"It is an all day affair to go drag racing at other tracks in Georgia and Alabama," Petry said. "But at Atlanta Motor Speedway, it's easy and convenient to go just for a night. It is the perfect way to relax after a long work week."
A Chicago native, Petry moved to Georgia to escape the winter weather more than a decade ago and one of his possessions that made the trek south was his 1983 Cadillac Coup De Ville. Weighing in at a hefty 4,100 pounds, Petry originally purchased the car with no intentions of transforming it into a dragster. After the Cadillac's original motor expired, Petry, a General Motors certified master technician, decided it was time to give the Caddy some speed to accompany the car's good looks.
"I am on my second rear axle, third engine, fourth transmission and 10th driveshaft," Petry said laughing. "I built a fuel injected small block Chevrolet engine that uses many of the same components the Corvettes do."
Petry's modifications didn't stop under the hood.
"I took the entire suspension off of a 1995 Impala SS and made it work under the Cadillac," Petry recollected. "I purchased eight cars to make the one I have now."
Still, Petry maintains that having fun at AMS' Castrol GTX Friday Night Drags doesn't require a fast chariot. In fact, he says you don't have to own a car to enjoy an evening of drag racing at AMS.
"I look up at the crowd and the fans are just having a ball," Petry said. "I love it because I am down there in the middle of it on the track, but the people in the stands look like they are just having a big time.
"It's entertaining for everyone and it is a laid back atmosphere. It gets the kids off the streets and keeps everyone, both old and young, out of trouble."
AMS' drag racing series has even helped make Petry somewhat of a celebrity.
"I can't go anywhere without people recognizing me. People say they have even seen my car on TV," Petry said laughing. "It's my hobby. I don't drink or smoke, so working on my car keeps me from doing other things I probably shouldn't be doing."