Darlington: Chip Ganassi Racing preview

Sterling Marlin and the No. 40 Dodge Challenger Team (NSCS) Marlin Lends a Hand at Darlington: Former CGRFS driver and NASCAR Veteran Sterling Marlin will drive the No. 40 Dodge Challenger in this Saturday night's NSCS 367-lap event at...

Sterling Marlin and the No. 40 Dodge Challenger Team (NSCS)

Marlin Lends a Hand at Darlington: Former CGRFS driver and NASCAR Veteran Sterling Marlin will drive the No. 40 Dodge Challenger in this Saturday night's NSCS 367-lap event at Darlington Raceway, while its full-time driver Dario Franchitti continues to recover from a race injury he received in the NNS event at Talladega Superspeedway last month (April 26). At this time, Marlin is confirmed to drive for CGRFS at Darlington only. He raced full-time for CGRFS when the team started in 2001, during which he scored two wins, two poles, 12 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes. Marlin led a total of 535 laps and then topped the team's rookie season off with a third-place finish in the overall championship standings. The following year, Marlin remained first in the championship standings for 25-consecutive weeks (Rockingham to Richmond) before his season was cut short due to a fractured C2 vertebra. Altogether, Marlin drove for CGRFS from 2001-2005 tallying 172 starts, four wins, three poles, 24 top-fives, 57 top-10s and led a total of 1,444 laps.

Franchitti Update: Dario Franchitti, full-time driver of the No. 40 CGRFS Dodge, will sit out this weekend's NSCS race at Darlington Raceway. Franchitti was fitted for a carbon fiber brace last week but will take another weekend off to give his ankle more time to heal. His status behind the wheel of the No. 40 Dodge will continue to be evaluated on a week-to-week basis.

Reed Sorenson and the No. 41 Target Dodge Team (NSCS)

Too Tough to Tame: Sorenson will be making his sixth-career start at Darlington Raceway with a NSCS best finish of 11th in 2006. In the Nationwide Series, Sorenson has two top-15 finishes in three starts. Last year, the No. 41 Target Dodge suffered a blown right-front tire resulting in Sorenson hitting the outside wall. The team went behind the wall to make the necessary repairs to get back on track. Sorenson managed to pick up a few spots to finish 40th at the end of the night.

In the points: The Target Team moved up two positions to 30th in the NSCS owner standings after posting a 12th-place finish at Richmond International Raceway last weekend. Sorenson is 203 points out of 20th and 357 out of 12th, the final cut-off to the Chase.

Last Weekend: The Target team had a momentum building weekend in Richmond. Sorenson qualified the No. 41 Target Dodge fifth for the event, marking his highest qualifying run this season for the Target team. The team managed to avoid the big wreck and cross the finish line 12th.

Lowe's Motor Speedway Test Session: The No. 41 Target Dodge team, led by Donnie Wingo, spent Monday and Tuesday at Lowe's Motor Speedway testing for the upcoming NSCS events at the 1.5-mile quad-oval May 16-May25.

Juan Pablo Montoya and the No. 42 Wrigley's™ Big Red® Dodge (NSCS)

Darlington '07: Montoya has competed in just one NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway and his first experience at the track dubbed "Too Tough to Tame" was an eventful one. Montoya and the No. 42 team overcame a rain postponement, an incident on the track and a run-in on pit road to finish 23rd. The top-25 finish also earned him rookie of the race honors last year.

2008 Standings: Montoya slipped four positions in the standings after his 32nd-place finish at Richmond International Raceway last weekend. Montoya was 12th after his runner-up finish at Talladega, but dropped to 16th heading into this weekend's race. Despite sitting outside the top 15, Montoya is just 66 points out of the top 12. Positions 12 through 17 in the standings are separated by less than 100 points. Following the Richmond race in 2007, Montoya and the No. 42 team were sitting 21st in points.

Last Race: Montoya spun on lap 138 and then was collected in a multi-car incident on lap 231 that forced the No. 42 Dodge behind the wall for repairs at Richmond International Raceway (RIR). The No. 42 crew repaired the damaged Dodge in 20 laps and then sent Montoya back on the track to take the checkered flag in 32nd place. By repairing the car, the team was able to gain five positions on the track before the end of the race.

Testing: The No. 42 team participated in the two-day NASCAR sanctioned test at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Monday and Tuesday. It was the first test session for Montoya and Crew Chief Jimmy Elledge.

NNS

Bryan Clauson and the No. 40 Fastenal Dodge Team (NNS)

First Start at Darlington: Bryan Clauson will be making his career-first NASCAR start at Darlington Raceway this Friday night, which will mark his seventh start of the 2008 season and 12th career start.

Rookie Update: Clauson was the Raybestos® Rookie of the Race last weekend at Richmond International Raceway (finished 21st), which was the second time this 2008 season the 18-year-old racer has claimed rookie of the race honors. Clauson's fellow Fastenal Racing teammate Dario Franchitti still leads the NNS rookie class with a 26-point lead (89-63) over Clauson, who is second overall.

Standings Update: The No. 40 Fastenal Team stands 17th in the overall NNS owner points. With a current tally of 1,212, the team is 130 points away from the top 10 and 460 points outside of first.

CHASSIS INFO

No. 40 Dodge Challenger (NSCS): Chassis #819. This 2008 car has been run in one race so far this year at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway in early March (started 42nd, finished 33rd).

No. 41 Target Dodge (NSCS): Chassis #633. This chassis is the same car Sorenson and the No. 41 Target Team ran at Atlanta Motor Speedway earlier this season to a 31st-place finish. Sorenson also raced the same car last year at Bristol (Spring) and Darlington.

No. 42 Big Red Dodge (NSCS): Chassis #731. Montoya and the team raced this chassis just once this season at California Speedway and earned a 20th-place finish.

No. 40 Fastenal Dodge (NNS): Chassis #653. This will be the fifth start of the 2008 season for this car. Its most recent run was at Texas Motor Speedway in early April when Franchitti drove it to an 11th-place finish (started 21st). Prior to that, the car was run at Fontana (24th-place finish with Franchitti), Las Vegas (sixth-place finish with Franchitti) and Bristol (22nd-place finish with Franchitti) already this season.

Sorenson speaks about racing at Darlington Raceway: "It's one of those racetracks where you try to save as much tire as you can, but it is very difficult to do. It is a place where you have to be careful to not get close to the wall because it seems to jump out at you. You also have to race the race track and not worry about those around you. This is a place that doesn't reward aggressiveness especially early on in a run."

Reed on Mother's Day: "My parents have always been extremely supportive of my racing career. My parents have put in a lot of hard work to get me where I am today. My mom took on a great deal of the business side of my racing early. The best Mother's Day present would be meeting her in Victory Lane this weekend in Darlington. It would be a great way to show that her support has paid off."

-credit: cgr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup , NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing