Richard Petty’s blue and red No. 43 back at Kansas
The iconic No. 43 car and it’s unmistakable blue-and-red paint
scheme is making its return to NASCAR this weekend in Kansas.
The modern version of the car made famous by ”The King,” Hall
of Famer Richard Petty, will start Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at the
Kansas Speedway with A.J. Allmendinger behind the wheel.
The move is part of a renewed push into the sport by Petty’s
longtime sponsor, STP, which is also sponsoring Sunday’s 400-mile
”I wake up every day and I feel very fortunate to be able to
get in the 43 and have such a huge fan base when it comes to the
number and the history of NASCAR,” Allmendinger said. ”To now
having the paint scheme that – especially all the old-school fans –
looked at and loved as they grew up and watched ‘The King.’ For me,
I feel very fortunate to be a part of (it).”
Allmendinger is hoping his Petty Blue and Day-Glo Red machine
can run like the one he had last week. Allmendinger finished fifth
at Charlotte, one spot ahead of Richard Petty Motorsports teammate
”Every weekend we want to come here and win, and that’s our
ultimate goal. But you’ve got to be a contender first. You’ve got
to show up every weekend and be a team that puts yourself in that
position,” Allmendinger said. ”The best way you can do that is be
there every weekend and be a top-10 team and I think that when
we’re at our best we can be as good as any other team out
KANSAS GROWING ON GORDON: Jeff Gordon has fond memories of the
early days of Kansas Speedway after winning the first two Cup races
here in 2001 and 2002, and he believes the track is getting better
”I loved this track from the beginning, obviously, but like all
tracks do over time as they settle in, you get some different
characteristics that come into play.”
As Kansas Speedway has aged, Gordon said it has become a place
where fans can see a good deal of side-by-side racing.
”The way it wears the tires, the grip level just makes for
multiple grooves, he said. ”We already saw yesterday in practice:
cars up against the wall, cars on the bottom, cars in the middle.
That is going to make for a great race tomorrow.”
Though Gordon has run well at Kansas in recent years and
finished fifth in 2010, he qualified just 22nd for Sunday’s
PRELUDE TO THE DREAM: The seventh annual Prelude to the Dream
charity race, an event organized by Tony Stewart at the Eldora
Speedway he owns in Rossburg, Ohio, is set for Wednesday.
The concept is to bring drivers from various series to the dirt
track and pair them up in teams in late model cars. The stars in
this year’s lineup will include Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch
and IndyCar driver Tony Kanaan.
Stewart said the event has raised roughly $3 million for charity
in six years, and teams now build special cars for the race instead
of borrowing someone else’s.
”It’s a really neat opportunity for us to go have a good time,
race with each other, have fun for an evening and raise a lot of
money for charity,” Stewart said.
WAIL TO THE REDSKINS: Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s winless streak
reached 105 races in agonizing fashion last week when he ran out of
gas with the finish line in sight in Charlotte. Many of his
die-hard fans took the loss hard, with some of them expressing
their emotions on YouTube afterward.
Earnhardt said Friday that he can understand the passion of his
supporters because he feels the same way about his beloved
”That’s the way I take a Redskins loss. I take a Redskins
season the same way,” Earnhardt said. ”I can definitely
Earnhardt’s last win came in 2008, and the Redskins haven’t had
much luck since then either, going just 18-30 over the past three
LUG NUTS: Clint Bowyer hails from Emporia, Kansas, and Jamie
McMurray and Cup points leader Carl Edwards are from bordering
Missouri, so there’s some extra motivation for those drivers to
pick up a win on the cookie cutter just west of downtown Kansas
City. ”This is the most excited I have ever been to run this race
in my Cup career,” Edwards said. Bowyer got a head start on
Saturday, winning the Trucks series race. … After grabbing the
pole last week, Brad Keselowski had to settle for the 25th spot in
Kansas. But his Penske teammate, Kurt Busch, recovered from a
practice spin and took the top spot for Sunday’s race. … The
Kansas Speedway is about to get some company. Livestrong Sporting
Park Stadium, the new home of Major League soccer club Sporting KC,
is slated to open Thursday. Workers were busy over the weekend
putting finishing touches on the complex, which sits across the
street from the track.