Dodge Unveils 'Top Banana' and 'Go ManGo!' Paint schemes for Bud Shootout RAY EVERNHAM (President, CEO -- Evernham Motorsports) Is the Charger racecar better than the Intrepid? "Oh, man, it's way better. I think it's a little bit better. I...
Dodge Unveils 'Top Banana' and 'Go ManGo!' Paint schemes for Bud Shootout
RAY EVERNHAM (President, CEO -- Evernham Motorsports)
Is the Charger racecar better than the Intrepid?
"Oh, man, it's way better. I think it's a little bit better. I mean, we were able to refine some of the nose and tail configurations. The Intrepid was built kind of for different rules, and the first year in 2001 we ran good on the speedways, and then there were a lot of rule changes and we never really ran good on the speedways after that. So, we were able to go back and do some things on this to the nose and tail on this car that should help us slightly on these tracks, Daytona and Talladega. It's not like it's a big advantage, but we were able to help it a little bit.
Is it too much to ask for Dodge to win Daytona again in this new Charger this year?
"I don't think it's ever too much to ask, but everything has got to go right for you, for sure. And again, are we going to be strong enough? I don't know. Not always the fastest car wins, you know? Some of the best race teams win. But, we'll see. It's certainly not out of the question."
On styling of the Dodge Charger nose...
"I think overall we needed to do something with the nose on our car. The straightness on the grill is more to try and keep the appearance -- we really want to get it so that, hey it's not just like that car, but if you look at the nose of it there's something there that's significantly like the production car. It's not a performance advantage or disadvantage. We just really wanted to have that Dodge DNA included in the racecar."
Is this the future look of a racecar?
"I hope so. I think that's the direction that NASCAR needs to look at -- wider greenhouse, squarer car, something that's going to have a blunter nose. I think that type car is what NASCAR would want to go to -- taller, wider safer. So, looking at that production car is the way that the racecars need to start to look.
How is Kasey responding to outside pressure to win (fans, media, etc.)
"From the outside looking in, I think he dealt with it fine. It's like everybody else. You're really disappointed Sunday night, it goes away a little bit on Monday. Then by Wednesday you're happy that you ran second and did a good job. If you keep being up there, you're going to win. When he started the season last year, if you would've said to him, 'Look, you're going to end up like this. You're not going to win, but you're going to be close this many times,' he'd have been happy as heck. It's all relative. I think he's handled it really well. He's done a good job keeping his attitude up, keeping his focus up. He believes that he's going to win. More importantly, I think they went back and analyzed the areas that they could have done to put themselves in a better position to win, and they'll do that again this year.
BO PUFFER (Manager, Dodge Motorsports Marketing) --
"As you know, about a month ago Dodge announced to the world the worst kept secret in NASCAR that we were going to be racing the Dodge Charger again. This week in Chicago we announced that we are going to produce, off the Charger body, this Charger Daytona limited production model. To help launch it to the world we thought we'd have a little fun with it and run it in the Bud Shootout. So, tomorrow Kasey Kahne will be driving the No. 9 Go ManGo! Dodge Charger, and Jeremy Mayfield will be running the No. 19 Top Banana Dodge Charger.
"What we're doing starting Wednesday -- for everybody that's still here -- please show up to Dodge City across the street, we're going to be giving thrill rides with these Dodge Charger Daytona models and the regular Dodge Charger models. You can get in them, drive them with the Skip Barber drivers, and we're also going to be polling all of the fans to find out which color vehicle we should produce next. We're going to be producing other models after this, based off of our old 1960s muscle cars -- the Sub Lime, the Tory-Red, the HEMI Orange. We're going to let everybody vote on it, and that vote will help us determine which colors we will produce."