It’s 2016 and almost time to head back to the racetrack. Following a generally successful and encouraging season for Jeremy Petty and the Jeremy Petty Inc. crew, there are still many unknowns for this year but still plenty of reason to be optimistic as yet another racing season approaches.
“In 2015, I was happy with just how much better we ran and how much we learned about the late models,” said Petty of last year’s schedule. “There were only a couple of races that we were not a threat to win. There were races we should have won and we got wrecked. I was very happy at just how much better all around our dirt late model program was last year in just our third year racing them.”
Petty ran a partial schedule in the National Championship Racing Association in 2015.
While there are still some unknowns for the 2016 season, there will still be many opportunities to see Petty and the JPI crew at the racetrack. Petty will be spotting for Ricky Sanders in the ARCA Racing Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway, in addition to spotting and serving as a crew chief in several as-of-yet undetermined races later in the season.
“I am trying really hard to put something together to run some short track asphalt races,” said Petty. “I really enjoy that and miss running them. I am also looking forward to running Belleville High Banks Speedway Fairgrounds in Belleville, KS. That is a date I always circle when the schedule comes out. I am also hoping to be able to run the ARCA race at Madison.”
While racetracks across the county tend to go quiet over the winter months, the offseason hasn’t been at all quiet for Petty. In fact, it was quite the opposite.
“My offseason was spent going to trade shows,” Petty said. “So far I have been to the SEMA Show, the Heartland Auto Racing Show, PRI, and the Annual Kansas Racer’s Auction, Trade Show & Swap Meet in Wichita, KS. I still have two more that I will go to before we head back to the track.
“We also spent this offseason trying to finish building the new race shop,” Petty added. “We want it to be finished before next race season starts. Plus we have to take the cars all apart and check everything out then put them back together again, so the offseason is just as busy if not busier than race season is.”
Once the season gets going again, the real work begins. Preparation is a huge part of racing, and something that the fans and spectators don’t always get to see up close and personal. Just getting to the track is sometimes half the battle.
“Fans need to know how much work it is away from the track just to go to the track every week,” Petty pointed out. “You just don't leave the car in the trailer then roll it back out at the race track. It’s 20 to 30 hours in the shop every week of preparation and also the rising cost of racing in general. It costs more to race now than it ever has. It’s getting harder and harder to do.”
Regardless, as a new year begins, the focus is on the future and the potential that 2016 holds for JPI. Keep an eye on www.jeremypetty.com for all the latest or follow JPI on Twitter and Instagram or like us on Facebook!