Darlington: Dodge Motorsports preview

TURNING BACK THE CLOCK -- 30 YEARS AGO At the 1970 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, Buddy Baker drove his 1969 Dodge to victory for his first win at the track referred to as the "Lady in Black". Driving for legendary Cotton Owens, Baker led...


At the 1970 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, Buddy Baker drove his 1969 Dodge to victory for his first win at the track referred to as the "Lady in Black". Driving for legendary Cotton Owens, Baker led 88 of 367 laps. He had two wins at Darlington.

KURT BUSCH ON TURN 2 AT DARLINGTON "It's the coolest turn in NASCAR. I sat on the pole here my rookie year and did it because I didn't know what I was doing. I didn't know any better not to lift. It's definitely a challenging corner that will test everybody. It will separate the men from the boys."

KURT BUSCH ON HIS 2003 RUNNER-UP FINISH AT DARLINGTON RACEWAY "It seems to actually sting more over the years. It didn't really sting that bad when it happened. I thought then that it was so close, but I still had so many opportunities to win at Darlington coming up. I haven't even been anywhere near winning like that since then. The more I tell the story the more I feel that I might can chop down that two-thousandths of a second and maybe finally wind up winning the thing. It was one of the most dramatic finishes ever in NASCAR and it will always be a part of history. I was proud to be part of it there that day."


Steve Addington, crew chief, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge

"Winning a race in your home state makes it really special. It's like what winning at (Las) Vegas is to Kurt and Kyle. I used to watch all the great drivers win races there -- guys like David Pearson, Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough. You have to be smart and survive having to race the track every lap. We didn't get to (participate in the) tire test there, so I'm sure we'll be really thrashing on Friday. It'd be a great thrill to get us another Darlington win there on Saturday night with Kurt and the Miller Lite Dodge."

Travis Geisler, crew chief, No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge

"The Showtime Southern 500 at Darlington is one of the toughest races of the season. The track is still very fast from the recent repaving and the preferred line is still inches from the wall. One concern going into the weekend will be the new spoiler design. Typically, most cars rub the wall at some point and cause minor damage. The new spoiler extends to the outside edge of the right side so it will likely be bent severely if contact with the wall is made, and this will cause a major loss in downforce. "

Jay Guy, crew chief, No. 12 Penske Dodge

"It's always a challenge to run at Darlington. There is a fine line of racing other people and racing the track. You find a good race pace and work on handling to keep the car turning from the center out. People get in trouble by racing each other too hard and the 'Lady in Black' will reach out and grab you. Race hard and race the track and you will put yourself in contention for the win at the end of the night."


Kurt Busch -- No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger

"All the tracks in the Southeast definitely have their place in history. They have been on the circuit the longest. They all have their own unique identity because they were the first tracks built and that's where our sport started. Darlington was one of the first speedways to be built and it was built way too early to handle the speeds that grew with the cars and all the years that NASCAR has been racing there. It's been a testament of challenge through history to deal with the speed and the close confines there, keeping your car's speed up, yet keeping it off the wall lap after lap."

Sam Hornish Jr. -- No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger

"Although the statistics don't reflect it, I really like Darlington Raceway and look forward to racing there each year. It's a challenging track and a tough race for sure. The outside line is preferred and you have to drive within inches of the wall. You have to prepare yourself mentally to brush the wall, or get a Darlington stripe, without losing your focus or much speed. You have to be alert and on the edge for the entire race. It's definitely a driver's racetrack and a fan favorite."

Brad Keselowski -- No. 12 Penske Racing Dodge Charger

"Darlington is one of my favorite tracks. I wish we had more like it on the schedule. It's just a tough, old racetrack that is nothing like anywhere else we go. I never had the opportunity to race there when the asphalt was worn out and I would have loved that. Hopefully I'll have a long career and I'll be able to see it get back to that 'slipping and sliding' racing that used to be so cool to watch on TV. Back in the day, the Southern 500 was one of our biggest races. It would mean a lot to me to have that trophy."

-source: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kurt Busch , Brad Keselowski , Travis Geisler , Buddy Baker , Cale Yarborough , Sam Hornish Jr. , David Pearson
Teams Team Penske