NASCAR

Kvapil question mark; Petty seeks sponsors

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Larry McReynolds

Larry McReynolds has more than 30 years of NASCAR experience as a mechanic, Daytona 500-winning crew chief and broadcaster. He earned 23 Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief, including two victories in the prestigious Daytona 500, as well as a pair of non-points victories in the annual all-star race. Follow him on Twitter.

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Billie from Tulsa, Okla.: I know Travis Kvapil didn't win any Cup races, but he seems like a good driver.Penske has decided not to run his car so does he have any offers? Larry McReynolds: I know Travis Kvapil can drive a race car by virtue of working with him for almost a year in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. His performance in the Nextel Cup Series was not from a lack of equipment because Penske would give the No. 77 the same equipment that he was giving the No. 12 and the No. 2. But, obviously, something over there with that race team was not clicking with Kvapil. His crew chief, Shane Wilson, is a great guy and a very good crew chief, but as a Nextel Cup rookie, a veteran crew chief may have given him more guidance. Wilson was only in his second year as a Cup crew chief. Kyle Busch's crew chief, Alan Gustafson, was in his first year so we have seen rookie crew chiefs have success, but without having run any Busch races and basically coming straight from Trucks to Cup, Kvapil could have used a crew chief that could give him a little more information than Wilson was able to give him.

Petty nearly ready for '06

Terry from Schenectady, N.Y.: I am a Kyle Petty fan, and I am really concerned about him running a full 2006 season. Last I knew, he had not secured a full year's worth of backing. Have you heard any updates?
Speed Mail Larry
Larry McReynolds: I know they're working diligently. I talked to Petty recently, and he did not seem concerned about coming up with a full program to support the No. 45 team. I know he was working diligently on some creative sponsorship with several companies. More and more Nextel Cup teams have to be creative because of the resources it takes to run one of these cars. Petty was also trying to do some creative tie-in with the Victory Junction Gang Camp. If he had any questions about solid sponsorship for the No. 45 car, he may not have done a deal with Bobby Labonte. At one point several months ago, I heard that they may only be a one-car team, and Petty would possibly drive the No. 43 car. I will be totally surprised if the No. 43 and the No. 45 are not fully sponsored for the full season, but it's my understanding that as of today it's not a done deal yet.


FOX race analyst Larry McReynolds has more than 25 years of NASCAR experience as a mechanic, crew chief and broadcaster. He and his fellow Crew Chief Club members take you behind the wall at www.crewchiefclub.com.

"How to Become a Winning Crew Chief" is on bookstore shelves, or you may order your own autographed copy from www.DWStore.com.

Tagged: Kyle Petty

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