Pocono: Chad McCumbee debut preview

McCumbee to Make Nextel Cup Debut Goody's Cool Orange will adorn No. 45 Dodge This weekend, Chad McCumbee and the ...

McCumbee to Make Nextel Cup Debut
Goody's Cool Orange will adorn No. 45 Dodge

This weekend, Chad McCumbee and the #45 Goody's Cool Orange Dodge team will head to the 2.5 mile, triangular-shaped Pocono (Penn.) Raceway for Sunday's Pocono 500.

This will be McCumbee's debut in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. The 22-year-old has been competing full-time in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) this season. He is currently 14th in the NCTS points standings.

While McCumbee has never before competed at Pocono in a Nextel Cup car, he does have considerable success at the track in ARCA RE/MAX Series competition. He has finishes of fourth, second and third in his last three starts at the track in that series. Nextel Cup rookies have taken the checkered flag in the last two Pocono 500 events and McCumbee will be looking to make that three in a row.

Comments from McCumbee as he prepares for Sunday's Pocono 500:

"People have asked me what it means to get behind the wheel of a Petty Enterprises Dodge. That is really something I can't put into words. I mean, 268 wins, that is impressive. And to step in for a legend like Kyle is an honor in itself. He is someone that I have really looked up to and someone I hope to be able to learn a lot from. Everyone at Petty Enterprises has been really supportive of me and I have all the confidence in the world that we can go up there and get a good finish. This team is on their way back to the top. I hope, in some small way, that I can help them get there. I really feel blessed to have this opportunity."

"Billy (Wilburn) and I have been working on our communication. That is going to be very important. You know, Pocono is a tough track, but it has been a really good track for me in the past. It is a compromising track where you can't be good in all three corners. You have to pick the corners where you want to get the car driving comfortably and just hope you are not too far off on the others. That is where our communication and Billy's experience is going to help me out a lot with these Nextel Cup cars."

"When you look back at the last two years, Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin both won this race without ever racing at Pocono before. I have a lot of seat time on the track and a great team behind me. While I am looking at this as a learning experience for me, I really think we can go out there and turn some heads. I tested at Charlotte last month and got a feel for the car. We should be in good shape."

"To be picked to drive the first Goody's Cool Orange car is cool too. The special paint scheme is a part of Goody's national launch of the first flavored headache powder to hit the market. It is great to be associated with Goody's, a product that has such a rich history with racing. I don't think we will need any after the race, though. This Goody's Cool Orange Dodge will be up front."

-credit: pe

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Carl Edwards , Chad McCumbee