Dodge Motorsports Weekend preview 2002-04-12

Burton hopes to bounce back at Martinsville; Mark Kinser leads World of Outlaws to Eldora. MARTINSVILLE, Va. (April 11, 2002) - Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton has had some rough rides in the past three races for car owner Bill Davis and the No....

Burton hopes to bounce back at Martinsville; Mark Kinser leads World of Outlaws to Eldora.

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (April 11, 2002) - Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton has had some rough rides in the past three races for car owner Bill Davis and the No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T Motorsports team.

The 40-year-old driver from South Boston, Va., hopes a little home cooking in Sunday's Virginia 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race at Martinsville Speedway can stop the bleeding. Burton is fresh off a career-best third-place finish at the .526-mile track last October, and he's counting on another top-five performance on Sunday.

"Martinsville has been up and down for us," Burton said. "Our short track program, particularly with (crew chief) Tommy Baldwin and I working together and the support group he's got at the shop, has improved a lot. We know that's a place where we can run well.

"You need everything at Martinsville. It's like everywhere else we go. You've got to have it all sitting under you and at the same time have some patience and go with the flow a little bit. Last year was probably one of the most consistent runs we've ever had at Martinsville. We ran in the top five and top 10 most of the day, and that's our goal again on Sunday."

Burton has finished 31st, 25th and 43rd in the past three races and dropped from seventh to 15th in the NASCAR Winston Cup Standings. Burton is still only 75 points behind 10th-place Bill Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T and 320 behind points leader Sterling Marlin, driver of the No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T.

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will join the Winston Cuppers at Martinsville. The Advance Auto Parts 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race gets the green flag on Saturday at 2 p.m. Dodge Ram drivers Ted Musgrave and Robert Pressley have finished 1-2 in the first two races this season and enter Saturday's race tied for the series points lead.

Mark Kinser, driver of the Mopar-powered Maxim in the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series, will enter weekend action at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, with a two-point advantage over defending series champion Danny Lasoski after the first 11 Outlaw races in 2002.

The POWERade NHRA Drag Racing series heads to Houston Raceway Park in Baytown Texas on Saturday and Sunday with Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T driver Darrell Alderman looking to improve on his fourth-place ranking in the NHRA POWERade Pro Stock point chase.

TV and Radio Schedule for weekend motorsports action.

* Friday, April 12 - Qualifying for Virginia 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race in Martinsville, Va. 3:05 p.m. (EST) TV-FSN. MRN radio and NASCAR.com will air the radio broadcast.

* Saturday, April 13 - NASCAR Winston Cup Happy Hour, 12:15-1 TV-FX p.m. tape delay at 7 p.m.

* Saturday, April 13 - NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Advance Auto Parts 250 in Martinsville, Va. Radio broadcast provided by MRN at 1:30 p.m. (EST), and television at 2:00 p.m. on ESPN2.

* Saturday, April 13 - NHRA O'Reilly Spring Nationals qualifying at Houston Raceway Park. 7:30-10:00 p.m. (EST), ESPN2

* Sunday, April 14 - Virginia 500 NASCAR Winston Cup Race. TV-FX and MRN Radio will air pre-race show at 12:30 p.m., and live race broadcast at 1:00 p.m.

* Sunday, April 14 - Final Round POWERade NHRA O'Reilly Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park. 8-10 p.m., ESPN2. Repeat airs on Tues. 2:30-4:30 p.m., ESPN2.

NASCAR Winston Cup

Dodge and Ford have each won three races this season on the NASCAR Winston Cup Circuit. Ford holds a 49-45 advantage over Dodge in the Manufacturer's Standings after seven of 36 events in 2002. Marlin continues to hold the top spot in the driver standings. The 44-year-old Tennessee driver has accumulated 1,082 points in the first seven starts behind the wheel of the No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T. He leads last week's race winner, Matt Kenseth, by 70 points.

Burton has had only one top 10 finish since winning the 2002 Daytona 500, but the Virginia native isn't getting down on the team or his driving.

"We've slipped, but it's not because we haven't been running well," Burton said. "At Las Vegas, our strategy just didn't work. We had a top three-car or maybe the top car at Darlington, and we got caught in a wreck. At Bristol, it was mechanical. All three times the car was running in the top 10 or top five and we led leaps at two of those races. It wasn't anything to do with how we ran. It was just circumstances we couldn't control, just like last Monday at Texas.

"I've got a lot of confidence in my team. I know we can get the job done. We haven't had a good month. Some of that was in our control and we need to learn from it and some of it wasn't."

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series

After a dominating start to the 2002 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season, the Dodge truck teams are set on keeping the pace in Saturday's Advance Auto Parts 250 at Martinsville Speedway.

Dodge Rams have won both races in 2002, earning six top-five finishes and leading 211 out of 247 laps on the year. The manufacturer has shut the other makes out of the top two spots in each race, and has owned the top three positions in the series points standings so far.

Bill Lester, driver of the No. 8 Dodge Motorsports Dodge Ram will make his second start on an NCTS short track this weekend, but says he refuses to be bullied around. Lester's only short track run came last year at South Boston Speedway where he started 26th but was forced to finish 32nd on the .4-mile track.

"I'm getting tired of being the proverbial pinball," Lester said. "It just doesn't seem to matter how good the truck is we keep getting in someone else's mistake. I guess it's bad racing luck, but it has been hard to handle. I know how hard every one of these guys work on this truck, and to see their faces after the heartbreak we have suffered early on this year is just tough. So, starting with Martinsville, it's no more mister nice guy. I'm going to the front with what Kip (McCord) and I are calling calculated aggression."

Dodge is looking forward to racing its largest field of Dodge Rams at Martinsville this weekend. Fifteen Dodge teams are entered for the Advance Auto Parts 250, including the independent entry of Darrell Waltrip's No. 17 Duck Head Footwear Dodge Ram, and the No. 81 Ware Racing Enterprises Dodge Ram of NASCAR Goody's Dash Series veteran Angie Wilson. Wilson will attempt to become only the second female driver ever to compete in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race on Saturday.

The most Dodge Rams that have ever qualified for a Craftsman Truck Race is 12 - in the September Richmond race of 2000.

Pennzoil World of Outlaws

Mark Kinser, a 37-year-old resident of Oolitic, Ind., has compiled quite a record in the first 11 races this season in his Mopar-powered Maxim. Kinser has two victories, eight top fives and nine top 10s. Kinser kicked off the season with eight straight top five finishes. The top three Outlaws, Kinser, Danny Lasoski and Steve Kinser are ranked 1-3 in the series standings.

Kinser will look to strengthen his two point series lead with a trip to Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, OH, for the season's 12th event.

NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series

Gene Wilson hopes to capitalize on his testing work at Houston Raceway Park and qualify for his first NHRA national event in the O'Reilly Spring Nationals this weekend. The 29-year-old rookie impressed team owner David Nickens and Mopar with solid performances at the suburban Houston quarter-mile, which is considered Nickens Brothers Racing's home track. Nickens Brothers Racing fields the two factory-backed Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/Ts for Wilson and Darrell Alderman.

-dodge-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup , NASCAR Truck , NHRA , World of Outlaws
Drivers Ward Burton , Bill Elliott , Darrell Waltrip , Matt Kenseth , Darrell Alderman , Sterling Marlin , Robert Pressley , Ted Musgrave , Mark Kinser , Gene Wilson , Danny Lasoski , Steve Kinser , Bill Lester , Angie Wilson , Tommy Baldwin