Daytona Duel: Richard Petty Motorsports race report

KASEY KAHNE * No. 9 DODGE CHARGER Kahne started 19th in first Duel and finished sixth. Reported car was difficult to turn after making contact with Mike Skinner on lap 13 and damaged right front fender. Moved into the top five in the closing...

KASEY KAHNE * No. 9 DODGE CHARGER

Kahne started 19th in first Duel and finished sixth.

Reported car was difficult to turn after making contact with Mike Skinner on lap 13 and damaged right front fender.

Moved into the top five in the closing laps.

KAHNE:
Duel-- "The Budweiser Dodge drove OK, but the car was pushing. I got a little damage in that last wreck, but that's no problem. The next two days, we'll have to get the car to run better. We have to figure out how to make the engine run better. The car is OK when I've got a car in front and one behind me. I didn't get a lot of drafting help today, so we have some work to do.

Daytona 500-- "I think you hear a lot of people refer to it as just one race out of the 36 we will run all season but I think it's important to start the year off right and with a good finish. It's obviously a big race -- our biggest race -- and it's a good feeling to be able to leave Daytona with a good finish rather than leaving with a DNF or a bad performance. I've been at both ends leaving Daytona and I can tell you it gives you a lot of confidence to be able to leave here with a good finish."

ELLIOTT SADLER * No. 19 DODGE CHARGER

Sadler started 16th and finished 17th on Thursday helping Allmendinger throughout.

Sadler scored the seventh most points of any driver in the last ten Daytona races.

SADLER:
Sunday's marks Stanley's first primary sponsorship in the Daytona 500.

"Once the (qualifying) rules changed and we knew AJ (Allmendinger) wasn't in the (Daytona) 500, we knew it was our job to make sure we did everything we could to help him out. I feel like Reed (Sorenson) and I did all that we could to get that fourth Petty car in the biggest race of the year. When I saw him hung out by himself going into Turn 1 I was like, 'Oh Boy'. So I just fell back there behind him and hit him as hard as I could down the backstretch and kept trying to stay in-between (Allmendinger) and the 71 (Mike Wallace) and 78 (Joe Nemechek). It paid off. We got all four cars in the show and that's a great start to a new season."

Daytona 500 - "We are ready. Everything has gone well this week. We've learned a lot about the Stanley Dodge and I think we are as prepared as we can be. It's just about going out there and getting the job done. Short of getting married and personal stuff I think winning the Daytona 500 would be the greatest day of my life. That's why we do what we do. There's going to be one heck of a party in Emporia, Va. when the No. 19 wins Sunday."

REED SORENSON * No. 43 DODGE CHARGER

Sorenson helped AJ Allmendinger in the closing laps of the second race.

The McDonald's Dodge ran at the front of the field in the early portions of the race.

Sorenson scored the 13th most points of any driver in the last four Daytona races.

SORENSON:
DUEL--"We were decent. The most important thing today was to make sure that the 44 got into the 500. Elliott (Sadler) and I saw AJ in the back of the field early in the run and we knew that it was our job to help push him to the front. Once we were all able to get together and give him (Allmendinger) a push, we felt pretty good that he was going to do his job to stay safe and make it into the 500. Mission accomplished.

Daytona 500--"It's always pretty wild out there. I remember last year was probably my best year at Daytona where I ran good in all three races that I ran. I got second in the Duel -- I remember we had a restart with a green-white-checkered and I was pushing Dale Earnhardt Jr. all the way through turns one and two.Coming out of two we had a big enough lead on the third-place guy that they were never able to catch us, so we finished first-second and that was pretty cool. I'd just be happy to win. It would be my first win. I can tell you that it would be great to get that No. 43 back into victory lane here at Daytona for Mr. Petty. That would mean a lot to me."

AJ ALLMENDINGER * No. 44 DODGE CHARGER

AJ Allmendinger started 19th in second Duel and finished 10th. Will make his first start in the Daytona 500 on Sunday starting 20th.

Earned Daytona 500 start by finishing second of the 11 non-qualified cars in the second race.

Thanked teammates Elliott Sadler and Reed Sorenson and their sponsors following the race for their teamwork.

ALLMENDINGER: "It means so much to the whole Richard Petty Motorsports organization, getting in the Daytona 500. The Valvoline Dodge, it wasn't what we wanted. We were struggling. I honestly have to thank my teammates Elliott and Reed and Stanley and McDonalds for halfway ruining their race to come back and save me. We were struggling really badly. I also have to thank the No. 9 guys, the Budweiser team, they pitted my car today. Obviously, it was a whole team effort. I'm proud of these 44 (Valvoline team) guys and everybody in the organization. My team worked hard to get this ready. This is such a tough race to make. I'm just happy to do what Valvoline and our team set out to do -- make the Daytona 500. "We can celebrate a little tonight and then get ready to race in the 500. I haven't slept well for about a week and half now. This year, I felt like I deserved to be in this race. I earned my way in. This whole team deserved it for how hard they've worked the last few weeks after we put this program together. I feel like there was more pressure on my shoulders than there has ever been. The first half of the race, I wasn't happy, but my teammates came back there and saved me. They were running strong, but came back to get me."

CREW CHIEF SAMMY JOHNS "I can't say enough about the 19 and 43 and the 9 pit crew. That was teamwork right there. AJ did a whale of a job driving the racecar. We were way too loose, but he did what he needed to do. Our tires looked great when they came off which tells me he was doing an even better job than we realized. When we came in, the 9 crew did an awesome job on the pit stop and got us the track position that we needed. Then, the 19 and 43 took care of us."

MARK MCARDLE (Vice President of Competition) "It was a stressful day, that's for sure. It was great teamwork between the 19 and the 43 to come back and pick up the 44 and stay with him the rest of the race and put us in a solid transfer spot. Everybody did a great job in the pits. It was just a really, really solid example of three cars working together in accomplishing the goal today which was to get that 44 in the 500. Now that we have all four (Richard Petty Motorsports) in, it's our job to make them faster."

-credit: rpm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Joe Nemechek , Mike Wallace , Richard Petty , Elliott Sadler , Reed Sorenson
Teams Richard Petty Motorsports