Dodge Motorsports weekend preview 2002-05-01

So far, no one able to reel in Marlin's Dodge; Pressley, Musgrave renew Rivalry in St. Louis. RICHMOND, Va. (May 1, 2002) - Sterling Marlin, driver of the No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T, continues to pull away from the pack in the...

So far, no one able to reel in Marlin's Dodge; Pressley, Musgrave renew Rivalry in St. Louis.

RICHMOND, Va. (May 1, 2002) - Sterling Marlin, driver of the No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T, continues to pull away from the pack in the race for the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup crown.

Marlin has a 143-point advantage over second-place Kurt Busch in the NASCAR Winston Cup Standings after the first 10 races. The difference in leading the most laps and winning and a 43rd-place finish is 151 points, so Marlin has pulled out to a seemingly comfortable advantage. However, just two races back, Busch was sixth in the standings, 182 points behind Marlin at the top, and Marlin led Matt Kenseth by only 27 points heading into Talladega. Marlin has gained 116 points over second place in the past two races, but Busch has gained 39 points on Marlin in the past two events.

"We've just got to try to keep that lead," Marlin said. "It can really go away quick. A lot can happen, so we're just trying to take it race by race. It got down to 27 points and then Kenseth had some trouble at Talladega and Fontana. Busch has been running real good, and there's always going to be somebody knocking at your door. Hopefully we'll be able to keep slamming it shut."

The Winston Cup circuit heads to the .750-mile D-shaped Richmond International Raceway for Saturday night's Pontiac Excitement 400 before taking a week off for Mother's Day and then two weekends in Charlotte.

"That Coors Light Dodge shines up real good under the lights at Richmond and Charlotte, so maybe May will be our month," Marlin said.

In other motorsports action involving Dodge and Mopar Motorsports teams this weekend, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will compete in the Ram Tough 200 at Gateway near St. Louis, the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing circuit heads to Atlanta for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, and the Pennzoil World of Outlaws will race at Nebraska Raceway Park on Friday and Saturday in Greenwood, Neb.

Weekend TV and Radio Schedule

* Friday, May 3 - NASCAR Winston Cup qualifying at Richmond. 4:30 p.m. tape delayed on FSN.

* Friday, May 3 - NASCAR Winston Cup qualifying at Richmond. 3:05 p.m. live on MRN and NASCAR.com Racecast.

* Friday, May 3 - NASCAR Winston Cup Happy Hour at Richmond. 6 p.m. FX

* Saturday, May 4 - NASCAR Winston Cup Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond. 6:30 p.m. pre-race show on Fox. 7 p.m. race on Fox.

* Saturday, May 4 - NASCAR Winston Cup Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond. 6:30 p.m. MRN.

* Sunday, May 5 - NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers Ram Tough 200 at Gateway. 4 p.m. ESPN; 3:30 p.m. MRN.

NASCAR Winston Cup Series

Dodge teams haven't won in the past five races, while Chevrolets have won the past two events and tightened the manufacturers standings. Ford leads with 67 points and three wins. Dodge is second with 56 points and three wins, followed by Chevrolet with 52 points and two wins and Pontiac with 45 points and two wins.

Kyle Petty has turned in some impressive finishes in recent races in the Petty Enterprises No. 45 Sprint Dodge Intrepid R/T. Petty has moved from 38th in the standings to a tie for 21st in the past seven races. He has an average finish of 15.58 in those events, and he's looking for even better results.

"It's almost like Emeril on the cooking show - Bam! We want to kick it up a notch," Petty said. "You can't go from 25th to winning on a competitive basis, but when you go from 25th to the top 10, then you have a shot to win if everything goes right. We're not in the top 10 yet on a consistent basis, but we're not that far away.

"You've got to lay the groundwork and stick to your game plan. Look at the Ganassi team and Sterling. There was never a doubt in my mind that Sterling could drive a race car. There might have been a question about some of the cars he was in. Sterling finally got with the right group of people, and he's comfortable working with (team manager) Tony Glover. The whole team is geared up for running for the championship. Dodge is dedicated to helping him run for the championship. Sterling just got in the right place at the right time with the right team and he's taking advantage of everyone's talent.

"He's got everything on his side, and the sun is shining on him now. You've got to make hay while the sun shines. Things have to continue to go his way, and if they can't win, they have to salvage the best finish they can out of it. That's where they're good right now. If they can't win, they get a top five. If they can't get a top five, they work on a top 10, and he's been in the top 10 most of the time this year. That's why he has such a big lead right now. A few teams will make a run at him, but if he keeps up the pace he's on now, he's going to be hard to beat."

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series

Dodge drivers Robert Pressley and Ted Musgrave will renew their on-track Dodge Ram rivalry in the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers Ram Tough 200 at Gateway Int'l Raceway on Sunday. Pressley and Musgrave have each won a race and finished second in three starts this season. Pressley leads Musgrave by 20 points entering Sunday's event.

Dodge holds a 22-21 manufacturers advantage over Chevy in the truck standings, and Dodge driver Brendan Gaughan leads the Raybestos Rookie of the Year competition.

Musgrave won the pole and scored a 10.428-second victory in last season's race at Gateway. He led 140 of 200 laps in that race and leads the way this season with 178 laps led in the first three events.

NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series

The Atlanta Dragway has been a place of firsts for Mopar Parts Dodge R/T Nitro Funny Car driver Dean Skuza. The Brecksville, Ohio, resident grabbed his first No. 1 qualifier during the 2000 season and made his first final-round appearance in his rookie season of 1994, losing to John Force.

Gene Wilson qualified for his first national event at last weekend's Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals at the Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway, falling to eventual race winner and defending NHRA Pro Stock World Champion Warren Johnson in round one. This weekend will be a special one for Wilson, as he is a resident of the Atlanta suburb of Canton, Ga.

Darrell Alderman is one of only six Pro Stock drivers to qualify for every NHRA national event this season. Alderman, a three-time POWERade Pro Stock World Champion, is currently tied with Ron Krisher for the most rounds won in a row this season at seven.

Dodge has made three final-round appearances in the Pro Stock category with the last being in 1995 when Alderman broke in the final. Former driver Scott Geoffrion won this event in 1994 while making a final-round appearance in 1992.

Larry Morgan, driver of the blue Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T, won this race in 1990 when he beat a red-lighting Warren Johnson in the final.

Pennzoil World of Outlaws

Steve Kinser, Danny Lasoski and Mark Kinser, driver of the Mopar-powered Maxim, will renew their season-long Outlaw battle Friday night. In 15 starts this season, the competition between the Kinser-Lasoski-Kinser trifecta has been amazing. Steve has three wins and 2,338 points. Lasoski has four wins and 2,326 points, while Mark has three wins and 2,318 points.

-dodge-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup , NASCAR Truck , NHRA , World of Outlaws
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Kyle Petty , Darrell Alderman , Warren Johnson , Dean Skuza , John Force , Ron Krisher , Larry Morgan , Sterling Marlin , Kurt Busch , Robert Pressley , Ted Musgrave , Mark Kinser , Gene Wilson , Danny Lasoski , Steve Kinser , Brendan Gaughan