Owner: Richard Petty
• Team: Petty Enterprises
• Crew Chief: Billy Wilburn
Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images
Final Points Standing
After First 26 Races
Lead Lap Finishes
2007 Spin The rebuilding of Petty Enterprises has fallen on the shoulders of Kyle Petty. He persuaded Bobby Labonte, Robbie Loomis and Todd Parrott to join the fold following the 2005 season in an attempt to remake PE into a competitive unit. And while Parrott may be gone, the personnel came together to signal another season of potential in terms of progress.
Kyle still seems to have the fire it takes to drive the car hard. While this team and the strides it has made should not be confused with a Chase-caliber team, it does have the capabilities to notch a few top 10s along the way.
A 10th at Martinsville and an 11th at Texas in the latter part of the '06 campaign show that there is hope in '07. The team's decision to use Evernham powerplants following the '04 season has been a step in the right direction. The trick now is mastering the engineering nuances of the racecars to match the horsepower.
The Car of Tomorrow will most likely hurt this bunch. While we don't see Petty the Driver having problems making the transition, the R&D required to get out of the gate fast with the new chassis will give Petty the Organization fits. It just does not appear the company will be able to match the big boys in terms of resources and capital. Until that changes, all the personnel moves in the world won't elevate it into elite status.
Being in the top 35 of Owner's Points was huge for the 45 team. The fact that it is guaranteed starts in the first five races should ensure that Petty will finish ahead of all the start-up Toyota teams, as well as others who sit outside the top 35.
Look for a few top 10s sprinkled in throughout the year, maxing out at four or five. There will be more competition this season than anytime in the past.
2006 Recap Petty Enterprises remains in rebuilding mode.
After a slow start to the season, Kyle Petty notched his finest effort of the year at Atlanta. Starting 32nd, he drove through the field to come home eighth. Teammate Bobby Labonte appeared to have the car to beat that day, sprinting into the lead until his engine gave out.
The following weekend at Bristol the PE machines ran fifth and 18th. The offseason changes seemed to be paying off and fans everywhere were hopeful that the organization would return to its competitive ways.
Unfortunately for Kyle, the 45 team limped its way through the majority of the season as a mid-packer.
His one crowning achievement was squeaking into the top 35 in Owner's Points. It's safe to say Kyle and Richard will sleep a bit more soundly this offseason knowing they are guaranteed a spot in the Daytona 500.
• The Good: The Atlanta spring race was the true highlight. Starting 32nd, Kyle Petty drove through the field to finish eighth. His teammate was strong, too, before the engine went sour.
• The Bad: Petty and Greg Biffle got together at Watkins Glen, resulting in Biffle wrecking and finishing 38th.
• The Ugly: Petty left Bristol in 25th in the points; three races later he was 33rd. Blame it on a faulty rear end, engine failure, and a crash. Those three races were super ugly.