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Thursday, March 6, 2008

KYLE PETTY TO RIDE MOTORCYCLE TO FIRST FOUR RACES OF THE SEASON

Editor's Note: The following is the first of a three-part series chronicling Kyle Petty as he rides a motorcycle to the first four races of the season, with two scheduled trips to Phoenix in between. Part 1 details his trip from Daytona to Fontana with good friend Ken Schrader.
Kyle Petty always has a lot on his plate, and even more on his mind.
But for his latest "tickler project" -- a proposed book detailing a motorcycle trip between every track on the Sprint Cup circuit -- Petty's already put a huge dent in the thousands of miles that such a project would involve.
Like, how about a shot at more than 7,000 miles in just three weeks?
"... it wasn't like we'd planned ahead ... we'd just ride ... we went until it got cold or we got tired."
KYLE PETTY
"This is the deal," Petty said last week from Fontana, Calif. "What I want to do is -- and I've said this 10 million times -- but I want to ride [a motorcycle] to every racetrack. Just ride as much as I could."
The current odyssey began when Petty and fellow NASCAR veteran Ken Schrader rode from Daytona International Speedway, cross-country to Fontana. Despite the miserable weather NASCAR encountered at the Auto Club Speedway, less than one day of their four on the road west was blotted by rain.
"It's been good -- I enjoyed it," Petty said about 20 hours after arriving in California. "It's the first time I've ridden a Harley in a while, because I've been riding Victory motorcycles, but Kenny and I had a good trip."
California was a rough weekend on the racing side, for both men. When qualifying was rained out, Schrader's No. 49 BAM Racing Dodge team was a victim of the rule book's qualifying parameters and he was a non-starter. But he hung out and was still in Fontana on Sunday.
Petty had mechanical issues in the Auto Club 500 and ended up finishing 38th. So for him, hitting the road again was a salve for those bruised feelings, with neither the book, nor his every waking minute consumed with racing.
"What I've really been thinking about doing is basically riding to the racetrack and just writing down stuff -- just halfway writing a book, you know what I mean?" Petty said. "To be honest with you, I'm halfway writing a book about just riding a motorcycle to the racetrack and meeting race fans and riding with guys like Kenny Schrader.
"I'm not writing about anything that goes on around the racetrack, because that's not my forte -- it's not what I do. I just want to do like a journal of what I experience."
Before the season began Petty, the owner/driver of Petty Enterprises' No. 45 Dodge, had a fund-raising commitment for the Victory Junction Gang Camp for chronically and critically ill children that he and wife, Pattie, operate in Randleman, N.C.
That kept him from riding his bone-stock, 500-miles-from-new Harley-Davidson Classic to Daytona Beach for Speedweeks.
But from there, a sizeable chunk of the book's first piece is in progress for Petty and his sidekick for at least part of that first section, fellow motorcycle aficionado Schrader. (Continued) CHECK OUT THE REST OF THE STORY AT WWW.NASCAR.COM.

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