Friday, April 3, 2009

The King's new conquest

It’s the perfect blend between NASCAR’s greatest name with open-wheel’s biggest event.

The Associated Press is reporting that Richard Petty will field a car for John Andretti at next month’s Indianapolis 500. While Andretti has raced at Indianapolis before, this will be Petty’s first splash into Indy cars as an owner or driver.

This is great news for IRL, which has struggled in recent years to draw more than 33 cars for qualifying, and the recent economic problems certainly foreshadow more problems at the historic track. That’s what makes this announcement so surprising. Petty’s finances have been so putrid, he partnered with Gillett Motorsports in the offseason just to remain viable. But don’t let that partnership fool you: It’s Gillett’s money with Petty’s name.

But this is a great opportunity for more cross-breeding between the two sports. Andretti, Robby Gordon and Tony Stewart often have competed in both the Indy 500 and Cok 600 in the same day, making for an exciting and tiring feat. While this won’t have the same sizzle of a Indy-NASCAR doubleheader, it would be nice to see the King in Indy’s victory lane.

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