Atlanta II: Dodge Motorsports preview

THE DODGE BOYS AT ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY * Kasey Kahne recorded the 200th win by Dodge in the Sprint Cup Series with his victory in the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway earlier this year. * Kurt Bush gave Dodge its last Sprint Cup victory when he...

THE DODGE BOYS AT ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY

* Kasey Kahne recorded the 200th win by Dodge in the Sprint Cup Series with his victory in the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway earlier this year.

* Kurt Bush gave Dodge its last Sprint Cup victory when he won the LENOX Industrial 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in June.

* The Dodge R6P8 engine made its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut at Kansas Speedway in the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger driven by Kurt Busch. He also competed with the new engine at Lowe's Motor Speedway and Martinsville Speedway. Penske Racing and other Dodge teams are expected to use the engine at other events this year. These are steps toward full implementation in 2009, well ahead of the 2010 NASCAR mandate.

* Bryan Clauson will be attempting his debut in the Sprint Cup Series at AMS in the No. 40 Target/Guitar Hero World Tour Dodge. Clauson, a 19-year-old from Noblesville, Ind., has competed in the 24 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) races during the 2008 season, driving the No.40 Fastenal Dodge. He has collected one pole, one top-five and two top-10 finishes.

DODGE ROOKIE CONTENDERS

* Sam Hornish Jr. -- The three-time IndyCar Series champion and 2006 Indy 500 winner is tied for the lead in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings with Regan Smith. Hornish finished 34th at Martinsville.

Dodge Driver Quotes

Bobby Labonte, Driver, No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Charger

On Atlanta: "Each track that we go to is unique in its own way. Atlanta is no different. When we come down here we are racing in front of what could be the biggest corporate audience that we have. A lot of the sponsors that you see on Sunday have a huge presence in Atlanta. I'm fortunate enough to have been associated with Coca-Cola for many years now. They're headquartered down there. That gives me extra motivation when I go to Atlanta because I get to see a lot of the great people from Coke. I'm sure the other drivers feel the same way when they go to Atlanta."

Kasey Kahne, Driver, No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger

What is it that you like about Atlanta? "Atlanta is one of my favorite race tracks. It's a fast track and it's wide enough so there are multiple grooves for racing. I like the fact that it lets the driver figure out where the car is handling best. It makes it a little more challenging but it's also a lot of fun."

How much of the last four races is the team in test mode? "We're in race mode. We're trying to figure out how we can run the best that we can and race at each track that we go to. We're always trying to learn as much as we can at each track that we go to -- not only for this year, but for next as well. I feel like we can run in the top-10 the last few races and finish 13th in the driver points. Maybe we get a shot at winning a race or getting a pole and learn at the same time for next year. We're not really 'testing', but learning as we go while trying to get better and better."

AJ Allmendinger, Driver, No. 10 Sears Auto Center/Valvoline Dodge Charger

On Atlanta: "We want to ride our momentum from last week into Atlanta. It's a fun track and real racy. There's a ton of room to move around and find different lines to run. I've only raced there once in the Cup car but I really enjoyed it and we had a good finish.

"It's not unrealistic to think we can get the No. 10 back into the top 35 in owner points. That is what Gillett Evernham Motorsports asked me to do, get this thing as close as possible to the top 35. I'm going to give it my all over the next four races. We took a big chunk out of our point's deficit last week and we're hoping for more of the same at Atlanta."

Ryan Newman, No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger

Qualifying at Atlanta: "I would like to think that when we go to Atlanta, I'm going to have a shot at the pole. It has been a track where I really like to qualify and where I qualify well. Everyone always asks me about what it would mean to break Buddy Baker's pole record at the track, since we are tied with seven each. It would be bittersweet because it's Buddy's record, but it would also be an honor for me. Buddy has really helped me throughout my racing career. He has been a good friend to me and my family and a mentor. Buddy was my teacher when I first came to Penske Racing. I tell everyone that Buddy would take me to tracks and work with me, but not the way that you would think. We would get to a track, and we would drive the tracks backwards because he said it would give me a different perspective of the entry and exit points. He was right. That taught me how to approach those areas of the race track when I was driving on it the right way. When we worked together, Buddy would never tell me what I was doing right, but he would point out where I was doing something wrong. He was teaching me to learn from my mistakes. How he worked with me and what he taught me is something that I will never forget. He has really been somebody special to me in my career."

Racing at Atlanta: "We had a good car at Atlanta this spring, and we are taking the same Kodak Dodge back there this weekend. It was a top-10 or top-five car, but we got caught up in someone else's accident and finished 14th. Atlanta has been a good track for me in qualifying, but that hasn't been the case with our race finishes. We've had a couple of tough breaks these last few weeks, and I would like to change that this weekend. I'm coming to the end of my tenure with the 12 team and Penske, and we would like to end on a high note--just like we started it."

Chad McCumbee, Driver, No. 45 Marathon Spirit of America Motor Oil Dodge Charger

On Atlanta: "Atlanta is a pretty special racetrack for me. I qualified and finished in the top-five for the first time in my truck career there in March. That was a moment that told me that I could do this, that if I worked hard enough I could compete at a high level. That race was a big shot in the arm to our team and we've been pretty competitive since then. I feel confident we can have a similar run this weekend in the No. 45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge. Hopefully that will have the same 'springboard' effect to the rest of the year.

Sam Hornish Jr., Driver, No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger

On Atlanta: "I really enjoy racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It's such a fast track and there are several lanes you can run from the white line to the wall. It's a race full of on-track action. This entire Mobil 1 team is looking forward to returning to 1.5-mile tracks as this season comes to a close. We've had a strong intermediate-track program this season and we look forward to solid runs at Atlanta, Texas and Homestead. Since we are in a close battle for Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors, we are hoping to capitalize on these last four races."

Kurt Busch, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger

On the 48 team: "Their run this year is shaping up like ours did back in 2004 where they've built up enough cushion in the points that they can afford to have an off week or a bad race. It was this weekend's race at Atlanta where we had our one bad race, when we blew the engine and finished 42nd. Even with Jimmie winning that particular race, we came out of there with enough of a buffer that we were able to hang on down the stretch through the incredible run we had in the final race at Homestead.

"I'll go on record saying that I think Jimmie, Chad and the 48 team are the best in the business at knowing how to win championships. Just think how far they've come since the 2004 season. I've always heard that you have to lose a championship in order to know how to win one. They've won two of the last three since then and seem to always be at the top of their game at the right time."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Kasey Kahne , Regan Smith , Bryan Clauson , Chad McCumbee , Buddy Baker , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Team Penske