Window World has combined the names of Petty and Andretti for the 93rd running of the Indy 500, bringing together seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty and Indy 500/NASCAR veteran John Andretti to campaign the #43 Window World Dallara-Honda in conjunction with the Dreyer & Reinbold team. It is the first entry for Window World into the Indy 500, having backed Andretti at this year's Daytona 500.
Richard, obviously you remember A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti both had a pretty good session in NASCAR driving stock cars down in your country, yet I wondered if you ever had the inclination to say, 'If you can come over and drive stock cars, why don't I jump into an open-wheel car and try Indianapolis?' Did you ever get to that point yourself?
My career never crossed over. You got to figure that we were in the stock cars, and we owned our own cars. We didn't have big sponsors and stuff. That was our business.
So I never ventured out to run Indy. I always kept up with what was going on, but as far as being able to go to the race and stuff, last year was the first time John invited me up. Last year was the first time I was ever here when they threw the flag at a 500. That was very impressive. Made it easier for him to talk about bringing me back in this year.
Richard, can you talk about how this deal came about? Did John approach you about it? Also, would you have done it for any driver? You seem to think a whole lot of John. He drove for you. Would you have done it for anybody else at Indy? Do you actually own the car or is this pretty much fully funded by the sponsors?
John, like he said, he was the second-longest driver we had in the 43 car. He had approached me sometime last year before the race, and we just never could put anything together. And, as you know, over last winter and this winter we done a bunch of changing at Petty Enterprises. It's now Richard Petty Motorsports. That let me look at some more things once we had partners in our business there.
So when John approached me on this deal, then we got Window World, a bunch of North Wilkesboro boys, that made it that much more icing on the cake, I guess. Then they wanted to paint it red and blue and put a big 43 on it. They just kept doing things and running at me. I finally said, 'Yeah, let's just give it a try and see.'
From that standpoint, we are vested in what's going on, OK? I'll put it that way. Because it's not just a publicity stunt like I told you. We're up here; we're serious with this deal. We've got a good car. We've got a good crew that's capable of doing what we need to do with it.
It's going to be up to John now. We just gonna turn him loose with it.
Richard, how many days in May will you spend at the Speedway? Are you planning to stay for the duration of the 500 or will you leave early to go to Charlotte for the 600?