Daytona 500: Dodge Motorsports preview

DODGE AT DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY Penske Racing recorded a 1-2 finish in last year's 50th running of the Daytona 500. Ryan Newman gave Roger Penske his first 500 win while teammate Kurt Busch finished second. Richard Petty (1973, 1974),...


Penske Racing recorded a 1-2 finish in last year's 50th running of the Daytona 500. Ryan Newman gave Roger Penske his first 500 win while teammate Kurt Busch finished second.

Richard Petty (1973, 1974), Ward Burton (2002) and Ryan Newman have posted Daytona 500 victories driving a Dodge.

Dodge returned to NASCAR's premier series in 2001 after an absence of more than 20 years (Dodge exited after the 1978 season). Bill Elliott and Evernham Motorsports made it an impressive return by claiming the pole for the season-opening Daytona 500.


Six Dodge Chargers -- Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne, David Stremme, Elliott Sadler, Reed Sorenson and Sam Hornish Jr. are locked in the field for the 51st running of the Daytona 500.

AJ Allmendinger (No. 44 Valvoline Dodge Charger) will attempt to race his way into the field of 43 in the second Gatorade Duel. He starts 19th. Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) has finished second three times in the Daytona 500 and four times in the top four in eight career starts.

Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger) has finished seventh in the last two Daytona 500s.

Elliott Sadler (No. 19 Stanley/Best Buy Dodge Charger) has five consecutive finishes of 11th or better in the Daytona 500. He finished second in the 2002 event.

Sam Hornish Jr. (No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger) was the Raybestos Rookie of the Year in last year's Daytona 500 after finishing 15th. Reed Sorenson (No. 43 McDonalds Dodge Charger) season-best finish came in last year's Daytona 500. He finished 5th.

David Stremme (No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger) -- will be making his third Sprint Cup start in the Daytona 500. He finished 11th in his last 500 start at DIS.


Mike Accavitti, Director -- Chrysler/Jeep/Brand Marketing and Dodge Motorsports

"It's great coming to Daytona as the defending Daytona 500 champion. Dodge remains firmly committed to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing. While our commitment is firm, we have a responsibility to continually evaluate and be prudent with our expenditures. Motorsports budgets have not been exempt from cuts making reductions necessary in some areas, but there is no plan to reduce our focus on on-track performance. Dodge is a performance brand and NASCAR provides a platform to showcase our brand to our target customers where they live and play."

Kurt Busch, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger

"For us to have come home pushing Ryan (Newman) to victory in last year's 500, I did feel like I really had a small bit of that victory within me. I was emotional pushing him across the line. It felt incredible to have a Penske 1-2 finish that day. But that was last year and now in the history book here at Daytona. The bottom line is that I want to win a Daytona 500 of my own. I want it to be my team there in Victory Lanecelebrating the win with Roger this time around. "Maybe -- just maybe -- this is my time at Daytona. I've always believed that if you put yourself in a position to win long enough, you're bound to win one sooner or later. We're hoping it's our turn this weekend."

Kasey Kahne -- No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger

"It (Thursday's Duel) determines the starting lineup for the Daytona 500, but I think more importantly it tells you how good your car is. You always want to start the races up front, but at Daytona and Talladega that probably isn't as important as it is just to have a good car. In these races you can be fourth on one lap and then 15th the next lap. I think the thing that we get out of Thursday's race is finding out how good our 500 car is. We felt pretty good with our Budweiser Shootout car and our 500 car is even better so I'm looking forward to see how it drafts and what we can do when we're leading a pack of cars."

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

"The Daytona 500 is the biggest race of the year and I'm really excited to get my sophomore season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series underway. We ran well in the Daytona 500 last year as a team and I feel that we should have had a top-10 finish, but we got shuffled back in the last few laps. That may have been partly because of the yellow stripe on our back bumper, so hopefully with that gone, we will finish stronger this year."

David Stremme -- No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger

"I'm back stronger mentally, even physically. I have a lot to show still. They're going to allow me to do it here at Penske. I feel good with the people that Roger (Penske) has put around me. We've got really good stuff that's going on. I'm excited. I feel like this could be a standout year for me. I'm looking forward to getting the season started."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ward Burton , Bill Elliott , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Richard Petty , Kasey Kahne , David Stremme , Elliott Sadler , Reed Sorenson , Roger Penske , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Team Penske