Dodge Motorsports weekend preview 2002-05-22

Points' Leader picked good time for bad luck, bringing back another winning Dodge for 600. CONCORD, N.C. (May 22, 2002) - Sterling Marlin may have lost a good friend last Saturday night in The Winston at Lowe's Motor Speedway, but there's never...

Points' Leader picked good time for bad luck, bringing back another winning Dodge for 600.

CONCORD, N.C. (May 22, 2002) - Sterling Marlin may have lost a good friend last Saturday night in The Winston at Lowe's Motor Speedway, but there's never a shortage of competent companions for the Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates Racing Team.

Marlin's No. 40 Coors Original Dodge Intrepid R/T chassis No. 115 ended up on a wrecker in The Winston. Chassis No. 115 won the first race for Dodge last season, ended up with two victories and seven straight top fives in 2001 and carried Marlin to a seventh-place finish earlier this season at Atlanta.

The good news for competitors is chassis 115 is sitting in the shop, and crew chief Lee McCall isn't sure it can be repaired. The bad news for all Winston Cup drivers chasing the points' leader is Marlin and company will bring chassis No. 203 to LMS for the Coca-Cola Racing Family 600 on Sunday, and in three starts this season it has won twice at Las Vegas and Darlington. Marlin, who enters Sunday's race with a 132-point lead over second-place Kurt Busch in the Winston Cup Standings, finished seventh with chassis No. 203 in Texas.

"We've built up a fleet of Intrepids just like 115," crew chief Lee McCall sad."We've got so many good cars that we don't have any special ones. We've got 12 cars ready for Sterling, and they're all special. We'll take a look at 115 and see if we can fix it, but it was damaged pretty bad. We haven't really had any bad luck all season, so I guess we picked a good time to have bad luck in The Winston."

In other racing action this weekend involving Dodge and Mopar-backed teams, the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Circuit is in Topeka, Kan., for the 14th annual O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park, and the Pennzoil World of Outlaws will compete on Friday and Saturday at The Dirt Track at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., in the XM Satellite Radio Outlaw Showdown.

Weekend TV and Radio Schedule

* Thursday, May 23, 2002. NASCAR Winston Cup qualifying at Lowe's Motor Speedway. 7 p.m. TV-FX, PRN Radio and's Racecast.

* Saturday, May 25, 2002. NASCAR Winston Cup Happy Hour at Lowe's Motor Speedway for Coca-Cola Racing Family 600. 11:15 a.m.-noon. TV-FX.

* Saturday, May 25, 2002. NHRA Qualifying in Topeka, Kan. 5:30-7:30 p.m. ESPN 2.

* Sunday, May 26, 2002. Coca-Cola Racing Family 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. 5 p.m. Pre-race show. TV-Fox.

* Sunday, May 26, 2002. Coca-Cola Racing Family 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. 5:30 p.m. TV-Fox.

* Sunday, May 26, 2002. Coca-Cola Racing Family 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. 4:45 p.m. PRN Radio.

* Sunday, May 26, 2002. Final Round NHRA in Topeka, Kan. 3-6 p.m ESPN. . Repeat telecast 8:30-10:30 p.m. ESPN 2 .

NASCAR Winston Cup

Marlin won last October at Lowe's Motor Speedway in his No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T, scoring a six-second victory over Tony Stewart. Marlin went on to finish third in the 2001 standings, but he's led the way this season since his runner-up finish on Feb. 24 at Rockingham.

The 44-year-old Tennessee native will be making his 43rd career start at LMS and his 551st career Winston Cup start. Marlin has 10 career victories and four of those came in the last 25 starts.

"Sterling has been doing a great job this season, and we've been able to give him some good cars," McCall said."We don't save our stuff. We take the best cars we have to the track every week. You take a chance in a race like The Winston, but we've got plenty of cars to replace the ones that don't make it back in one piece.

"We've got to make chassis 203 last for 600 miles on Sunday. It's the longest race of the season, and it's tricky because it starts in the daytime and ends under the lights. If we can make it last for five hours, I think we'll have a good shot for another good finish."

McCall, a native of Travelers Rest, S.C., hosted a charity golf tournament in Greenville, S.C., on Monday to raise money for the Duke Brain Tumor Research Center. McCall said 228 players competed on two courses and $30,000-$35,000 was raised in the third annual event.

NHRA POWERade Drag Racing

A victory over veteran Mark Osborne during this past weekend's Matco Tools NHRA SuperNationals for rising young Mopar star Gene Wilson proved the rookie has come into his own as a Pro Stock driver. The Canton, Ga., resident, and driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T, bounded onto the Pro Stock scene at the 33rd annual Gatornationals in Gainesville (Fla.) earlier this season and has qualified for the last three NHRA national events.

After not qualifying in his first three NHRA Pro Stock attempts, Wilson has been steady, grabbing the10th position at the Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway, a fifth at his hometown Atlanta Dragway and 11th in Englishtown. Wilson's race day prowess has been notable as well, winning his first NHRA race over V. Gaines in Atlanta and making the semifinals at the most recent event in New Jersey, creating an interesting plot at Heartland Park Topeka.

Wilson also lit up the Old Bridge Township Raceway Park scoreboard with a career-best 6.776-second elapsed time at a career-best top speed of 203.40 mph in his second-round triumph over Osborne. The numbers also represent the second-best runs for a Hemi-powered Dodge Neon R/T, which were also recorded by a Nickens Brothers Racing machine at last year's national event at Maple Grove Raceway in Mohnton, Pa., at 6.754 seconds (third-quickest in NHRA history) and 204.35 mph (NHRA national speed ecord).

If there is one track on the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock circuit that Dodge has dominated - it's Heartland Park Topeka. Darrell Alderman captured the first three races by defeating Joe Lepone, Jr., in 1989 and 1990 and Warren Johnson in 1991. The 28-time NHRA national event winner also made the finals in 1994, the only all-Mopar final at the track, and in 2000. All in all, a Dodge has four victories in seven final-round appearances in this event.

Pennzoil World of Outlaws

Sixteen-time Pennzoil World of Outlaws sprint car champion Steve Kinser holds a two-point advantage over defending series champ Danny Lasoski as the nomadic series heads to The Dirt Track at Lowe's Motor Speedway for the XM Satellite Radio Outlaw Showdown on Friday and Saturday nights.

Mark Kinser, driver of the Mopar-powered Maxim, is close behind in third place, just 67 points behind the leader.

The World of Outlaws season started in California during late February and already has visited 14 states. The teams will continue to cross the country before the championship battle is finally settled Nov. 9 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The XM Satellite Radio Outlaw Showdown includes two complete nights of sprint car racing, concluding with a $20,000-to-win, 30-lap feature on Saturday night.


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup , NHRA , World of Outlaws
Drivers Darrell Alderman , Warren Johnson , Sterling Marlin , Kurt Busch , Mark Kinser , Gene Wilson , Danny Lasoski , Steve Kinser , Felix Sabates