Roush Fenway Racing Talladega preview

Roush Fenway Racing Talladega Superspeedway Talladega, Ala. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Amp Energy 500 Sunday, October 5 David Ragan No.6 AAA Travel Ford Fusion Greg Biffle No.163M Ford Fusion Matt Kenseth No.17 ...

Roush Fenway Racing
Talladega Superspeedway
Talladega, Ala.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Amp Energy 500
Sunday, October 5

David Ragan        No.6 AAA Travel Ford Fusion

Greg Biffle No.163M Ford Fusion
Matt Kenseth No.17 DeWALT Ford Fusion
Jamie McMurray No.26 BernzOmatic Fat Boy Ford Fusion
Carl Edwards No.99 Office Depot Ford Fusion

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series: Mountain Dew 250 Fueled By Winn Dixie
Saturday, October 4

Colin Braun        No.6 Con-way Freight Ford F-150

John Wes Townley No.09 Zaxby's Ford F-150
Erik Darnell No.99 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford F-150

FAST FACTS

David Ragan

* Ragan has visited Talladega Superspeedway three times throughout his career. His best finish came in the spring of 2008 where he qualified sixth and finished fourth.

* Ragan has competed two times in the Nationwide Series at Talladega Superspeedway. In 2007 he qualified seventh and finished fourth.

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

***

Greg Biffle

* In addition to Biffle's Cup stats at Talladega, he also has two top-10 finishes in the Nationwide Series at the Alabama superspeedway.

* Biffle picked up 13 positions after starting 31st in the spring race at Talladega for an 18th - place finish.

* Biffle finished third last week in Kansas and currently sits third in the point standings.

* Biffle is 30 points out of the lead currently held by Jimmie Johnson.

* This weekend Biffle will run the primary 3M paint scheme.

***

Matt Kenseth

* Matt Kenseth will make his 18th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend in the AMP Energy 500.

* For the Record... In 17 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.

* Kenseth has completed 2985 of 3208 (93.0 %) laps attempted at Talladega he has led a total of 131 laps there 70 of which have been led over the past three years.

* On the track...The No.17 DEWALT team will be unloading RK-582 this weekend at Talladega. Kenseth has raced this car twice this year. First at the spring Talladega race. He started that race 13th and finished 41st after the No.17 suffered a blown tire on lap 19. Kenseth also raced this car at Daytona in July of this year. He started that race 19th and finished third a career-best for Kenseth at Daytona.

* Rewind... In a rollercoaster of a day filled with highs and lows, Kenseth and company overcame many obstacles en route to a fifth-place finish. After securing a season-best third-place qualifying effort and turning fast times during the weekend's practice sessions, it looked as though the DEWALT team would be serious contenders in Sunday's 267-lap event. However, a mishap in the pits and an incident on the track set the No.17 team back. In spite of the problems, the determined DEWALT team forged ahead and succeeded in the end.

* The CHASE is on... Three races in the Chase for the Sprint Cup are complete and Kenseth is currently ranked ninth in the point standings with 5383 points - 192 points behind the leader, Jimmie Johnson.

***

Jamie McMurray

* In 12 visits to the 2.66-mile speedway, Jamie McMurray has posted four top-10 finishes.

* Spring vs. Fall On average, McMurray runs better in the Talladega spring race. In five spring races, McMurray averages a 11.3 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.

* McMurray averages a 17.8 in both starting and finishing position at the 2.66-mile speedway.

***

Carl Edwards

* Carl Edwards enters Talladega second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings, 10 markers behind leader Jimmie Johnson.

* In the 29 races held thus far in 2008, Edwards has accumulated one pole, six wins, 14 top-five and 22 top-10 finishes. Edwards leads all drivers in top-10 finishes so far in 2008 with 22.

* Edwards' average start at Talladega Speedway is 16.8, his average finish is 24.0.

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

* The Office Depot team will be bringing chassis RK-593 to Talladega. This is a brand-new chassis.

* Edwards will carry the red and black colors of Office Depot this Sunday. Office Depot store #2217 from San Francisco, Calif., 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
Crew Chief: Jimmy Fennig
Chassis: RK-589 Last outing: Daytona, July '08 finished fifth
     RK-522 Last outing: Talladega, October '07 finished 34th

Ragan on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"I'm definitely excited to head to Talladega this weekend. Restrictor plate races are always fun and exciting for the fans to watch and for us to drive. You never quite know what is going to happen so that keeps the fans on the edge of their seats. We are bringing the same car we ran well with in the spring at Talladega so we should be able to get another top-five finish, or maybe even be up there at the end and go for the win."

Crew chief Jimmy Fennig on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"This weekend should be pretty good for us. David has been running well on these restrictor-plate tracks, and we are bringing the same car that finished fourth there in the spring and fifth at Daytona. The top-10 run at Kansas last week was a good run for us and gives David confidence, and the team momentum going into this weekend at Talladega."

GREG BIFFLE
Team: No.163M Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Greg Erwin
Chassis: RK - 583 Last outing: 2nd Daytona (Finished 43rd/Accident)

Biffle on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"I can't wait to get to Talladega. We'll be one race closer to deciding who the champion will be. I'm ready for it. You can either be on edge at times in the race, or at other times it gets strung out. You just never know what to expect. Pit stops can be important but at the end of the day, there's not really a whole lot you can do to prepare for what can happen on the track without a moments notice. The spotters play a huge role in racing at Talladega. I rely on Joel (Edmonds, spotter) to let me know what's going on all around me throughout the race. Other than that, you just have to try to race smart and hope things work out."

Crew chief Greg Erwin on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"We're taking the same car that we raced at Talladega in April and Daytona in July. The car has obviously been rebuilt since Daytona but it has not been tested. We weren't very happy with our qualifying effort at Talladega in April so we have been working on finding out where we went wrong. We intend to be more competitive when we go back this time and finish the race in a respectable position. We can't treat it any different than any other race at Talladega even though the stakes are certainly higher. The outcome of this race for us will be dependant upon smart decisions by the crew, the driver and the spotter."

Matt Kenseth
Team: No.17 DEWALT Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Chip Bolin
Chassis: RK-582 Raced Talladega in April of this year (started 13th, finished 41st) and Daytona in July (started 19th, finished third).

Kenseth on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"Talladega is just one of those unknown tracks. You could lead 190 laps, then get wrecked or lose the draft and end up finishing 43rd. Last time we raced there we cut a tire on lap 19 and ended up finishing 41st - 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, so really it's anyone's race. My hopes for the DEWALT team are to make sure we're there at the end to get a good finish.

"We have made a lot of improvements over the last two races. Our cars have been really fast and we've been able to lead laps and race up front. But, we've also made some mistakes that have cost us a lot. With six races to go in the Chase and being so far behind from New Hampshire, you just can't afford to have any mistakes. We'll just take it one week at a time, dig hard each week, and try to get 'em."

Crew chief Chip Bolin on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"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. 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. And that was the case at Daytona in July. We had a good car and were able to run up front and get a really good finish. Talladega, on the other hand is pretty much a case of 43 cars riding around hoping no one will wreck you because the handling of the car is a nonissue. So, basically we'll unload and hope for the best and wait and see what happens in the race."

Jamie McMurray
Team: No.26 BernzOmatic Fat Boy Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Larry Carter
Chassis: RK-590 Last outing: Daytona; July 2008; Finished 32nd
     RK-542 Last outing: Daytona; Feb.2008; Finished 26th

McMurray on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"Going to Talladega is always a race that I feel I can win at each time we race there. It's also one of those tracks were your day can be ruined just as quickly as winning. That's the thing with Talladega, you can have a great race all day and then three laps from the finish, someone gets excited and does something completely out of character and it ruins the day for a lot of guys. It's going to be interesting to see how the race plays out and hopefully, we can be there at the end. It's a great race and I always look forward to drafting, so we'll just have to see how it all works out for us this weekend.

"This weekend, the No.26 car will have a completely different look to it. We are running the No.26 BernzOmatic Fat Boy Ford Fusion. We've had some luck in the past with special paint schemes at restrictor-plate tracks, so hopefully we'll have the same luck this weekend."

Crew chief Larry Carter on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"I've always said that Jamie is one of the best `drafters' in the series. He has always been good at judging which is the best line to run with and which line looks like it is moving the best. Talladega is so different with this new car. Everyone basically has the same handling, so when you unload on Friday, if your car is fast, you will have a good weekend, if you unload slow, there really isn't anything you can do. I know all the guys at the Roush-Yates engine shop have been putting in some long hours with the restrictor-plate engine. This is their weekend to shine, and hopefully we can be there at the end in our No.26 BernzOmatic Fat Boy Ford Fusion."

Carl Edwards
Team: No.99 Office Depot Fusion
Crew Chief: Bob Osborne
Chassis: RK-593 Brand-new chassis

Carl Edwards on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"Believe it or not, I love racing at Talladega 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. We had a great race last weekend at Kansas, and the Office Depot team has been very strong thus far in The Chase."

Crew chief Bob Osborne on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"Talladega is a tough track. Your fate is controlled by others around you. You can have a fast car, but if the drivers around you aren't willing to work with you, or hang you out to dry, your potential to win can be erased by no fault of your own. We've run well at Talladega in the past, and we've struggled there as well. We didn't have the results we expected to have in the spring, but we learned from that and we feel that we'll have a very strong Office Depot Ford Fusion come Sunday."

NCTS

Colin Braun
Team: No.6 Con-way Freight Ford F-150
Crew Chief: Mike Beam
Chassis: RK-23 Last outing: Talladega '06 won with Mark Martin

Braun on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"Running the ARCA race at Talladega last fall taught me the lesson that even if somebody says they'll go with you at the end, it's every man for himself with a few laps to go. I was running up front and Frank Kimmel said he'd go with me, but he didn't and I ended up ninth instead of getting pushed to the front. At the Daytona truck race in February I just rode around the bottom of the track and that seemed to work to stay out of trouble, although we still got caught in a wreck early in the race. This weekend I'll be smarter about my strategy at the end of the race remembering my lesson from last year."

Crew chief Mike Beam on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"We're taking the same truck Mark Martin won with in 2006. We had built a new truck for this race but the wind tunnel numbers weren't what we hoped for, so we went back to a truck we knew had been good in the past. Sometimes newer is not always better. Colin just needs to be patient during the race and try to make friends when he can."

John Wes Townley
Team: No.09 Zaxby's Ford F-150
Crew Chief: Chad Norris
Chassis: RK-52 Last outing: Daytona with Colin Braun

John Wes Townley on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"I can't wait to get to Talladega. I always enjoy running the big tracks, and Talladega is the largest one of them all. As an 18-year old driver, my drafting experience at a track like Talladega is very limited. But I'll be running Friday's ARCA race at Talladega, so that will give me a good idea on what to expect in Saturday's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race.

"I'll try to get in formation with my Roush Fenway Racing teammates, Erik Darnell and Colin Braun, and learn from them while trying to get the Zaxby's Ford F-150 toward the front of the field."

Crew chief Chad Norris on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"We've got a good truck for this weekend. It's the same one Colin (Braun) raced at Daytona in February. I'm glad John Wes is running the ARCA race on Friday so he'll have some additional experience drafting. Talladega is a pretty intense race, so any extra experience a driver can get is a bonus."

Erik Darnell
Team: No.99 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford F-150
Crew Chief: Matt Puccia
Chassis: RK-31 Last outing: Daytona, February '08 finished 21st

Erik Darnell on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"Talladega has certainly gotten the best of me the past two years. I started both races from inside the top 10, but was involved in an accident last year and just couldn't get things going back in 2006. I'm hoping this Northern Tool + Equipment team will have better luck this time around. Talladega is so much fun because it's so wide open. Hitting speeds at 180 mph while going four or five wide down the back stretch is pretty intense. You have to play it smart out there or you may just find yourself caught up in the `Big One.' The team has had a week off to regroup following the disappointing finish at Las Vegas, but it was a great point day for the No.99 team and hopefully we can pick up where we left off."

Crew chief Matt Puccia on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"We're heading down to Talladega with the truck Erik grabbed the pole with back at Daytona. It was definitely the truck to beat that day, but unfortunately a late wreck coming down pit road ended a great day for the Northern Tool + Equipment team. Talladega is a track Erik tends to do well at even though you wouldn't tell by where he has finished. The team has been through plenty of ups and downs since Daytona, but we have fought through the adversity and it's showing of late. If Erik continues to drive the way he has over the past couple of months, Saturday afternoon could be a very good day for the No.99 team."

-credit: rfr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Greg Biffle , Colin Braun , Jimmie Johnson , Jamie McMurray , Carl Edwards , David Ragan , Erik Darnell , John Wes Townley , Greg Erwin , Mark Martin
Teams Roush Fenway Racing