Dodge Texas pre-qualifying notes

BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T) Elliott will bring his Las Vegas Dodge chassis to Texas. He finished 14th at Las Vegas. Elliott finished 30th last year at Texas. He's 10th in the NASCAR Winston Cup Standings (NWCS), 170...

BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T) Elliott will bring his Las Vegas Dodge chassis to Texas. He finished 14th at Las Vegas. Elliott finished 30th last year at Texas. He's 10th in the NASCAR Winston Cup Standings (NWCS), 170 points behind the leader, after his 17th-place finish last week at Bristol. Elliott has an average finish of 16.3 after six races.

CASEY ATWOOD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T) Atwood will race the same Intrepid that he failed to qualify with at Atlanta. Atwood finished 20th last week at Bristol and was the highest finishing Raybestos rookie of the year contender for the first time this season. Atwood is now tied for third in the rookie standings, 16 points behind leader Kevin Harvick. He's 32nd in the NWCS.

!@ WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T) Burton will race a brand new Dodge Intrepid R/T at Texas. Burton finished 14th last season at Texas. He's fresh off a fifth-place finish at Bristol, his best of the season. In his past three starts, Burton has finished 11th, 12th and fifth, moving from 26th to 11th in the NWCS. He scored 283 points in the first three races, compared to 412 points in the last three. Burton has an average finish of 16.6 after six races.

STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T) Marlin will race chassis No. 105 this week at Texas. It's been the workhorse so far this season for the Chip Ganassi team with finishes of 35th at Atlanta, third at Las Vegas and fifth at Darlington. Marlin finished 34th last year at Texas. Marlin led five times for 81 laps last week at Bristol and finished 12th. He has four top-10 finishes this season and ranks third in the NWCS with an average finish of 11.6. Marlin is only 48 points behind points leader Dale Jarrett.

1 JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 Cheerios Dodge Intrepid R/T) Andretti will have his Atlanta chassis at Texas. Andretti finished 32nd last year at Texas. He's fresh off a runner-up finish last week at Bristol. He led three times for 51 laps at Bristol and moved to 16th in the NWCS. In the past three races Andretti has moved from 38th to 16th in the standings with finishes of 14th, sixth and second. His average finish in the first three races this season was 32.3. His average finish in the past three races was 7.3. His average finish for the season is 19.8. Andretti scored 198 points in the first three races of the season compared to 446 points in the last three.

BUCKSHOT JONES (No. 44 Georgia Pacific Dodge Intrepid R/T) Jones will bring his Atlanta chassis to Texas. He finished 19th at Atlanta. Jones finished 33rd last week at Bristol. He's 38th in the NWCS. Friday, March 30, 2001. Texas Motor Speedway. Harrah's 500. Dodge Classy Chassis and Driver Notes. Page 2.

KYLE PETTY (No. 45 Sprint Dodge Intrepid R/T) Petty will race his Atlanta Dodge Intrepid at Texas. Petty qualified 18th and finished 42nd at Atlanta. Petty didn't qualify for last year's race at Texas. He qualified seventh last week at Bristol and ran as high as second before mechanical problems relegated him to a 41st-place finish. Petty ranks 43rd in the NWCS.

STACY COMPTON (No. 92 Kodiak Dodge Intrepid R/T) Compton will bring his Atlanta chassis to Texas. He started 28th and finished 24th at Atlanta. Compton finished 36th as a rookie last year at Texas. He's fresh off an 11th-place finish last week at Bristol. Compton ranks 30th in the NWCS. Dean Johnson will serve as crew chief this week for the Compton and company.

DAVE BLANEY (No. 93 Amoco Ultimate Dodge Intrepid R/T) Blaney will bring the same Dodge Intrepid R/T chassis to Texas that led 70 laps earlier this season at Atlanta. Blaney qualified seventh and took the lead by lap 143 at Atlanta. He finished 34th as problems with a drive plate robbed him of his first Winston Cup victory. Blaney finished 22nd last year at Texas, 29th last week at Bristol and ranks 31st in the NWCS. Over the last eight races, excluding starting on points at Darlington, Blaney has qualified no lower than 19th.

JASON LEFFLER (No. 01 Cingular Wireless Dodge Intrepid R/T) Leffler will drive a brand new Dodge Intrepid R/T chassis at Texas. Leffler failed to qualify last week at Bristol. He's fifth in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings, 25 points behind the leader.

KYLE PETTY (No. 45 Sprint Dodge Intrepid R/T) "When we did our deal last year after Adam's accident and we talked to the people at Mattel and Hot Wheels and we sat down with the Sprint people and made the switch for me to go drive the Busch car, there were a couple of things that were on the table that we discussed at that time. Hot Wheels has been a part of my family since '96 or '97 when I started my own team. This is more of a relationship on a personal basis than it is a business relationship. They wanted to do something to honor my grandfather (Lee Petty) and to honor Adam. They decided they'd do a four generation car and unveil it here at Texas. It's pretty special for us as a family. It's got my grandfather's and Adam's decal on it. "Some days you wake up and don't want to go anywhere. You just want to sit at the house. Other days, you feel yourself being kicked in the rear end and you've got to get up and move. It was tough coming back here. Last year, we came down here with a lot of high hopes. I didn't run fast enough to make the race, and in a lot of ways it was better than I didn't. In hindsight, it was better that I didn't make the race because I enjoyed standing on top of the truck and watching Adam run his race. That was a special time for me. To look back on it, at the time, it was bad I didn't make it. In the end, I think it was good that I didn't. "Elliott (Sadler) had been in a wreck or something and I jumped in his car and we (Adam and I) passed on the way in and out of the garage area. He was coming in because he had broke a motor and I was on my way back out with Elliott's car. By that time his day was over, so it wasn't a big deal for us."

RICHARD PETTY (Car owner Petty Enterprises Dodge Intrepid R/Ts) "I get kind of emotional with some of this stuff. Adam got off to a good start here last year. He qualified good. His daddy didn't qualify, that was the downer that they never did get to run in a race together. At the time my father and I raced, we were the team effort that we're trying to get now. We didn't have any sponsors. We had to finish the race with both cars in order to have enough money to go to the next race. We were in the same race together. We really didn't race each other. We did the team thing 40 years ago. It's just been refined. We used the same old way of doing things. When we ran two cars with Buddy Baker and Pete Hamilton and all of that, it was a one-team effort with two cars. We put the cars side by side. They pitted side by side. We didn't have enough people to do two teams.

"We needed a win last week, but that just makes the whole shop realize that what we're trying to do and the equipment we've got is capable of running up front. Kyle ran up front until he had engine problems. Buckshot got a lap down and made it up. He was running 15th and got bumped out. They know they're capable and the cars are capable, so it made the whole shop realize it wasn't a lost cause. We keep running and we look at it one way. The workers look at it from the standpoint that they're not getting anywhere. They're doing all the work and the cars are not finishing good. They lose a little bit of vinegar. If they see hope at the end of the tunnel, which is what happened at Darlington when John finished sixth, and then we come back and finish second last week. We don't know really where we're at on the mile and a half tracks. We've always been good on the short tracks. It doesn't take a lot of horsepower on the short tracks. It takes a little handling and a little driving. We've always been pretty decent on the short tracks. When it comes to ones like Texas, Atlanta, we're still scratching our heads a little bit. "We started with a completely different organization at the beginning of the year. The one-team effort just took awhile for all the crews to buy into that. Once they saw that it might not be a bad deal, because everyone has always been an individual, even the drivers are buying into it now. Like John went to Bristol and tested. They all went with the same setup to begin with. They made little tweaks and the next thing you know they run within eight on hundredths of each other, so they say, 'this isn't a bad deal.' It's the same thing we've been talking about with the team deal. "This is our deal on that particular part. What Dodge did was say, 'we've got a blank sheet of paper. We don't want to give it to people and tell them to do their own thing. We want all the people to work together and get to where they need to go quicker.' That's the team concept for Dodge, and that's worked really, really good. If we have any major problems, we throw it in the pot and maybe somebody else has already had that problem and figured it out. They feed it back to us or we feed it to them. That's a team effort. We're really different teams and everybody does his own thing. They just do it out of a different pot. "We're ahead of where we were last year. We started off a little bit behind because we weren't that good last year. It took us a couple of races to catch up. We thought we would start a little bit better. We thought we would start at least as good as we were last year, but we were a little behind. I think maybe we're a week ahead of where we were last year. "I think the 43 can finish in the top 10 in the points. That's a goal we need to look at. Our next goal would be to have all three cars in the top 20. That's going to be kind of tough. We've got a long way to go. If we can get our act together, it won't be that big of a problem. If you get on a roll, they (43 team) could win 10 in a row, but we've got to kick it up a notch at these mile and a half tracks."

DODGE GARAGE NOTES -- Two Dodge drivers, Sterling Marlin and Bill Elliott , hold top-10 spots in the series standings after the first six races, and Ward Burton is only six points out of 10th place.... Six of the nine Dodges in last week's race at Bristol finished in the top 20.... Two Dodges finished in the top five at Bristol, marking the first time this season Dodge has placed two drivers in the top five.... Dodge drivers have recorded five top-five finishes in the first six races this season. Marlin leads the way with two top fives, while John Andretti, Burton and Elliott have also recorded top-five finishes... Dodge drivers have recorded 10 top-10 finishes in the first six races with six drivers. Marlin, Andretti, Burton, Elliott, Dave Blaney and Stacy Compton have finished in the top 10.... Elliott is the only Intrepid R/T driver with a pole in the first six starts, but Compton and Marlin have qualified second fastest.... Marlin leads all Dodge drivers with 170 laps led in 2001. He ranks third overall behind Jeff Gordon (524) and Steve Park (379).... Eight different Dodge drivers have led laps this season.

Hot Wheels and Petty Enterprises unveiled a special paint scheme for driver Buckshot Jones' No. 44 Dodge Intrepid R/T in this weekend's Harrah's 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. It honors the four generations of Pettys who have raced in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Adam Petty made his Winston Cup debut in last year's race at Texas. The special paint scheme also honors Lee Petty, Richard Petty and Kyle Petty.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers John Andretti , Ward Burton , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Adam Petty , Steve Park , Kyle Petty , Kevin Harvick , Sterling Marlin , Buckshot Jones , Stacy Compton , Richard Petty , John Dean , Chip Ganassi , Dave Blaney , Buddy Baker , Lee Petty