Roush Fenway Racing Talladega preview

Roush Fenway Racing Talladega Superspeedway, Oct. 5-7 Talladega, Ala. NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series: UAW-Ford 500 Sunday October 7 1:00 PM Eastern - ABC/MRN NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series: Mountain Dew 250 Saturday October 6 3:30 PM Eastern --...

Roush Fenway Racing
Talladega Superspeedway, Oct. 5-7
Talladega, Ala.

NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series: UAW-Ford 500
Sunday October 7
1:00 PM Eastern - ABC/MRN

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series: Mountain Dew 250
Saturday October 6
3:30 PM Eastern -- SPEED Channel/MRN

ARCA Series: Food World 250
Friday October 5
5:00 PM Eastern -- SPEED Channel

Colin Braun -- No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Fusion

Roush Fenway Racing Fast Facts
* David Ragan will be making his second trip of the 2007 season to Talladega Superspeedway with Cup and Busch Series finishes of 17th and seventh respectively.

* Ragan also competed in a Craftsman Truck Series event at Talladega in 2006. He started seventh and finished second.

* Ragan is currently 21st in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings; only 46 points behind 20th place driver Juan Pablo Montoya.

* Ragan is currently second to Montoya for the Raybestos Rookie of the Year award. Going into Talladega weekend Ragan trails Montoya by 14 points with seven races to go.

***

* In the spring race at Talladega, it appeared as though Greg Biffle and the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion might escape unscathed from Talladega Superspeedway until an incident during the green/white/checker finish kept Biffle from completing the race and left him with a 29th place finish.

* Biffle has two top-10 finishes in six NASCAR Busch Series starts at Talladega Superspeedway.

* With the win last week at Kansas Biffle and the team are currently 14th in the point standings, 164 points out of the 13th position.

* This weekend Biffle will run the red and black Dish Network paint scheme.

***

* Since the beginning of 2005, Matt Kenseth has an average running position of 9.4 at Talladega Superspeedway, tops among all Cup drivers.

* Kenseth's average finish during the Chase at Talladega is 7.0 ranking second only to Loudon, N.H., among tracks during the Chase.

* Kenseth ranks fourth in laps completed (2,664) at Talladega since the beginning of 2000; Kenseth's rookie season in NEXTEL Cup.

* Kenseth has an average start of 12.3 during the Chase at Talladega; raking third among all Chase tracks.

* Kenseth's Driver Rating of 99.6 at Talladega is third best among all Cup drivers since 2005.

* Bad time for bad luck -- Despite having competitive cars, Kenseth has ran into some terrible luck the past two weeks, subsequently netting finishes of 35th both at Dover and Kansas. The last time Kenseth finished 35th or worse in two consecutive races was in the fall of 2004 at Atlanta (41st) and Phoenix (36th).

***

* In 10 visits to the 2.66-mile speedway, Jamie McMurray has posted four top-10 finishes, and boasts an average finish of 15.9, which is eighth best among active drivers with more than three starts.

* Three "5's" -- McMurray has three top-five runs at Talladega, each time finishing in the fifth position.

* To The Front -- McMurray has led a total of 104 laps at Talladega; second best only to Lowe's Motor Speedway in his career.

* Locked Down -- This weekend, McMurray will pilot the No. 26 IRWIN VISE-GRIP Ford Fusion. The IRWIN paint scheme has the same blue and yellow look, but with a large pair of locking pliers on the door of the No. 26 Ford Fusion.

***

* Coming off a disappointing weekend at Kansas, Carl Edwards and the No. 99 Office Depot team are eager to make gains in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup. After finishing 37th in the LifeLock 400, Edwards is currently seventh in point standings with 5364 points, 142 points behind the leader, Jimmie Johnson

* Edwards will make his sixth Cup start at Talladega this weekend. In his previous starts, he has achieved three top-10 and one top-five finishes

* Edwards best finish at Talladega is fifth place, captured in October of 2005

* In the spring race at Talladega, Edwards and the Office Depot team finished 42nd, after the engine let go on lap 27

* The No. 99 Office Depot team will be unloading chassis No. RK-519, a brand new "Car of Tomorrow"

NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series: UAW-Ford 500 Sunday October 7 1:00 PM Eastern - ABC/MRN

David Ragan
Team: No. 6 AAA Travel Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Jimmy Fennig
Chassis: Primary: RK-522 Tested at Talladega
     Back-up: RK-525 Tested at Talladega

Ragan on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"I'm pretty excited about heading back to Talladega. We had a good run there in the spring; I think we even led a lap or two. The racing will be a little different going back there with the Car of Tomorrow rather than the current car that we ran there early this year. I always tell people that the short tracks are my favorite but the superspeedways are a close second. I think now that I have a little more experience I may have a few friends out there that will be willing to draft with us. It is also an impound race this weekend so our practice sessions will be very important to us."

Crew Chief Jimmy Fennig on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"We are taking two brand new cars to Talladega since this is the largest track that we will run the COT on. David has had some of his best races this year on the larger tracks and the superspeedways so we are hoping that racing the COT on this type of track will not change that. This race is going to give us a little bit of a sneak peak into what we are going to be up against next season when we run the COT full time. Right now the No. 6 team is sitting right outside of the top-20 in points and we definitely want to break into that before the season is over. David is still in contention for the Rookie of the Year so we are trying to help him out as much as we can with that too. Next year we will be racing to make the Chase so it is important to use the remainder of this year to learn as much as we can leading into 2008."

Greg Biffle
Team: No. 16 Dish Network Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Greg Erwin
Chassis: RK-521 New Chassis

Biffle on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"Well, I don't really know what to expect this weekend. We had a decent test down there with the new car that we're taking and I think we learned a few things that will help but I'm still skeptical about the COT's at a superspeedway. One thing I noticed at the test is that it is very difficult to see through the car in front of you because of the spoiler and that makes it a little more difficult to anticipate how to react to what's happening in the draft. We'll just go and try to stay out of trouble and finish the race with our Ford Fusion in one piece."

Crew Chief Greg Erwin on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"We're taking a brand new racecar to Talladega this weekend. It was built specifically for Talladega and we tested it there at the open test a few weeks ago. We were able to learn a few things that will help out this weekend but we now know how the new aero package will respond to running in the draft. We know the Roush-Yates engines are strong at the superspeedways, so we expect a good qualifying effort on Friday. There is a lot of uncertainty for everyone with the first COT race at a superspeedway, so that sort of evens the playing field."

Matt Kenseth
Team: No. 17 DEWALT Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Robbie Reiser
Chassis: RK-518 Brand new: tested in Sept. at Talladega
     RK-524 Brand new: tested in Sept. at Talladega

Kenseth on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"I don't really know what to expect this weekend. I've heard several drivers say several different things. Some people think it will all be a single-file line because the cars, when you do get out of line, fall to the back extremely fast. With the old cars you could kind of hold your own a little bit and hang in there, whereas these cars do drop back really fast if you don't have anybody with you and you get out of line. From what I saw in the draft and all the stuff that we did, the cars are very stable, they suck up really fast. "

"I think it's going to be a crazy race. I think you're going to be three-wide most of the time and I would be surprised if nobody runs into anybody else because it's a little more difficult to see out of the COT cars than the other cars and they suck up a little faster in the draft. Plus, they're really easy to drive, so when all that stuff happens it usually makes everybody pretty brave and maybe do some moves or put their cars in places they maybe wouldn't put the other cars if they didn't drive as good."

Crew Chief Robbie Reiser on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"Everything's going to be new this weekend. The COT car is a virgin at Talladega Superspeedway, so it's definitely going to be eventful, I think. Just watching the cars draft during the test was interesting and that was with a small draft of only 10 to 15 cars. I think when it comes race time; it will be interesting to watch how all of that plays out. We have to figure out how the car handles and how to cool the car and how to do all of the different things that we normally do to our other cars that we already had figured out. That'll make it interesting to us. The racing should be interesting by itself.

"So far the Chase hasn't gone the way we've wanted to, but on the other hand, we've had cars capable of running in the top five in all three races. That part of it's good. The luck part of it will hopefully change. Looking back on it, we've had two bad races and it really doesn't have us out of it yet. We can rebound, but we have to do it right now."

Jamie McMurray
Team: No. 26 IRWIN Vise-Grip Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Larry Carter
Chassis: RK-517 Tested at Talladega -- Sept. '07
    RK-528 Brand New Chassis

McMurray on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"Well, needless to say, it's going to be an interesting weekend in Talladega. When we were down there a few weeks ago testing the COT, we never put all 43 cars on the track at one time. We'd go out in smaller groups. To me it seemed the car handled really well and had a lot of grip on the track, but that's when there were only a handful of other cars around you. It will be very interesting to see how these cars react when we are in a large group, lined up three wide going into the corners.

"There have been a lot of questions around how the new car will work at Talladega, and to be honest, I don't know. We'll have a typical day on Friday of single runs, and then some small drafting practice, but I don't think we will really know how these cars are going to run until Sunday in the race.

"I know all the guys on the team are excited since we won the last restrictor-plate race and hopefully, we can go out there and win another this weekend. We are taking a pretty cool car down there this weekend. It's our No. 26 IRWIN VISE-GRIP Ford Fusion, and I have to say, it looks pretty cool. Hopefully, it will be as good as our special paint scheme we ran earlier this season in Daytona."

Crew Chief Larry Carter on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"I think there is a lot of speculation heading into Talladega this weekend. These new cars are a lot different than the old ones. These cars seem to work like the trucks did when they ran at the superspeedways; they punch a huge hole of air and create a ton of down force, which in turn gives the driver a lot more grip on the speedway. I don't think there is anyone in the garage who knows how this race is going to play out and how these cars are going to run. There's a lot of uncertainty heading into this weekend. We'll just go out there on Friday in practice and try to run as best as possible, hopefully qualify the car well on Saturday, and just run the best race we can on Sunday. Jamie is an excellent restrictor-plate driver, which is half the battle. He's very smart behind the wheel and can read the draft really well. If we keep our No. 26 IRWIN VISE-GRIP Ford Fusion out of trouble, I have a feeling we'll have a pretty good weekend."

Carl Edwards
Team: No.99 Office Depot Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Bob Osborne
Chassis: RK-519 A brand new "Car of Tomorrow"

Edwards on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"We are coming off of an obviously disappointing weekend at Kansas and hoping for a much better outcome for the Office Depot team at Talladega. Bob Osborne and the guys have been working extremely hard and making lots of advancements with the 'car of tomorrow', so I feel confident that we'll unload and be good to go. My main concern is that we stay out of trouble and get a solid finish."

Crew Chief Bob Osborne on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"Talladega is a tough track. It's one of those places that you could win or you could wreck out, it's that extreme. However, this time the racing will be much different in the 'car of tomorrow'. It's going to be interesting to see how the race plays out. I think we should have a pretty good Office Depot Ford, and our 'car of tomorrow' program has improved so much from the start of the season, I feel really good about our chances of running up front. . I think Carl is an awesome driver that has what it takes to run up front and win races and that will definitely work to our advantage.

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series:

Travis Kvapil
Team: No. 6 K&N Filters Ford F-150
Crew Chief: Mike Beam
Chassis: RK-412-52 Last raced at Daytona in February where Kvapil started fourth and finished third

Kvapil on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"I'm looking forward to Talladega. This is going to be a great race for us. We had the dominant truck at Daytona in February and came up just shy of pulling off the win. I think we have the truck that can finish the job here this week. Handling is not as big an issue at Talladega as it as at Daytona, it's much wider and forgiving. Our speedway program is spectacular. It's an easy place to get in trouble, but hopefully we'll be able to run at the front and pull off the win in the K&N Ford F-150."

Crew Chief Mike Beam on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"We had a great run earlier in the year at Daytona. It looked like we had the win in hand, but we lost it on the last lap. We've been anxious to get to Talladega to finish the deal. We won this race last year, and we'll look to do it again this time around with Travis."

T. J. Bell
Team: No. 50 Heathcliff's Cat Litter Ford F-150
Crew Chief: John Quinn
Chassis: RK-409-51 Last raced at Daytona in February where Erik Darnell started fifth and finished 12th

Bell at Talladega Superspeedway: Date Series Event S F Laps Reason 10/2/04 ARCA Food World 300 35 6 113/113 Running

Bell on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"This will be my first time racing at Talladega since they resurfaced it last year. I didn't participate in the inaugural race last year, but this team ran very strong with Erik Darnell driving. I'm really looking forward to running this race. Roush Fenway Racing does such a great job with their superspeedway stuff. I know we'll have great horsepower under the hood, so we should be a factor on Saturday afternoon."

Crew Chief John Quinn on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"T.J. has never raced at Talladega in a truck, but that really shouldn't hurt him too much. He's raced here in an ARCA car, so he knows how the draft works and what he needs to do. We're bringing the truck that Erik Darnell finished 12th with at Daytona, but we know that it's capable of much more than that. Hopefully we can be in the right place at the right time, stay out of the wrecks and run up front."

Erik Darnell Team: No. 99 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford F-150 Crew Chief: Matt Puccia Chassis: RK-031 Last raced at Daytona in February where Carl Edwards started second and finished 24th

Darnell on racing at Talladega Superspeedway: "We had a really strong run going at Talladega last year, but some problems on pit road late in the race got us behind and we were never able to make it up. I was really impressed with how smooth the new surface was. It had a ton of grip, and it made for some really exciting racing. The fans are always in for something when the trucks race at these superspeedways. Our Northern Tool + Equipment Ford should be pretty strong on Saturday afternoon."

Crew Chief Matt Puccia on racing at Talladega Superspeedway: "Erik does not have the results that really indicate it, but he's run very well in on the superspeedways, both here at Talladega and at Daytona. We're running the truck that Carl Edwards had at Daytona earlier in the year. It was a really good truck, but we had some mechanical problems that put us a bunch of laps down. We know that we're bringing a good, strong truck with us this weekend, and we're looking for a strong finish."

ARCA Series:

Colin Braun
Team: No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Jeff "Lumpy" Campey
Chassis: RK-433 The same car that NEXTEL Cup driver David Ragan raced to a fifth place finish at this year's Daytona 500.

Braun on racing at Gateway International Raceway:
"The test went really well. It was great having David Ragan there to help me. He showed me what lines to run and explained to me how to stay high on the first lap or two then drop down onto the track to get up to speed. I really enjoyed driving the track; it was cool to run wide-open, never lifting off the throttle. Our goals are the same as before, to try and make all the laps and finish the race in one piece. The No. 99 Ford is fast and I think the biggest thing holding me back will be my lack of experience and figuring out how the draft works. My plan is to watch and learn for the first 90 laps and try to gain the respect of the older drivers. Then in the last four or five laps, it will be time to go."

Crew Chief Jeff Campey on racing at Gateway International Raceway:
"Colin has shown a lot of improvement since his very first test with us at the beginning of the summer. He worked on his line and logged a lot of laps. At the end of the day both David and Colin did mock runs, David in the primary and Colin in the backup, then we put Colin in the primary for the last mock run and after we made a few minor adjustments he unofficially logged the fastest lap time of the day. Overall we were pleased with how the test went and I think we've coached him as much as we can about restrictor plate racing. Now he just needs to do it. Our goal is to get him comfortably into the race and see where we are at in the end. Hopefully he can follow a guy like Frank Kimmel and learn as much as possible. We hope to qualify in the top-10 and maintain and see where we are on lap 94."

COLIN BRAUN FAST FACTS
* Braun tested an ARCA car at Talladega on September 25 with teammate David Ragan. He unofficially posted the fastest lap at the end of the day.

* This will be Braun's third ARCA race and first race at Talladega.

* Braun qualified 13th and finished ninth at Gateway. At Chicagoland, Braun qualified fifth and finished third, coming from 23rd through the field after a pit road penalty to clinch his first top-five finish in the ARCA Series in just his second start.

* A road course wiz: In 15 starts in '07, Braun had two poles, nine top-five and 12 top-10 finishes with Krohn Racing in the Rolex Grand Am Series.

-credit: rfr

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About this article
Series ARCA , Monster Energy NASCAR Cup , NASCAR Truck
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Roush Fenway Racing , Krohn Racing