Dodge Motorsports Weekend preview 2002-04-04

Winston Cup, Outlaws headed to Texas; The Strip at Vegas to host NHRA action FORT WORTH, Texas (April 4, 2002) - Dodge NASCAR Winston Cup Series teams will return to action this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway in the Samsung/RadioShack 500,...

Winston Cup, Outlaws headed to Texas; The Strip at Vegas to host NHRA action

FORT WORTH, Texas (April 4, 2002) - Dodge NASCAR Winston Cup Series teams will return to action this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway in the Samsung/RadioShack 500, while Mark Kinser's Mopar-powered Maxim will try to regain its top 10 form in the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series Southern Bleacher Classic race at the Texas Motor Speedway short track.

Mopar Motorsports NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series teams will compete in the NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway beginning Thursday, with the final round slated for Sunday afternoon.

Here is the weekend lineup for Dodge- and Mopar-backed cars and trucks:

* Friday, April 5 - NASCAR Winston Cup Series Samsung/RadioShack 500 Qualifying at Texas Motor Speedway: Televised live at 4:00 p.m. (EST) on Fox Sports Net; Radio broadcast live on PRN.

* Friday, April 5-6 - NHRA POWERade Nationals Qualifying at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway: Television broadcast Saturday, 8-10:30 p.m. (EST) on ESPN2.

* Friday, April 5-6 - Pennzoil World of Outlaws Southern Bleacher Classic at the dirt track at Texas Motor Speedway. Radio broadcast on SCN Radio begins at 9:00 p.m. (EST) Friday and Saturday. Broadcast may be heard via internet at

* Saturday, April 6 - NASCAR Winston Cup Series Happy Hour: Televised live at 12:00 p.m. (EST) on FX.

* Sunday, April 7 - NHRA POWERade Nationals final round: Televised on ESPN2, 10:00 p.m.-midnight (EST). Repeat of final round on Tuesday, April 9, 1:00-3:00 p.m. (EST) on ESPN2.

* Sunday, April 7 - NASCAR Winston Cup Series Samsung/RadioShack 500 pre-race show 12:30 p.m. on PRN-radio and 1:30 p.m. on TV-FOX. Live broadcast of Samsung/RadioShack 500, TV-Fox and MRN Radio at 2 p.m. (EST)

NASCAR Winston Cup Series

Sterling Marlin will try to bounce back from a 19th-place finish in the Food City 500 two weeks ago at Bristol Motor Speedway. Marlin, 44-year-old driver of the No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T owned by Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates, remains at the head of the NASCAR class despite his first finish outside of the top 10 in the past nine races.

Marlin leads Matt Kenseth by 99 points after 6 of 36 races on the 2002 schedule. Marlin remained first in the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings for the fifth straight race. He is the only driver to score five top-10 finishes in six races in 2002 and is also the only driver to remain in the top 10 in the point standings since the Daytona 500 in 2001.

Marlin has competed in all five NASCAR Winston Cup races at Texas Motor Speedway, scoring two top-10 finishes, but has never won at the Texas track. He scored two 34th-place finishes in his last two visits. This year, he will bring undefeated chassis 203 to Texas. Marlin won at Las Vegas and Darlington in the chassis and will look to go three for three with a win on Sunday in the lucky 203 setup.

Jeremy Mayfield, driver of the No. 19 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T owned by Ray Evernham, likes the high-speed Texas track but is concerned about a second groove.

"They repaved the track, and I'm sure it's going to be smooth and fast," said Mayfield, who finished second earlier this season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. "Texas has been one of my favorite tracks. I'm just worried about a second groove coming in so we can race two wide.

"I think we've been getting better every week. I'm getting real comfortable with the car, and about all I can say right now is stay tuned. We've got some good tracks coming up, tracks that I've won on like California and Pocono, and I can't wait to get there. I'm looking forward to Sunday's race at Texas, too."

Pennzoil World of Outlaws

Mark Kinser has been so consistent this season on the Pennzoil World of Outlaw Series that he even puts together back-to-back 11th-place runs. Two weeks ago, Kinser put together back-to-back wins and vaulted to the top of the series standings. Last week, just days after Kinser and his wife Cindy welcomed their second child into the world, Kinser finished 11th on consecutive nights at Joplin, Mo., and Pevely, Mo. Consequently, Kinser dropped to second in the standings, eight points behind defending Outlaws champ Danny Lasoski.

Kinser's Mopar-powered Maxim will try to regain its top 10 form on Friday and Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway in the Southern Bleacher Classic.

NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series

Dean Skuza, who drives the Mopar Parts Dodge Stratus R/T, will try to improve upon his two-straight semifinal round appearances at The Strip at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Last year, Skuza defeated John Force Racing's Tony Pedregon and John Force before losing to eventual race winner Tommy Johnson, Jr., in the Funny Car semifinals.

Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T driver Darrell Alderman logged his 28th career victory at the most recent Gatornationals at Gainesville, vaulting the three-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock World Champion into seventh place in points, only three behind Kurt Johnson.

"That victory really put us in a good points position," Alderman said. "It's early in the season, so points can move you up and down quickly, but it really helps get us out of the hole we were digging early in the season. With another good weekend, we can move solidly into the top five. I really want to go after this championship. I think we have everything in place to do it."

Nickens Brothers Racing, which fields the Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T entries of Alderman and rookie competitor Gene Wilson, completed testing at Gainesville Raceway on the Monday following the Gatornationals.

"We were trying to work with the clutch set up so that it would give the car better grip off the starting line," Alderman noted. "We need to work with tightening up the feel in order to get some one-flat, 60-foot times. We need to pick up our elapsed times to be more consistent, and a good 60-foot time is an important part of that."

Wilson missed qualifying for his first NHRA Pro Stock race by .002 of a second.


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup , NHRA , World of Outlaws
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Jeremy Mayfield , Darrell Alderman , Kurt Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Dean Skuza , John Force , Sterling Marlin , Mark Kinser , Tommy Johnson , Gene Wilson , Danny Lasoski , Ray Evernham , Chip Ganassi , Felix Sabates