Gillett says any agreement with Petty Enterprises is in Richard Petty's hands

Updated: November 11, 2007

Gary A. Vasquez/US Presswire

Richard Petty has to decide whether he wants to do some kind of deal with Gillett Evernham Motorsports.

Petty And Gillett

The ball is in the court of Richard Petty as to whether there is a merger/partnership between Petty Enterprises and Gillett Evernham Motorsports.

George Gillett, the majority owner of GEM, said he hoped to maintain at least a commercial relationship with the Pettys regarding their exchange of engines and chassis.

"Whether it goes further, that's up to Richard," Gillett said.

Petty announced this past week that he is moving Petty Enterprises from Level Cross, N.C., into the Robert Yates Racing shop in Mooresville, N.C. He said the move is being made independent of talks with any organization wishing to partner with his.

Gillett has expressed an interest in combining the two companies in a manner that would allow Petty Enterprises to maintain an identity. He would not say whether talks were ongoing, but did acknowledge a recent trip to the Victory Junction Gang Camp that the Pettys run for chronically ill children.

"I don't know if I've cried as an adult as much as I did there," Gillett said.

On The Pole, Out Of The Race

Pole-sitter Carl Edwards led the first 78 laps and 87 overall, but engine problems left him with a 42nd-place finish.

"I was out there just having a blast," Edwards said. "I could go just about as fast as I wanted, so you don't get that very often. It's too bad it blew up."

Hornish Satisfied With First Taste of Cup

Shortly after his Cup debut, Sam Hornish Jr. got an unexpected visit in the garage area from Brian Vickers.

Vickers congratulated him on his run and wished him well in his new racing endeavor.

It was the type of positive feedback a former Indianapolis 500 winner could use after completing his first Nextel Cup race. Hornish finished 30th in Sunday's race at Phoenix, two laps off the lead.

"I had a lot of fun out there," said Hornish, who on Saturday made official his move to full-time Cup racing next season in Roger Penske's third car. "It was a long day, for sure, but I was pretty happy with the car. The Mobil 1 Dodge ran well all day -- the driver's obviously lacking a little bit right now, still learning as much as I can.

"I am just glad I didn't take anyone out or hit anything. We'll go to Miami with one race under my belt and a little bit less of a rookie, I guess."

Hornish entered the race determined to finish it and, most importantly, to stay out of trouble.

"I had two main goals today: (A) was to not get into an accident with Jimmie [Johnson] or Jeff [Gordon] and (B) was not get into an accident with [Penske teammates] Kurt [Busch] or Ryan [Newman]. I should say they both were my No. 1 concern. Either way, I was going to be in a lot of trouble if I had any trouble with any of the four of those guys, so I did my best to not get in the way. It was important for me to get as many laps as we could. I wanted to be able to bring it home, and we got the maximum for what we could get."

More Open-Wheel Drivers Learning

French Canadian and former open-wheel racer Patrick Carpentier, making his first Cup start on an oval track, finished 33rd in the No. 10 Dodge.

"It's so hard," Carpentier said. "You have to be so smooth that it's almost impossible. The car just slides.

"Every time we put on new tires, I thought, 'Yeah, this is good. I got it now.' Then 10 laps later, I was back battling the car again."

Former Formula One champion Jacques Villeneuve wasn't running at the end. He crashed on Lap 138 after colliding with Kasey Kahne.

"I knew someone was inside me, so I was paying attention to that," said Villeneuve, who finished 41st. "Just when I was told someone was outside me [Kahne], I got in the wall. It's too bad."


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Junior's Lack Of Achievement


Sunday was another miserable day for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who finished last and suffered his ninth DNF when he spun and crashed on Lap 119.

Earnhardt was high on the track exiting Turn 2 before the car fishtailed. The No. 8 Chevy then slid into the inside wall.

"I just lost it off of 2," Earnhardt said. "I don't know. We were struggling handlingwise, but gaining on it. Then the car came around."

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Marlin Settles With Ginn


Veteran Nextel Cup driver Sterling Marlin said he has settled his legal issues with his former team owner, Bobby Ginn.

Marlin and former Ginn teammate, Joe Nemechek, along with two crew chiefs, sued Ginn for breach of contract after they were cut from the team in July.

"He did what he said he was going to do," Marlin said Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway. "We got it straightened out this week. We're square."

Marlin would not offer specifics but said he was satisfied with the result. He said he has not spoken to Ginn since July.

"I let the lawyers handle it, and it all got taken care of," Marlin said.

As for next year, Marlin said he expects to run about 10 races with James Finch. He will run the Daytona 500 and the races at Talladega Superspeedway.

"But from there on out, I don't know," Marlin said.

Kahne Was Unable

Kasey Kahne had a race he would like to forget. After banging sheet metal with Jacques Villeneuve, Kahne slammed into the outside wall nine laps later, ending his day.

"I drove like an idiot all day and finally crashed," Kahne said. "I think I hit plenty of cars and plenty of walls. Our car was not very good, but that last thing was driver error. There's only one race left, so I'm happy about that."