drive my car. You may get options like that. The majority of drivers will probably stay straight up and Dale Jr. probably knows half-way the group he wants to go. It will shake out and not affect 90% of the garage area.
Is it good for Hendrick to be winning all COT races?
“There is nothing with domination. I think the sport has been built on domination. You go back to Petty Enterprises with Richard and then to Darrell Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon. There is nothing wrong with that. You have to have something to shoot at. It just happens in the past you shot at single-car teams. Today you are shooting at multi-car teams.
What are your thoughts on NASCAR penalties in 2007?
“There has always been a severity of penalties when it comes to safety. You look at what happened at Daytona and the penalties fit the crime. That has to do with safety and the integrity of the sport. You can’t mess with fuel, tires, roof flaps or things like that. Those are safety issues. It has always been that way.
“I look at what happened to Tony Eury Jr. and DEI. I was led to believe that penalties were going to be severe if you messed with the wing or the splitter. Saying that, this penalty might be too severe. I don’t think that it was manufactured that way by the teams. I don’t think it was made right. But, if I see that someone did something to the spoiler, then yea, they need to sit down the rest of the year. That’s the way it is. That wasn’t the case with DEI. In that case, the penalties are almost worse because now you have someone giving you bad stuff.