RPM brings back history with number change for Brian Scott

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Richard Petty Motorsports is going back to the past with its car number for Brian Scott this season.

Scott will drive the No. 44 Sprint Cup car in place of the No. 9 the organization has run since 2009. Scott will be a teammate to Aric Almirola, who drives the No. 43 car.

The No. 44 is one of six numbers in the 40s that have been used by the Pettys through the years. Richard Petty’s brother, Maurice, used the No. 44 in select races in the 1960s and Richard Petty’s son, Kyle, ran the number from 1997-2000. Petty Enterprises continued to use that number with other drivers from 2001-03.

“After the 2015 season, we had an opportunity to make some changes and get the No. 44 back,’’ Richard Petty said in a statement from the team. “ We felt that it was good timing. We really wanted to get that number back in the Petty family where it really belongs.

“Brian is coming on board, and he really hasn’t had a number in the Sprint Cup Series. Everything has just come together to really bring back a Petty tradition.

“For us, the numbers are more than just a number you could say. They really represent our family history, our legacy and everyone who has worked for us or raced for us. We take a lot of pride in that and are glad to have the 44 back home.”

Said Kyle Petty in a statement from the team: “It’s good to see the 44 number back where it belongs. I grew up knowing that my uncle Maurice raced the 41, my grandfather raced the 42 and my father raced the 43. I would go on to race the 44 and Adam eventually drove the 45.  With Pete Hamilton driving the 40 at one time for PE, to me, those numbers were always ‘Petty’ numbers. Looking forward to seeing Brian Scott carrying on our tradition.”

Added Scott in a statement about his new number: “I think it’s special to be with an organization with such history and then to be able to put your name in their history. Richard Petty’s history and recognition around NASCAR is his number. To go back to what everyone considers to be Petty history with the 44, I think it’s really special to be the driver that gets to do that.”

Here’s a look at the Petty history with car Nos. 40-45:

Car No. 40

Pete Hamilton raced this number for Petty Enterprises during the 1970 season and won three races, including the Daytona 500.

“We’ve had a lot of other drivers race for Petty Enterprises and Richard Petty Motorsports, but when Maurice wanted to be the crew chief for the Superbird in 1970, we hired Pete Hamilton who was a big star racing up in New England,’’ Richard Petty said. “We really felt that car was a big part of the Petty stable, so we used the number 40. Pete and (Maurice) won the 500 and swept the races at Talladega that year. That built the legacy of the number 40 with the family.

Car No. 41

Lee, Richard and Maurice Petty each used this number in 1962 and ’64. Richard Petty and Jim Paschal, driving for Petty  Enterprises, each won with this car number.

Car No. 42

CHARLOTTE, NC - MAY 24: The #42 Plymouth belonging to NASCAR Hall of Fame member Lee Petty is displayed, during the Hall of Honor unveiling at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on May 24, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jason Smith/ Getty Images for NASCAR)
CHARLOTTE, NC – MAY 24: The #42 Plymouth belonging to NASCAR Hall of Fame member Lee Petty is displayed, during the Hall of Honor unveiling at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on May 24, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jason Smith/ Getty Images for NASCAR)

Lee Petty, who started Petty Enterprises, and once was NASCAR’s winningest driver, used this number when he won all three of his NASCAR titles. Kyle Petty also drove this number during his career. “To speak about us changing our car number, you first have to go back to the beginning with my Dad (Lee),’’ Richard Petty said. “He started Petty Engineering and later Petty Enterprises, and he was there right when NASCAR all started. He put together a car, and the first race he entered he actually raced a car numbered 38. But, that was it. He then went and got his own car. He had to a put a number on it and saw the number 42 on a license plate, and that’s how it all started. It just went forward from there.’’

Car No. 43

Perhaps the most famous car number in NASCAR (or right there with the No. 3 with Dale Earnhardt). Richard Petty won all seven of his titles with the No. 43 and most of his 200 career wins. Since Petty’s retirement, Bobby Hamilton, John Andretti and Aric Almirola have each won driving the No. 43 car.

KANSAS CITY, KS - APRIL 20: A detail of the #43 STP Dodge which was driven by Richard Petty is seen during practice for the NASACAR Sprint Cup Series 400 at Kansas Speedway on April 20, 2012 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
KANSAS CITY, KS – APRIL 20: A detail of the #43 STP Dodge which was driven by Richard Petty is seen during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 400 at Kansas Speedway on April 20, 2012 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

“After my brother (Maurice) and I got older, we wanted to race too,’’ Richard Petty said in a statement from the team. “We put a car together with Dale (Inman), and when it was time to go to the track, we needed a number. The car we had was one of Daddy’s old cars, so it was easy to just take the 4 off, and we raced under the number 2 for a few races. I think one race we just switched the numbers and raced with the number 24.

“When we got going into the 1959 season, it just made sense for me to go to the track with the 43 number with Daddy still racing the 42. That allowed me to have my own identity, and fate took it from there.’’

Car No. 44

Maurice Petty used the No. 44 in select races in the 1960s and Richard Petty’s son, Kyle, ran the number from 1997-2000. Other drivers who raced for the Pettys from 2001-03 also used that number, including Greg Biffle, Jerry Nadeau and Buckshot Jones. The No. 44 also was

9 Apr 1999: Kyle Petty #44 driving on the track during practice for the Food City 500 of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Squire /Allsport
9 Apr 1999: Kyle Petty #44 driving on the track during practice for the Food City 500 of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Squire /Allsport

Kyle Petty’s number when he made his stock car debut, winning an ARCA race in 1979 at Daytona International Speedway.

“Back then, it wasn’t just Daddy and I racing,’’ Richard Petty said. “Maurice was building the engines, but he did some racing too.  When it was time, we were using the 42 and 43, so he was one of the first to use the number 44 in the family. Later, he started using the 41, and then, that really became his family number that he used.’’

Car No. 45

Adam Petty raced this number from 1998-2000 and made his Sprint Cup debut in the No. 45.

8 Apr 2000: Adam Petty who drives for Team Sprint Chevrolet is in action during the Bell South Mobility 320 at the Nashville Speedway USA in Nashville, Tennessee. Mandatory Credit: Robert Laberge /Allsport
Adam Petty in action during the Bell South Mobility 320 at the Nashville Speedway USA in Nashville, Tennessee  on April 8, 2000. Mandatory Credit: Robert Laberge /Allsport

“When Adam came along, he saw that his great-grandfather raced the 42, I raced the 43 and so on,’’ Richard Petty said. “He saw the order, and he just started right out with the 45. That worked for him and Petty Enterprises, too. He won in the No. 45 at Charlotte in his first ARCA start. He then carried that number with him.  That’s the number that everyone thinks of when they think of Adam.’’

 

Long: No fans mutes Indy soundtrack, but Chase Briscoe still relishes win

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INDIANAPOLIS — Mimicking what his hero Tony Stewart twice did at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Chase Briscoe climbed the fence after winning Saturday’s Xfinity Series race on the road course.

But unlike Stewart, who looked out to a sea of fans bathing him in cheers, Briscoe saw only empty gray bleachers and heard only the shouts of his crew members who joined him on the ascent.

The culmination of a historic doubleheader with the NTT IndyCar Series and the Xfinity Series also meant the end of a day — and a July 4 at that — unlike any other at the famed speedway.

No fans at NASCAR races have become common during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the sight — and lack of sound — at Indy was stark.

Sunday’s Cup race will not have fans. It also will not have seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, who announced Friday he and his wife have contracted the coronavirus.

Johnson says he is asymptomatic but admits he has more questions than answers about how he and his wife got the virus and when he’ll be able to return to racing. Sunday was to have been his final Cup start in a race he’s won four times.

Johnson will be missed. So will be the fans. Just as they were Saturday.

The fans provide a soundtrack to any event, even a race where engine noise dominates. There was no roar from the crowd when the command to start engines was made. No cheers for the winner when he emerged from his car in victory lane. No oohs and ahhs when the top four cars in the Xfinity race sailed down the long front straightaway into a sharp right-hand turn with two laps left, dueling for the win.

The only sound came from the engines echoing off the canyon of empty seats.

Even in the smallest settings, interactions were missed. When Scott Dixon won the IndyCar race earlier in the day, his crew, unable to be in victory lane because of protocols, stood on a stairwell 20 feet above him and clapped.

When Briscoe won, there was no family to greet him. Two years ago his father had tears seeing Briscoe drive at Indy. One could only imagine what his reaction would have been Saturday.

My family is probably crying at home,” said Briscoe, an Indiana native. “I was thinking about that the last couple of laps. That is tough. I wish they could have been here to experience it. It is something that may not ever happen again. It is definitely bittersweet to win without them here.”

If he wins again at Indy, good chance it could be with Stewart-Haas Racing. Greg Zipadelli, SHR’s competition director, served as Briscoe’s interim crew chief because Richard Boswell was serving the final race of a four-race suspension and voiced his support for Briscoe.

“I think he is still young and has a lot to learn, but I am very, very impressed with how quick he is learning how to race these stock cars,” Zipadelli said. “I hope he is a part of Stewart-Haas for a long period of time.”

What makes Briscoe — only the second driver to win five of the first 13 races of a season in the Xfinity Series — stand out?

“He is able to dig deep,” Zipadelli said. “There are some people that when it is time to close, I see that a lot in him, he finds a little bit extra. He has a lot of confidence but isn’t getting cocky, which I love. Most of all he is just a good race car driver.”

While IndyCar had run on this course, this was new for Xfinity Series. Briscoe had prepared since February for this race, spending time weekly on the Ford simulator driving the 14-turn, 2.439-mile course. The training came through as Briscoe battled AJ Allmendinger, Austin Cindric and Justin Haley for the lead late. 

Even though Haley finished second to Briscoe, he still enjoyed the afternoon.

“I have zero complaints about the Indy road course,” Haley said. “I thought it was an amazing day

“When the fans are back, I think it’s going to be better.”

Briscoe said he can’t wait for fans to be back at this track and elsewhere.

“They are the reason you celebrate and the last couple of times I didn’t really celebrate because without the fans I don’t get hyped up,” he said. “Here I was obviously excited. I wish there were fans here.”

Even so, Briscoe would still have a celebration.

A former dirt track racer, Briscoe planned to visit a dirt track Saturday night within an hour’s drive of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“My little sister has decided she wants to try to drive a race car,” Briscoe said. “At the end of the night she is going to drive a mini-sprint around there for 20 or 30 laps. I am going to head there and see a lot of my friends I don’t get to see anymore and hang out with my dad and family.”

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Justin Allgaier ready for starring role as Jimmie Johnson’s understudy

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If Sunday’s Brickyard 400 was a Broadway play, Justin Allgaier would be the understudy stepping in to fill in for the star, namely, Jimmie Johnson.

And while it may be looked at as only a fill-in role for Allgaier driving Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet due to Johnson having tested positive Friday for COVID-19, a strong run in Sunday’s race (4 p.m. ET on NBC and the NBC Sports App) could put Allgaier’s name on the list of potential replacements for Johnson, who is retiring at the end of this season.

“I would say the list for the 48 car of potential drivers is extremely long and I don’t know where I fit on that list,” Allgaier said after finishing sixth in Saturday’s Xfinity race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “For me, 100% is what I can give. I think it’s gonna be important to go out there and just do what I can do.

“And if an opportunity were to come out of that and to go somewhere, obviously I would love for that opportunity. But on the other side of that point, I have a great relationship with my team at JR Motorsports. … That’s gonna be the most important part is, just going it 100% (Sunday) and whatever happens after that happens.”

Johnson filling in for Johnson isn’t exactly a surprise. Allgaier has been Johnson’s designated backup since NASCAR resumed racing in May following a nearly three-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We have had our own basically secondary line-up and that includes anyone from driver to crew chief all the way through the crew members that travel to the race track,” Johnson’s crew chief, Cliff Daniels, said. “There really was no extra thought that we had to put into it. This lineup was already set.

“We had all the plans in place just out of the abundance of caution that we wanted to take. And again, even before going back racing in Darlington, this has been in place. There were no extra decisions to be made. Justin has been on stand-by this whole time and has been aware that this could happen.”

For now, Allgaier is slated to replace Johnson for Sunday’s Brickyard 400. There’s also the possibility he could stay in the No. 48 for next weekend’s race at Kentucky.

Johnson must have two negative COVID-19 tests in no less than a 24-hour period and also be given clearance by his doctor before he can return behind the wheel.

By missing the Brickyard 400, which he’s won four times, Johnson also snaps a streak of 663 consecutive starts in the Cup Series dating back to his rookie campaign in 2002. It’s the longest streak of any active driver in the Cup Series.

“I didn’t expect this opportunity would come to fruition,” Allgaier said. “I couldn’t ask for a better team, the 48 team, I’ve worked with a lot of guys on that team closely. I’m excited in one aspect, but the other part of this is we’re thinking about Jimmie and his whole family. Their safety is of utmost importance.

“No matter what happens tomorrow, we want to see Jimmie get healthy and (Johnson’s wife) Chandra get healthy.  … I texted Jimmie last night and said I want to see him get healthy quick so he can get back because I want to see him back in victory lane a lot more before the end of the season.”

While Allgaier is known most for his 319 Xfinity Series starts, 11 wins and 182 top-10 finishes, the 34-year-old native of Riverton, Illinois, also has 76 starts in the Cup Series on his resume, with a career-best finish of eighth at Bristol in spring 2015.

Given his prior Cup experience, as well as working hand-in-hand with Hendrick Motorsports in various capacities such as testing over the years – team owner Rick Hendrick is also a part-owner of JR Motorsports – Allgaier is both comfortable as well as somewhat nervous of becoming the first driver to ever fill in for Johnson during Johnson’s Cup career.

“That really resonates with me as a driver when you’re already on pins and needles when you’re filling in for somebody else,” Allgaier said. “You want to make sure you’re doing everything right and give them the best finish that you can give them.

“When you’re able to do that and be comfortable, that makes a big difference, and I think that’s what’s been the best part about all of this for me.”

Allgaier considers racing in Johnson’s shoes one of the most humbling experiences of his career.

“I can’t even begin to describe it to you, to be honest with you,” Allgaier said. “The cars at HMS, any of the four cars, it’s definitely an honor to drive and to be part of that program.

“The 48, being the iconic number it is, Jimmie winning seven championships and here (at Indianapolis) four times, the guy Jimmie is and the respect he has in the sport, you top that off with the fact he’s the only driver to drive the 48 since he started his career there.”

While Johnson and Hendrick aren’t putting any undue pressure on Allgaier, he understands the gravity of the position he’s been placed in.

“If you have the opportunity to drive for Mr. Hendrick, you take it, no questions asked and try to run with that ball,” Allgaier said.

But at the same time, Allgaier isn’t going to try and drive over his head or beyond his ability just because he has such a great opportunity.

“Opportunity or not does not supersede to go out there and do the job at hand,” Allgaier said. “100% is what I have to offer. That’s what I’m going to give them tomorrow.

“101 or 110 (percent) or trying to be a hero, there’s no place for that. This isn’t what this role is about. My plan is to go out and give the 48 car the best opportunity to run at its max potential.

“In my mind, I believe that max potential is to go out and win the race tomorrow. So I’ve gotta do a really good job. … I need to make sure that I don’t put myself in bad positions, I don’t do things Jimmie wouldn’t do and being somebody different in the car, everybody in the field is going to know that.

“There are going to be some that respect that and others who are probably going to take advantage of that. You just have to know who you’re racing against and put yourself in the best position you can.

“I just have to make sure when the checkered flag falls tomorrow, I’ve given it 100% and whatever the results are, that’s just what they’re going to be.”

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Cup start time at Indianapolis: TV, stream, lineup, forecast and more for Sunday

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The Cup Series looks to start a new tradition by racing on the Fourth of July weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Kevin Harvick looks to continue his strong run this season and win at this historic track for the third time in his career and second year in a row.

The Cup race is scheduled to start at 4:24 p.m. ET (Watch on NBC or the NBC Sports app).

Denny Hamlin, who beat Harvick a day after Harvick beat him at Pocono, will look to win at the Brickyard for the first time after coming close before.

Justin Allgaier drives the No. 48 car today after Jimmie Johnson tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday.

Here is the Cup start time at Indianapolis and other info for Sunday’s race.

(All times are Eastern)

START: Scott Borchetta, Big Machine Records President & CEO, will give the command to start engines at 4:13 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 4:24 p.m.

PRERACE: Garage access health screening begins at 8 a.m. (teams are assigned specific times). Engine prime and final adjustments at 1:30 p.m. Drivers report to their cars at 3:50 p.m. The invocation will be given at 4:05 p.m by Pastor Mark Schuitema of College Park Church in Indianapolis. The national anthem will be performed at 4:06 p.m. by Valory Music Company recording artist Abbey Cone. Two A-10 Warthogs from the 122nd Fighter Wing of the Indiana Air National Guard in Fort Wayne, Indiana, will perform the flyover.

DISTANCE: The race is 160 laps (400 miles) around the 2.5-mile speedway.

COMPETITION CAUTION: Lap 12.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 50. Stage 2 ends on Lap 100.

TV/RADIO: NBC will televise the race. Coverage begins at 3 p.m. with the NASCAR America Pre-Race Show on NBCSN. Countdown to Green follows at 3:30 p.m. on NBCSN before coverage moves to NBC for the race. Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network’s coverage will begin at 3 p.m. and also can be heard at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the broadcast.

LIVE STREAM: You can watch the race on NBCSports.com or on the NBC Sports app.

FORECAST: The wunderground.com forecast calls for partly cloudy conditions with a high of 91 degrees and a 24% chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST RACE: Denny Hamlin won at Pocono. Kevin Harvick placed second. Erik Jones was third.

LAST RACE AT INDIANAPOLIS: Kevin Harvick won last September’s race. Joey Logano was second. Bubba Wallace placed third.

TO THE REAR: Justin Allgaier (replaces Jimmie Johnson in the No. 48)

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the starting lineup.

Catch up on NBC Sports’ coverage:

Jimmie Johnson uncertain how he got COVID-19

Jimmie Johnson tests positive for COVID-19

First 15 Cup races have been “eye-opening” for Christopher Bell

Indy says no need to alter barrier Brad Keselowski struck in 2019 race

Friday 5: Crew chief strategies will be key at Indianapolis 

Face masks among precautions for Bristol All-Star Race

Indy provides a treasure trove of memories for Cup drivers 

Can anybody catch Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick?

 

 

Results, standings after Indianapolis Xfinity race

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After being pushed out of the lead, Chase Briscoe roared right back in the closing laps to win Saturday’s inaugural NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

It’s Briscoe’s fifth win of the season. He predicted in the preseason that he would win eight races in 2020. He’s now just three wins away from that goal.

Justin Haley finished second, followed by Noah Gragson, AJ Allmendinger and Austin Cindric.

Click here for results

Ranked No. 1, Briscoe opened his lead on Noah Gragson to 21 points in the driver standings and a 55-point edge over third-ranked Ross Chastain.

Updated Xfinity driver points after Indy

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