Daytona II: Dodge Motorsports preview

DODGE DRIVERS AT DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY * Dodge claimed six of the top-eight positions at the season-opening Daytona 500. Ryan Newman posted the win with teammate Kurt Busch finishing second, giving Dodge its first ever 1-2 finish in the...

DODGE DRIVERS AT DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

* Dodge claimed six of the top-eight positions at the season-opening Daytona 500. Ryan Newman posted the win with teammate Kurt Busch finishing second, giving Dodge its first ever 1-2 finish in the Daytona 500.

* Kurt Busch has seven top-five finishes in 15 tries at Daytona. He's finished second three times.

* Reed Sorenson posted his season-best finish of fifth in the season-opening Daytona 500.

* Elliott Sadler has three top-five and seven top-10 finishes in 19 starts at DIS. He opened the 2008 season with a sixth-place finish.

* Bobby Labonte will be making his 32nd start at DIS. He has five top-five finishes.

* Richard Petty had 10 wins, 28 top-five and 37 top-10 finishes at Daytona, but only one pole. Four of those wins came in a Dodge. He led 3,192.5 miles in 74 starts at the 2.5-mile track.

* Dodge has five wins in the July race (A.J. Foyt, Sam McQuagg, Bobby Isaac and Richard Petty-2) at Daytona.

* Robby Gordon's best finishes in 2008 have come in restrictor-plate events. He finished eighth in the 50th running of the Daytona 500 and was 11th at Talladega.

THE DODGE BOYS

* The 11 Dodge teams entered in the 400-mile race at the 2.5-mile oval will be seeking the manufacturer's 202nd victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Dodge teams have posted 41 wins since the manufacturer returned to NASCAR's premier series in 2001 (including three this year) after being out of the sport since 1977.

* The Dodge Charger has won at least one race in NASCAR's premier series since its return in 2005.

* Kasey Kahne recorded the 200th win by Dodge in the Sprint Cup Series with his victory in the Pocono 500. Kahne has two wins, three top-five and eight top-10 finishes in 2008 and is currently 10th in the Race to the Chase. Kahne also won the Sprint All-Star Race.

* In addition to Kahne, Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch have posted wins in Dodge Chargers in 2008.

DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY TRACK FACTS

* Ground was broken on the 2.5-mile, tri-oval on November 25, 1957. The soil underneath the banked corners was dug from the infield of the track, and the large hole in the infield was filled with water and now known as Lake Lloyd. The speedway opened on February 22, 1959 to a crowd of 41,000 people.

* Lights were installed in 1998 so that the July event could be held at night. However, the race was delayed until October due to thick smoke from wildfires in the area that summer. The event has been held under lights ever since.

DID YOU KNOW?

* Herman Beam was the first driver to be black-flagged in a NASCAR event at DIS. The infraction -- Beam forgot to put his helmet on before a Twin 100-mile qualifying race on Feb. 12, 1960, and was parked for the remainder of the race.

* In 1985, unheralded Greg Sacks shocked the favorites and won the July 4th Firecracker 400 at DIS. Sacks, driving an unsponsored car, won by 23.5 seconds over Bill Elliott. It was also his first top-five finish.

* The racecar carrying No. 21 has been a winner in the 400-mile event at DIS eight times, more than any other number. No. 3 has been a winner four times in the race.

DODGE ROOKIE CONTENDERS

* Sam Hornish Jr. -- The three-time IndyCar Series champion and 2006 Indy 500 winner has a five-point lead over Regan Smith in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings, 162-157.

* Patrick Carpentier -- The driver of the No. 10 Dodge Charger from Gillett Evernham Motorsports is coming off his first career pole (New Hampshire) in his 17th NASCAR Sprint Cup race. It was the first No. 1 starting spot for a rookie in 62 Sprint Cup races (Richmond in September, 2006). Carpentier has not been in the top 35 at any point of the 2008 season, but has successfully qualified for every event since Daytona where qualifying was completed (qualifying cancelled at California and Bristol because of rain).

* Dario Franchitti -- The 2007 Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series champion posted a career-best qualifying effort at New Hampshire, starting seventh. He raced in the top 10 through the first 40 laps at NHMS. Franchitti finished 33rd in the Daytona 500, his first career Sprint Cup Series start. (Update: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates has announced that due to a lack of sponsorship funding, it has ceased operation of the No. 40 team beginning with this weekend's Coke Zero 400).

HISTORICAL DATA

* Total Dodge NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Wins: 201

* First Dodge NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Win: Lee Petty, 2/1/53, West Palm Beach, Fla.,100 miles, .5-mi. track

* Last Dodge NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Win: Kurt Busch, 6/29/08, Loudon, NH, 317.4-miles, 1.058-mile track

* First Dodge NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Win at Daytona: Junior Johnson, 02/21/64, Daytona 500

* Last Dodge NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Win at Daytona: Ryan Newman, 02/17/2008 Daytona 500

* First Dodge NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Win at this event: A.J. Foyt, 07/04/1964, Firecracker 400

* Last Dodge NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Win at this event: Richard Petty, 07/04/1977, Firecracker 400

Ryan Newman, Driver, No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger

"The key to Daytona is just staying out of trouble. You want to have a fast car. You want to be up front, because hopefully that's where the wrecks won't be. And you have to have a little racing luck on your side--just be in the right place at the right time. You have to have good fundamentals, solid pit stops and you have to keep your fenders clean. You don't want to knock in what is making you go fast."

Ryan Newman, Driver, No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger

"Winning the Daytona 500 was a dream come true -- not just for me, but for everyone who has helped me along the way. My family. Penske Racing. It was really just a special moment for all of us. I don't think that I realized the significance of winning the 50th Running of the Daytona 500 immediately, but I knew that something special had happened the moment I crossed the finish line. We had a brand new car down there for that race, and they took it away from us and put it in the Daytona 500 Experience. The guys at the shop went back to work and built us another car, and I don't see any reason we can't go back to Daytona this weekend and try to win again. Our goal is to just have a good weekend and make up points."

Roy McCauley, Crew Chief, No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger

RETURNING TO DAYTONA: "I think we're all looking forward to going back to Daytona. That was a great moment for the No. 12 Alltel team and the entire Penske organization. While it will be nice to be back there and look back on that day, we are focused on this weekend's race and having another good run in the Alltel Dodge at Daytona. It will be different this weekend because we're under the lights and they have completely changed the tire. So, we'll just have to adjust the grip accordingly. The same issues will be prevalent though. The car will fight for overall grip after about 10 laps, and the summer heat will make the track even slicker which will make it harder to grip the track."

Kurt Busch, Driver, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger

"We've certainly played the bridesmaid's role for our fair share of times. Sooner or later, you have to be the bride. We finished third at Daytona last July and second there in February. We returned to the winner's circle last Sunday at New Hampshire. Maybe there's some kind of karma involved. We're heading in the right direction to finally win, especially if you consider the numbers."

Elliott Sadler, Driver, No. 19 Best Buy Dodge Charger

"Daytona has always been one of my favorite tracks. I don't know why but there are certain places you feel comfortable at and Daytona is one of those tracks for me. In the Daytona 500 we kind of bided our time and there at the end we came on pretty strong. Who knows what to expect this weekend. Daytona is like a different track in July compared to February. Usually it is a lot slicker and handling becomes even more important."

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

"I think a lot of us were looking to come back to Daytona as soon as we left in February. We had a solid two weeks down there and we're looking to better it this time. We finished sixth in our qualifying race and 11th in the Daytona 500, which we were happy with considering it was the first Daytona race with the new chassis. No one really knew what to expect in that first race because Daytona is more of a handling track than people give it credit for. Now that we have a race under our belt we have a grasp on what setup we need and we'll be looking to keep the Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge up front."

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

"I love Daytona International Speedway. After competing in the Daytona 500, I have a new perspective on racing there. We had a really car and should've had a top-10 finish. I'm happy where we ran there in February. The No. 77 Dodge ran better in the heat of the day; it was a top-five car. Now that it is July, the weather down in Daytona will warmer and I think we should run even better. We've really turned a corner as a team and are excited to pick up where we left off in February."

Patrick Carpentier, Driver, No 10 Auto Value Dodge Charger

"I've learned a lot about the drafting since we last visited Daytona. I think I can credit the Talladega race weekend for that. I ran both the Cup and Nationwide races. Even though the cars differ a little bit in how they handle in the draft, there's a lot you can take between the two series.

Terry Labonte, Driver, No. 45 Richard Petty Driving Experience Dodge

"This will be my first restrictor-plate race with the new chassis, but after watching this year's Daytona 500 I thought they put on a good show. You saw a lot of passing from the front of the field all the way to the rear. With the old car you could drive up to someone's bumper, but passing was another matter. It looked to me like the old "slingshot" move is back. I know all about that from the big-bodied cars that we used to race around there in the early 80's. I'm looking forward to practicing that move one more time."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Bobby Labonte , Terry Labonte , Robby Gordon , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Patrick Carpentier , Dario Franchitti , Richard Petty , Kasey Kahne , Regan Smith , Chip Ganassi , Junior Johnson , Greg Sacks , Elliott Sadler , Reed Sorenson , Felix Sabates , A.J. Foyt , Sam Hornish Jr. , Lee Petty
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Team Penske