Dodge Motorsports Weekend preview 2002-04-24

Jeremy Mayfield itching for another opportunity to park in Victory Lane at California Speedway. ONTARIO, Calif. (April 24, 2002) - Jeremy Mayfield's record at California Speedway is certainly worth writing home about, and the Owensboro, ...

Jeremy Mayfield itching for another opportunity to park in Victory Lane at California Speedway.

ONTARIO, Calif. (April 24, 2002) - Jeremy Mayfield's record at California Speedway is certainly worth writing home about, and the Owensboro, Ky., native might do just that after Sunday's NAPA Auto Parts 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race.

Mayfield has an A-plus record at the two-mile D-shaped oval. In five starts at California Speedway, the driver of Ray Evernham's No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid R/T has a victory and four top 10 finishes. He finished fifth in last year's race and has been itching for a chance to park his bright red Dodge in victory lane.

"I've been looking forward to it all year," Mayfield said. "I feel like that's going to be the turning point of the year. I think we're going to go there and get the momentum rolling.

"As a driver when you go to a place you've run good at or won at, you go there knowing that you've done it and can get it done. It is a different level of confidence. Ray Evernham has won there, too, so we should go there and run well."

In other motorsports action involving Dodge and Mopar Motorsports teams this week, the Pennzoil World of Outlaws will compete Wednesday night at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City and then move to Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa, for its weekend show. The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series will compete at Bristol, Tenn., Dragway on Saturday and Sunday.

TV and Radio Schedule

* Friday, April 26 - NASCAR Winston Cup qualifying for Sunday's Napa 500 at California Speedway. TV-FX Tape Delay, 8 p.m. (ET).

* Friday, April 26 - NASCAR Winston Cup Qualifying live at 6:05 p.m. (ET) on MRN and's racecast.

* Saturday, April 27 - NHRA Qualifying, 8-10 p.m., (ET) on ESPN2.

* Saturday, April 27 - NASCAR Winston Cup Happy Hour from California Speedway 3 p.m. (ET) on TV-FX.

* Sunday, April 28 - NASCAR Winston Cup NAPA 500 from California Speedway 3 p.m. (ET), 2:30 p.m. pre-race show on Fox.

* Sunday, April 28 - Final round Mac Tools Thunder Valley NHRA Nationals 11:30 p.m.- 1:30 a.m. (ET) on ESPN2.

NASCAR Winston Cup Series

Mayfield and company will try to pull Dodge closer to Ford in the season-long manufacturers standings. Ford and Dodge have each won three races this season, but Ford leads Dodge 61-52 in the standings. Sterling Marlin, driver of the No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T, won the last race for Dodge on March 17 at Darlington. Marlin enjoyed a 99-point advantage over Ryan Newman atop the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings after that event. Following his fifth-place finish last week at Talladega, Marlin has extended his advantage to a season-best 109 points over second place Matt Kenseth.

Marlin finished ninth last year at California Speedway en route to a third-place finish in the standings. He's led the standings this season since his second-place finish at Rockingham on Feb. 24. With seven top 10s in nine starts this season, Marlin and his Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates team has led the way for Dodge in five races this season.

Marlin and Ward Burton, driver of the No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T, have won the three races for Dodge this season. Mayfield came close at Las Vegas with a second-place finish and Jimmy Spencer, driver of the No. 41 Target Dodge, finished second at Bristol.

Spencer finished seventh last year at California Speedway and like Mayfield, can't wait for the return trip.

"California is a lot like Michigan and Las Vegas," Spencer said. "It's hard to get in trouble there because the corners are so wide. You need to handle well and you need a good aero package and good horsepower. I think we'll have the total package for California.

"We've had a top 10 car every week this season except for Daytona and last week at Talladega. I expect we'll have a top 10 car at California. Sterling (teammate Marlin) tested out there, so we'll work with his setup and I think we'll be ready when they drop the green flag."

NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series

With the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series reaching the end of the first quarter, it looks like three-time Pro Stock World Champion and Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T driver Darrell Alderman is in the thick of the title chase. The Morehead, Ky., resident currently sits fourth in points only 12 behind George Marnell.

The last time Alderman was this close in points was at the beginning of the 1995 NHRA season, when the 52-year-old won three of the first four races and led the points chase. Alderman's highest points finish recently was a ninth following the 1999 NHRA campaign.

Both Gene Wilson, driver of the second Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T, and BDP Motorsports Dodge Neon R/T driver Greg Stanfield will be trying to qualify for their first NHRA Pro Stock event this weekend at the Bristol Dragway. Wilson, who grabbed nine IHRA Pro Stock qualifiers in a row last year, barely missed making his first national event in Houston. Fellow Dodge driver John Geyer's 6.871-second elapsed time was equal to Wilson's, but his 200.50 mph top speed was .18-mph faster. Stanfield made his Pro Stock debut at Houston Raceway Park, using it as a testing session until mechanical woes in their only available Hemi engine forced the team to withdraw before the fourth round of qualifying.

Dean Skuza thinks the kinks have been worked out in the new Dodge Stratus R/T Nitro Funny Car. He's looking for a better performance this weekend at Bristol.

Pennzoil World of Outlaws

Mark Kinser, a two-time winner so far this season in the World of Outlaws, will try to put his Mopar-powered Maxim back in victory lane on Wednesday night at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City. After 13 events, Kinser ranks third in the series standings, just four points behind leader and defending series champ Danny Lasoski.

The World of Outlaws will compete Friday and Saturday night at Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa.


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup , NHRA , World of Outlaws
Drivers Ward Burton , Matt Kenseth , Jeremy Mayfield , Darrell Alderman , Dean Skuza , Jimmy Spencer , Ryan Newman , Mark Kinser , Gene Wilson , Danny Lasoski , Greg Stanfield , Ray Evernham , Chip Ganassi , George Marnell , Felix Sabates