Daytona 500: Dodge Motorsports preview

DODGE AT DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY * Dodge has earned four Daytona 500 wins (Richard Petty (2), Ward Burton and Ryan Newman). DID YOU KNOW? * There have been eight different Daytona 500 winners in the last eight races. * In the...

DODGE AT DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

* Dodge has earned four Daytona 500 wins (Richard Petty (2), Ward Burton and Ryan Newman).

DID YOU KNOW?

* There have been eight different Daytona 500 winners in the last eight races.

* In the last five Daytona 500s, there has been a caution with three or less green-flag laps remaining.

* The Daytona 500 winner has started from the pole nine times in the previous 51 events. The most recent -- Dale Jarrett (2000).

* The Daytona 500 has been shortened four times due to rain. In 1965 it was stopped after 332.5 miles, after 495 miles in 1966, 272.5 miles in 2003 and 304 miles in 2009.

DODGE TECHNOLOGY TIDBIT
The first restrictor plate race was the 1988 Daytona 500 as NASCAR mandated a plate with one-inch openings for that event. The size of the four holes in the restrictor plate for this year's Daytona 500 is 63/64th of an inch. NASCAR's objective is to give the drivers more speed and throttle response. The pole winning speed (191.188 mph) for Sunday's race was the fastest since 1999

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

* The three Penske Dodge Chargers were among the top 15 fastest in Daytona 500 qualifying.

* Brad Keselowski is making his first Daytona 500 start in the Sprint Cup Series.

* Kurt Busch has the most plate-race top fives (15) and top 10s (22) of all active drivers who have never won a restrictor plate race.

* Sam Hornish Jr's highest finish at a restrictor plate race is 15th at the 2008 Daytona 500.

DODGE FAST FACT OF THE WEEK
* In only three career restrictor plate races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Brad Keselowski (No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger) has scored one win (Talladega), one top five and two top 10 finishes while averaging an 11th-place finishing position. The 2010 Daytona 500 will mark Keselowski's first-career run in the "Great American Race." Keselowski finished 25th at last year's Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

DODGE "CHATTER" BOX

Kurt Busch, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger

"We had a great season in 2009 and we're very proud of what we were able to accomplish, especially under what could have been trying circumstances. The fact is, we're driven to do even better this year. We finished fourth in the points behind the three Hendrick Motorsports teams, so we took great pride in being the best in our class. But finishing fourth was like a moral victory and we know there's much more out there to accomplish. When I joined Penske Racing as the driver of the 'Blue Deuce' for the 2006 season, the immediate goal was to win races and challenge for the championship. The ultimate goal is to bring that first championship trophy home to Penske Racing. Until we do that, we can never look back on a season and say it was an absolute success. We had a basic building block to grow on entering last season and with the addition of new ideas and energy from about every aspect of our program, we were able to get back to where our team needed to be. Our engineering department continued to get stronger and our fleet of Dodge Chargers became more and more consistently competitive."

DODGE DRIVERS: DAYTONA 500

Kurt Busch, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger

"One of the keys here at Daytona is the right balance to setup. You can't be abusing the front tires and not using the rear. You have to get all four tires working the same. You have to have a loose race car to do that. Sometimes guys like comfortable cars. I don't think your car can be comfortable at Daytona to have success.

"The goal this weekend is the same as it is every time we take the green flag here and that's to run a smart race and be up in the lead group of cars for the stretch run. In every one of these races, I'm out there trying to learn something new. That's especially true every time the rules are tweaked and we change to a different package. The goal always remains the same, though, and that's to be there at the end of the race and positioned for a shot at it."

Brad Keselowski, No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger

"You're not going to make everyone happy. You're not going to live up to every fans expectation of what a great race is going to be or what a driver personality should be like. I think that's important to remember."

Jay Guy, crew chief, No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger

"Our season is pretty unique in that we start off with our biggest race of the year. Over the off-season a lot of emphasis is placed on this one race. If you win Daytona, you are recognized as the Daytona 500 champion for the rest of the year. We all know that Brad can win a restrictor-plate race because he has done it before. The fact that NASCAR is allowing 'bump drafting' all over the track is a little bit of a wild card for this race. Hopefully we can stay out of trouble early, have good pit stops, and race for the checkered flag at the end."

Sam Hornish Jr. No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger

"We think being the only Dodge teams will give us an advantage, knowing that we have all that great technology they provide. Any technology that we find on our Dodge Chargers, now we don't have to share and that will certainly benefit all three of our cars.

"I am excited about the rules changes that NASCAR has implemented this year for restrictor plate races like Daytona. We're going to have increased speeds and improved closing rates, which will create more on-track action. Everything that NASCAR is doing is to create more exciting races for the fans while maintaining safety standards and that benefits all of us. I see the Daytona 500 as full of possibilities for the Mobil 1 team, not only for a strong run in the biggest race in our sport, but as a good start for the season ahead."

Travis Geisler, crew chief, No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger

"I sat in the stands at Daytona International Speedway for about 10 years before I began working in the sport so it's really special to me. After winning the Daytona 500 in 2008, the only thing I've thought about is winning it again. The team has been working hard to prepare for a great showing in Daytona and I think fans will see some of the best racing in the past few years with the changes NASCAR has made. With no restrictions on bump drafting and bigger restrictor plates, I feel that it will be more like the way racing is meant to be."

-source: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Jarrett , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Richard Petty , Brad Keselowski , Travis Geisler , Sam Hornish Jr. , Sam Hornis
Teams Team Penske , Hendrick Motorsports