Dodge Motorsports weekend summary 2002-03-25

Spencer survives at Bristol, Dodge retains Winston Cup advantage; Mopar's Mark Kinser finishes first in Outlaws Race BRISTOL, Tenn. (March 24, 2002) - Jimmy Spencer made an incredible save while leading late in the race after being hit from ...

Spencer survives at Bristol, Dodge retains Winston Cup advantage;
Mopar's Mark Kinser finishes first in Outlaws Race

BRISTOL, Tenn. (March 24, 2002) - Jimmy Spencer made an incredible save while leading late in the race after being hit from behind by eventual winner Kurt Busch and held on for a runner-up finish in the Food City 500 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Spencer, a 45-year-old driver from Berwick, Pa., drove his No. 41 Target Dodge Intrepid R/T to the front on lap 444 of 500, but Busch rammed him from behind moments later, regained the lead, and held it the final 56 laps to score his first Winston Cup victory, a 1.556-second triumph over Spencer. Spencer's runner-up finish allowed Dodge to retain a 42-40 advantage over Ford in the NASCAR Winston Cup manufacturers standings. Pontiac is third with 25 and Chevrolet trails with 24 points.

Sterling Marlin cut a tire while running in the top five on lap 310 and was forced to pit under green. He lost two laps, made one back and finished 19th in his No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T. It was Marlin's first finish out of the top 10 in the past eight races dating back to last season, but the 44-year-old Tennessee native retained a 99-point advantage atop the Winston Cup Standings. Marlin entered the race with a 99 point-advantage over rookie Ryan Newman. Newman finished 37th Sunday, so now Marlin enjoys the same advantage over second-place Matt Kenseth, who finished sixth Sunday.

In other weekend racing action involving Mopar-powered teams, Mark Kinser finished second in the 25-lap preliminary "A" feature Saturday night at Houston Raceway Park in Baytown, Texas, to score his seventh straight top five finish in the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series this season. Kinser finished 1.6 seconds behind race winner Danny Lasoski.

NASCAR Winston Cup Series

Spencer led three times for 54 laps Sunday at the .533-mile high-banked short track. Starting fourth in the 43-car field, Spencer ran in the top five most of the day and couldn't believe the bump from behind by Busch after he moved back out front on lap 444.

"Kurt Busch just smashed right into me, and that's OK," Spencer said. "I never forget. The only thing is when I smash back, he won't finish. I wanted to win really bad, and we didn't get it. We've got a big bull's-eye back there. I guess he couldn't see it."

Car owner Chip Ganassi was pleased with both of his teams Sunday.

"Spencer had the car to beat, and they knew we were here," Ganassi said. "There was a little dirty pool out there, but that's all right. You get that at this place, and Spencer doesn't forget.

"Sterling just had bad luck. He had a flat tire and had to pit under green and it hurt us, but we'll be all right. We've still got the same points lead we had before the race, and that's amazing after finishing 19th. We'll get a little rest and come back strong at Texas."

Kyle Petty drove his No. 45 Sprint Dodge Intrepid R/T to a 12th-place finish Sunday. It was Petty's best finish since his ninth-place finish at Talladega in April 2000. Jeremy Mayfield started third and finished 14th Sunday in his No. 19 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T.

Other Dodge finishes:
* Casey Atwood, No. 7 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge Intrepid R/T, 18th
* Bill Elliott, No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T, 21st
* Ward Burton, No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T, 25th
* John Andretti, No. 43 Cheerios Dodge Intrepid R/T, 34th
* Hut Stricklin, No. 23 Hills Bros Coffee Dodge Intrepid R/T, 35th
* Buckshot Jones, No. 44 Georgia Pacific Dodge Intrepid R/T, 40th

Pennzoil World of Outlaws

Mark Kinser led time trials for Saturday night's event with a lap of 13.630 seconds in his No. 5M Mopar-powered Maxim at Houston Raceway Park in Baytown, Texas. He finished second, 1.6 seconds behind winner Danny Lasoski. Kinser finished fourth in the first heat race.

Kinser entered the weekend series ranked third in the standings behind Steve Kinser and Lasoski.

In Sunday's event, Mark Kinser led from flag-to-flag Sunday night in the 35-lap Pennzoil World of Outlaws "A" feature race at Houston. Kinser started on the outside front row position and held his ground throughout the race, holding off a hard-charge from Donny Schatz at the wire.

Kinser's first "A" feature win of the season was a virtual photo finish with the No. 5M Mopar-powered machine credited with a .012-second.

"I wasn't really surprised to see Donny there on the last lap," Kinser said. "I found out I'd been running on the wrong part of the track for the last 10 laps or so, and I blistered the tires pretty good. Donny's a good, clean racer, and he gave me plenty of room between himself and the wall to race to the flag.

"I'm glad we had the (Tracking Speed) electronic scoring here tonight. I wouldn't have wanted to pick the winner."

Kinser has not finished out of the top five in eight starts this season. The Pennzoil World of Outlaws return to action tonight in Magnolia, Miss.


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup , World of Outlaws
Drivers John Andretti , Ward Burton , Bill Elliott , Matt Kenseth , Jeremy Mayfield , Kyle Petty , Jimmy Spencer , Sterling Marlin , Buckshot Jones , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Hut Stricklin , Casey Atwood , Mark Kinser , Danny Lasoski , Donny Schatz , Chip Ganassi