Darlington: Dodge Motorsports preview

* Sterling Marlin scored the last Dodge win at Darlington, taking the victory in the 2002 spring race at the wheel of the ...

* Sterling Marlin scored the last Dodge win at Darlington, taking the victory in the 2002 spring race at the wheel of the #40 Dodge from Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. It was his second win of the season (he also won at Las Vegas in the third race of the year).

*          Kasey Kahne has three poles in the last five races at
Darlington.  He has an average start of 4.2 at the egg-shaped oval.

* Buck Baker, Buddy Baker, Ward Burton and Sterling Marlin have posted wins in a Dodge at the 1.366-mile track.

* Ryan Newman has five top-five and six top-10 finishes in nine starts at Darlington.

*          Bobby Labonte has a win, five top-five and 11 top-10 finishes
at Darlington.  The win came in 1997 before he moved to the Dodge ranks.

* In 11 previous starts, Kurt Busch has one top-five and four top-10 finishes. He started from the pole in the second race in 2001. In 2004, he was the point leader entering the event and started from the pole when qualifying was rained out.

THE DODGE BOYS

* Dodge opened the 2008 season with a 1-2 finish in the 50th anniversary Daytona 500. Dodge drivers filled six of the top eight positions in the Great American Race.

*          Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne posted top-10 finishes at
Richmond.  Newman is 11th and Kahne is 12th in the Chase standings.

* Juan Pablo Montoya's streak of eight straight top-20 finishes ended at Richmond after the runner-up at Talladega was involved in a couple of mishaps at the .75-mile track. Montoya finished 32nd and dropped out of the top 12 in the Sprint Cup point standings.

* Ryan Newman has started from the pole 43 times, second among active drivers (Jeff Gordon -- 65). Newman has claimed at least one pole for eight consecutive years (2001-08). He started from the pole earlier this year at Phoenix.

* Penske Racing South has claimed at least one win for 18 consecutive seasons (1991-2008), second only to Hendrick Motorsports at 23.

* Six Dodge Chargers started in the top 10 at Richmond.

DODGE ROOKIE CONTENDERS

* Sam Hornish Jr. -- The three-time IndyCar Series champion and 2006 Indy 500 winner finished 23rd at Richmond and is in the top 35 in car owner points and assured a starting spot in Saturday night's race at Darlington. Hornish trails Regan Smith by one point, 97-96, in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings.

* Dario Franchitti -- The reigning Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series champion received a slight fracture to his left ankle in a Nationwide Series event at Talladega. Sterling Marlin will drive the No. 40 Dodge Charger from Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates at Darlington. Franchitti is expected to return soon.

* Patrick Carpentier -- The driver of the Dodge Charger from Gillett Evernham Motorsports posted his best qualifying effort of the season at Richmond, starting fourth. Carpentier has qualified successfully five consecutive events, but remains outside the top 35 in owner points and must qualify on speed at Darlington.

Kasey Kahne: "Darlington has always been a great race track for me. As far as one that I look forward to, Darlington is in the top five. It's something that you just look forward to. Now with the new surface, there's kind of the unknown with how it's going to be with race cars all in a pack. I've heard that it's a lot faster, a lot smoother and a bit different. I don't know until I get there."

Ryan Newman: "They did an excellent job in repaving. (Darlington) left everything exactly how it was with the except for the character of the bumps which was their goal to take those out. The way you drive the track, the way you hustle the car -- I feel Goodyear has a good combination. Track position is going to be extremely important. With the speed, it's going to be that much more difficult to pass with a car that is very similar to your competition."

Patrick Carpentier: "Darlington is going to be very interesting, to say the least. This will be another track that I haven't been to. But I'm excited to go to a track with as much history as Darlington has. A lot of the legends of the sport have raced there. Guys like Bobby Allison, Buddy Baker and David Pearson. I've been reading my NASCAR history book and those guys put down a lot of laps around that track. I was looking at pictures of how close they ran up against the wall in the corners. I was like, 'are you serious?' I wish they could tell me some of their secrets. I know I'll need some tips to make this race."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Team Penske , Hendrick Motorsports