Roush Fenway Racing Talladega, Kansas preview

David Ragan * The 2007 Sprint Cup season was Ragan's first time competing full-time in the series. Ragan visited Talladega Superspeedway twice in 2007 with his best result being a 17th-place finish in the spring race. * Ragan has competed one...

David Ragan

* The 2007 Sprint Cup season was Ragan's first time competing full-time in the series. Ragan visited Talladega Superspeedway twice in 2007 with his best result being a 17th-place finish in the spring race.

* Ragan has competed one time in the Nationwide Series at Talladega Superspeedway, qualifying seventh and finishing fourth.

* Ragan also has one Craftsman Truck Series start at Talladega. Ragan competed in the fall of 2006, qualifying second and finishing seventh.

* Ragan is currently fifth in the Nationwide Series point standings.

* Ragan has five top-10 finishes in the Nationwide Series in 2008.

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Greg Biffle

* Biffle has two top-five finishes in the NASCAR Nationwide Series at Talladega.

* With the ninth-place finish two weeks ago at Phoenix, Biffle and the team are currently 10 in the point standings, 176 points out of the lead.

* Biffle, however, trails Denny Hamlin in sixth by only 39 points and has a 110-point advantage over Kasey Kahne in the 11th position.

* This weekend Biffle will run the American Red Cross paint scheme.

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Matt Kenseth

* Matt Kenseth will make his 17th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend in the Aaron's 499.

* In 16 starts, Kenseth has achieved three top-five and six top-10 finishes.

* All three of Kenseth's top-five finishes have been achieved in the fall race at Talladega. His best finish in a spring Talladega race is sixth place, captured in 2006.

* Kenseth has completed 2835 of 3020 (93.9 %) laps attempted at Talladega he has led a total of 131 laps there 70 of which have been led over the past three years.

* After Kenseth's 38th-place finish at Phoenix, he and the No.17 team fell from 13th to 15th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings. Kenseth is currently 48 points out of 12th place.

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Jamie McMurray

* In 11 visits to the 2.66-mile speedway, Jamie McMurray has posted four top-10 finishes.

* Spring Fling On average, McMurray runs better in the Talladega spring race. In five spring races, McMurray averages a 10.2 finish. In the balance of fall races, McMurray averages a 24.1 finish at the superspeedway.

* Three "5's" McMurray has three top-five runs at Talladega, each time finishing in the fifth position.

* Leader of the Pack McMurray has led a total of 104 laps at Talladega; second best only to Lowe's Motor Speedway in his career.

* April is "National Autism Awareness Month" in support the Jamie McMurray Foundation will be hosting an online auction to help raise funds and awareness. The online auction can be found at foundation.nascar.com/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=793&srcid=793

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Carl Edwards

* Carl Edwards enters Talladega ninth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings. In eight starts, Edwards has accumulated three wins, four top-five and five top-10 finishes.

* Edwards will make his ninth Cup start at Talladega this weekend. In his previous eight starts, Edwards has accumulated three wins, one top-five and three top-10 finishes.

* Edwards will carry the red and black colors of Office Depot this Sunday. Office Depot store #2578 from Ithaca, N.Y., is the weekly sales winner and will ride along with Edwards this weekend at Talladega.

NSCS

David Ragan Team: No.6 AAA Travel Ford Fusion
Chassis: RK-598 Brand new chassis
     RK-522 Last outing: Talladega, October '07 finished 34th

David Ragan on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"Talladega is always a great race for fans to watch. It's a restrictor-plate race so there will be a lot of drafting and shuffling around for position. Aerodynamics are important, so we need to run a clean race to be around at the end and be in contention for a good finish. We've always had fast cars here, but just haven't gotten the finish we deserve. I'm really excited to get back to the track this weekend and see what we can do and hopefully pick up some more points."

Crew Chief Jimmy Fennig on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"Talladega should be a pretty good race for us. David tends to run well there and we just need to go out there and get some more points. You never know what will happen in a restrictor-plate race with all the drafting, but hopefully we can have a clean race and be around at the end to rack up some more points."

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GREG BIFFLE Team: No.16 American Red Cross/3M Ford Fusion
Chassis: RK-583 Last outing: Brand New Car

Greg Biffle on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"I'd hate to say that I don't like racing at Talladega because I do but the superspeedway races are always a gamble. When you're running in a pack like that at the speeds we run, it really doesn't matter if you have the best car out there or the most talented driver in it. You just have to be able to keep up and stay out of the wrecks when they happen. We haven't had the best year so far but I think we've got something we can build on, so a good finish this weekend would just add to that confidence and keep us going in the right direction.

"We're running the American Red Cross paint scheme for the first time this weekend at Talladega. This is part of our partnership with 3M and a program that I personally think is very important. I am a blood donor myself and if we can bring some attention to the need for blood donations across the country through their NASCAR program, then this weekend will be a success. If we can put the Red Cross Ford up front, then all the better."

Crew Chief Greg Erwin on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"We are taking a brand new car to Talladega this weekend. All of our cup teams got together after Daytona to work on ideas for improvement to our superspeedway cars and those ideas were implemented in this new car. The Roush Yates Engine shop has also done a lot of work to try to improve our superspeedway engine program and I am completely confident that what we're taking to Talladega is the best of what they have. We'd be happy if we can have a run in Talladega like we did in Daytona. Our plan is to get up front as soon as possible, stay there and hopefully the wreck will happen behind us. Finishing this race is the key. Biffle hasn't finished the last four races there and I know he'd like to take the checkered flag this weekend."

Matt Kenseth Team: No.17 DEWALT Ford Fusion
Chassis: RK-582, a brand new car

Kenseth on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"We haven't been all that consistent this year. We wrecked at Daytona, did okay at Fontana, had some issues at Vegas, it just seems like we haven't really been hitting our potential yet this year. We're a good team with great resources and the capabilities of running well each week; we've just not been living up to our potential so far. So, for Talladega I'm hoping that our situation will turn around and we'll start getting the consistent top-five, top-10 finishes we're capable of.

"Talladega is just one of those unknown tracks. You could lead 190 laps, then get wrecked or lose the draft and end up finishing 43red. Last time we raced there it was a single-file line for most of the race and not a lot of fun. It's hard to say what the race will be like this time. Everyone's made a lot of progress with the new cars, so hopefully the racing will be better this time around. My hopes for the DEWALT team are making sure we're there at the end to get a good finish."

Crew Chief Chip Bolin on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"In the fall race at Talladega last year a lot of cars laid back for most of the race in hopes of avoiding "the big one." Yes, that strategy may be the smart thing to do, but that is not an option for team 17. Matt is a fierce competitor and that plan does not suit him or his racing style. So our plan of attack this time is to simply stay out of trouble. If you have a fast car, you can make your own luck at Daytona, because the faster cars will work their way to the front and be able to stay out of trouble. Talladega is pretty much a case of 43 cars riding around hoping no one will wreck you because the handling of the car is a non-issue. For me, the racing at Talladega isn't my most favorite. I just hope we can make it to the end without trouble and get a solid top-10 finish."

Jamie McMurray Team: No.26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion
Chassis: RK-529 Last outing: NSCS 99 Chassis; Daytona 500, 2008; Finished 19th
     RK-542 Last outing: Daytona; Feb. 2008; Finished 26th

McMurray on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"I think after the off weekend, all of the guys on the No.26 Crown Royal team are excited about getting back to the track this weekend in Talladega. Our restrictor-plate program at Roush Fenway has always been really strong, and I expect the same this weekend at Talladega. At Daytona we struggled a bit, but that's also because we were using our third backup car. This weekend, we have a strong Ford Fusion ready to go.

"Last year, we had a great race and were leading there at the end before the caution flag came out. We got out of there with a top-five finish. This weekend we are looking for the exact same results. Hopefully, we can stay out of trouble the entire race and get this Crown Royal team another good finish at Talladega."

Crew Chief Larry Carter on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"I really think this weekend in Talladega will be successful for the Crown Royal team. Jamie is one of the best `drafters' in the series, and with a strong car and engine under him, I'm hoping for a strong weekend. We slipped a little bit in Phoenix from the gains we were making on the points, so hopefully we can pick up this weekend in Talladega. I know all the guys at the shop are rested and ready to get back to racing. This weekend marks the first of 12 races we have in a row. Hopefully we can build on some strong race tracks and races we have coming up and get ourselves back into a strong position in the points."

Carl Edwards Team: No.99 Office Depot Fusion
Chassis: RK-581, brand new chassis

Carl Edwards on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"We've had some great runs at Talladega over the past few races there. Believe it or not, I love racing there because it's a really fast track that definitely keeps you on your toes. Hopefully we can stay out of the wrecks or, the `big one,' as some call it and we should be fine. If we can just go out there and do our job and have a little bit of good luck, it could be a place we can gain some points."

Crew Chief Chris Andrews on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"Although Talladega is always exciting for the fans a lot of the teams view it as a game of chance. The finish teams bring home from Fontana, Vegas, Atlanta, Bristol, Martinsville, Texas and Phoenix are usually a direct result of that team's preparation and execution ... but often times the finishing order at Talladega is a result of someone's big wreck. The 99 team had a competitive car at Daytona and I expect we will this weekend as well."

David Ragan Team: No.6 Discount Tire Ford Fusion
Chassis: RK-344 Last Ran at Daytona, Feb. '08, finished ninth Ran at Daytona, Jul. '07, finished 34th Ran at Daytona, Feb. '07 finished 43rd

Ragan on racing in the Nationwide Series at Talladega: #"Our Discount Tire team is ready to rebound from Mexico City. We had a bit of bad luck but we are going to Talladega where I am always excited to run. This weekend is going to be an extremely fun race. There will be a lot of competition and a lot of guys racing hard on every lap. I have to be up on the wheel all afternoon. We felt like we left a little on the table the last time we were here, and we still finished fourth. Our Discount Tire team will be ready to do whatever it takes to get to Victory Lane."

Crew Chief Mike Kelley on racing at Talladega: #"I am extremely confident we can make some noise at Talladega. Our Discount Tire Ford Fusion is very fast and we have a tremendous setup for this weekend. David had a good run at Talladega last year, so I feel like this weekend will be no different. David has matured a lot as a driver and I think he is ready to take us to the next level. As long as our Discount Tire pit crew continues to do a great job, we can secure a great finish."

NNS

Greg Biffle Team: No.16 CitiFinancial Ford Fusion
Chassis: RK-414

Biffle on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"Talladega should be a good race for us. I haven't been in the Nationwide car in a few weeks and I'm excited to get back with Eddie Pardue and the CitiFinancial team. We've had some good finishes this year but we haven't won yet and I'd love to get the CitiFinancial Ford Fusion in victory lane this weekend. I haven't had very good luck at Talladega in recent years but if we can stay out of trouble I think we'll be in good shape."

Crew Chief Eddie Pardue on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"Talladega is tough. Having a car that drafts well and having a strong engine isn't always enough. Luck always plays a big part in finishing well there. It's all about staying out of trouble and saving your equipment. Greg's experience will be a big advantage for us this weekend. He'll make smart moves and as long as we aren't in the wrong place at the wrong time, the CitiFinancial Ford Fusion should get a good finish."

Carl Edwards Team: No.60 Save-A-Lot Ford Fusion
Chassis: RK-368 Last ran at Daytona, Feb 08, finished 10th

Edwards on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"I can't wait to tackle Talladega with Save-A-Lot as our sponsor. I've had my ups and downs there, but our restrictor-plate program has been improving. Talladega is a track that is very fast, but more importantly you have to draft well with several partners. The key is to stay out of the dreaded "Big One" and finish in the top five to have a good point day."

Crew Chief Pierre Kuettel (P.K.) on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"This will be one of our most exciting races. Our Superspeedway car just keeps getting better and better. Our Save-A-Lot team hopes to improve on the 10 -place finish we got at Daytona. We know that we have to stay focused and stay out of trouble. It would be so awesome to win our first Superspeedway race at Talladega this weekend. Carl has the ability to win on any race track at any given race. I am looking forward to Saturday afternoon."

Colin Braun Team: No.6 Con-way Freight Ford F-150
Chassis: RK-45 Last outing: Atlanta, March '08 finished 28th after a flat tire Also: Braun finished ninth with this truck at Fontana in February

Braun on racing at Kansas Speedway:
"I haven't raced at Kansas yet, but I was able to run about 40 laps there during an ARCA test a few weeks ago. It's a really nice track and I think it will be a lot of fun to race there. We had a good run at our first 1.5- mile track, Atlanta, but our results don't show it. If we can keep air in all the tires this time we should have a pretty good finish. Mike (Beam) and the guys always give me fast trucks, and this one we're taking to Kansas was fast at California and Atlanta. I know there have been a lot of first-time winners at Kansas and I'd like to add my name to that list."

Crew Chief Mike Beam on racing at Kansas Speedway:
"This truck has been fast everywhere we've taken it so far this year. We got a top 10 with it in California, and could have had a great finish in Atlanta if we wouldn't have had to pit under green for a flat tire. I'm anxious to see what we can do with it in Kansas this weekend. Colin picks up new tracks pretty quickly so I expect at least another top-10 run if everything goes according to plan."

NCTS Bobby East Team: No.09 Zaxby's Ford F-150
Chassis: RK-34, Last outing: California, February '08 finished seventh with Travis Kvapil

Bobby East on racing at Kansas Speedway:
"This is a great opportunity for me to drive the Zaxby's Ford F-150. Chad (Norris) and the guys have been great to work with so far, and based on our Darlington test, this is the best equipment I've ever driven. I've been looking forward to this Kansas race for months. I've had two starts there, one in trucks in 2006 and one in a Nationwide car in 2007. It's a great track and a lot of fun to race there. I expect us to have a really good weekend."

Crew Chief Chad Norris on racing at Kansas Speedway:
"We had a good test with Bobby at Darlington a couple weeks ago so I am expecting a strong run with him at Kansas this weekend. This will be his first of seven races with us so we hope to set the tone at Kansas. He's spent a lot of time at the shop since he was added to the team a few months ago. He's focused and ready to go."

Erik Darnell Team: No.99 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford F-150
Chassis: RK389-54 Last outing: Atlanta, March `08 finished 12th

Erik Darnell on racing at Kansas Speedway:
"I'm really looking forward to getting back to the place where I picked up my first Craftsman Truck Series victory. As defending champion, there are going to be a lot of eyes watching to see if the Northern Tool + Equipment team can make it two in a row. Coming off a top-five finish in Martinsville, I hope to keep the momentum going towards another strong performance."

Crew Chief Matt Puccia on racing at Kansas Speedway:
"If we want a shot at winning this weekend, we need to qualify near the top. Because of its large size, having great track position throughout the race will play an important factor in our efforts to pick up another victory at Kansas. We're heading into the race weekend with the same truck we used at Atlanta. It tested very well before the March race and we consider it our top truck. Erik has been very pleased with the way it has handled this season."

-credit: rfr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup , NASCAR XFINITY , NASCAR Truck
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Greg Biffle , Colin Braun , Jamie McMurray , Kasey Kahne , Carl Edwards , Bobby East , David Ragan , Denny Hamlin , Erik Darnell , Greg Erwin , Mike Kelley , Travis Kvapil
Teams Roush Fenway Racing