Talladega: Dodge preview

DODGE ROOKIE CONTENDERS * Sam Hornish Jr. - The three-time IndyCar Series champion and 2006 Indy 500 winner finished 20th at Phoenix and is in the top 35 in owner points which assures him of a starting spot in Sunday's race. Hornish is the ...

DODGE ROOKIE CONTENDERS

* Sam Hornish Jr. - The three-time IndyCar Series champion and 2006 Indy 500 winner finished 20th at Phoenix and is in the top 35 in owner points which assures him of a starting spot in Sunday's race. Hornish is the Raybestos Rookie of the Year leader with 78 points, three more than Regan Smith. Dario Franchitti is third, seven points behind Hornish.

* Dario Franchitti - The reigning Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series champion finished 32nd at Phoenix. He is 40 points out of the top 35 and must qualify for the race on speed.

* Patrick Carpentier - The driver of the Dodge Charger from Gillett Evernham Motorsports finished 33rd at Phoenix. He is outside the top 35 and must qualify for the race on speed.

THE DODGE BOYS

* Ryan Newman won the first restrictor plate race of the season, the Daytona 500. Kurt Busch was second to give Penske Racing a 1-2 sweep. Dodge claimed six of the first eight positions.

* Kurt Busch finished third and seventh in last year's two events at Talladega.

* Juan Pablo Montoya has put together seven consecutive top-20 finishes to move up to 17th in the season point standings. He is 61 points out of 12th. Montoya has completed 99.81 percent (2,694) of the 2,699 laps run in the first eight races of 2008, fifth best among Sprint Cup Series competitors.

* The Dodge Charger has won at least one race in NASCAR's premier series since it returned in 2005. The Charger has been to victory lane 137 times since 1966. Dodge has 198 wins with all nameplates

DODGE AT TALLADEGA

* Richard Brinkhouse drove a winged Dodge Daytona to victory in the inaugural Talladega 500. The event was boycotted by virtually all the top NASCAR drivers.

* Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge) has six top-five and 11 top-10 finishes at Talladega. He has a driver rating of 95.0, second best among current drivers. Busch has 890 laps in the top 15 and 1,794 quality passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), a series high. He finished third and seventh, respectively, in last year's two events at the 2.66-mile oval.

* Elliott Sadler has a driver rating of 81.4 at 'Dega, 10th best. He has claimed the pole three times in 17 starts. His best finish of third came in the spring race in 2003.

* Bobby Labonte has six top-five and 11 top-10 finishes at Talladega including a win in 1998 prior to joining the Dodge ranks.

* Kyle Petty has made 52 starts at Talladega with four top-five and 19 top-10 finishes. His best finish of second came in 1985.

* Stacey Compton, driving the No. 92 Melling Racing Dodge, won the pole position at both Talladega races in 2001.

Ryan Newman: "Winning the Daytona 500 doesn't give me an advantage going into Talladega. I think it may give me more confidence for this race, but I don't think it makes me a favorite necessarily. We don't have our Daytona 500 car, but the guys have worked really hard on a new car and they are really happy with what they have seen so far, so we are excited. We've had some good runs at Talladega in the past. We got a top-five there in the first COT race last fall, which gives the team a lot of confidence for the weekend. Kurt (Busch) and I worked really well together in that race last year, too. Hopefully, we will be able to help each other out this weekend."

Kyle Petty: "I'm looking forward to going to Talladega this weekend. I really believe that we can go down there and have a good solid race. That's what we need to get back on track. In the past we have qualified well down there. That's where our weekend begins, with qualifying."

Kasey Kahne: "I like racing at Talladega, but I hate wrecking there. It's so easy to get caught up in somebody else's mess, but that's part of racing at Talladega. If you're not in one of the wrecks, it's fun running that close together for 500 miles. It's a hectic, but exciting day. Anytime we go to Talladega I know it's going to be a wild race. There are some things that are out of my control, but I have to make sure that I take care of what I can and get the Budweiser Dodge to the finish, hopefully with a chance to win." the finish, hopefully with a chance to win." Kasey Kahne Driver, No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger

-credit: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Team Penske