NASCAR WCUP: Petree Reminisces on No. 55's Last Win at Talladega
22 April 1999CHARLOTTE, N.C., - Ronald Reagan was president, America's favorite sit-com was "The Cosby Show," Bon Jovi's "Slippery When Wet" was the number one album, and Phil Parsons won his first and only NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. The year was 1988.
On May 1 of that year, Parsons' No. 55 Leo Jackson-owned Oldsmobile led the final 15 laps of the Winston 500 to nip Bobby Allison for the victory. While it was Parsons' first Winston Cup win, it also marked the first Winston Cup win for his crew chief - Andy Petree.
"We unloaded really strong," said Petree, who resurrected the No. 55 this year when Kenny Wallace and sponsor Square D joined Andy Petree Racing (APR) as teammates to third-year APR driver Ken Schrader. "We qualified third, ran strong all day and beat Bobby to win it.
"I was calling the shots. I remember Phil came by for the white flag with just a huge lead, and he was pulling everyone through the tri-oval - making his lead even bigger.
"Leo and I were standing side-by-side, and I said to Leo, 'Oh God, he's got too much of a lead. He's got too much of a lead!' Leo said, 'You're the crew chief - tell him!'
"But there was really nothing we could do except sit there and hope," continued Petree. "When Phil finally came by to win the race, I just couldn't believe it."
In 1999, Petree returns to Talladega with two cars - Wallace's No. 55 Square D Chevy and Schrader's No. 33 Skoal Chevy.
"As a crew chief, I've won at Talladega with Phil Parsons, Harry Gant and Dale Earnhardt," said Petree. "As an owner, I'd love to win a race this year at Talladega with either Schrader or Wallace."