Dover II: Dodge Motorsports preview

DODGE AT DOVER INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY * On July 6, 1969, Richard "The King" Petty won the first race at Dover Downs International Speedway (now Dover Int'l Speedway). Petty won the Mason-Dixon 300, but the win didn't come in a Dodge. Petty gave...


* On July 6, 1969, Richard "The King" Petty won the first race at Dover Downs International Speedway (now Dover Int'l Speedway). Petty won the Mason-Dixon 300, but the win didn't come in a Dodge. Petty gave Dodge it's first win at the one-mile oval at the second event -- Delaware 500 -- in 1974. He led 491 of the 500 laps


Ryan Newman, No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger

On racing at Dover: "Dover is one of my favorite race tracks, and it has been a good track for the Alltel Dodge team. It's a physically demanding track, so by the end of the day you have had quite a work out. But more importantly, it is a really fun track to drive. It's really unique how you drop off into the corners and then climb up the hills onto the straightaways. At Dover, the entry into the corners is the toughest part. If you don't get a good entry, you're not going to have a good middle or a good exit. The fact that it's concrete doesn't hurt anything either because it makes the track more consistent, which is good for all teams. The track doesn't change a whole lot, so if you get the setup right then chances are you are going to perform well all day and have a chance to win the race there at the end."

On winning the Monster Trophy: "It's a pretty cool trophy, and it was an honor to win the first one. I would like to get another one. I have a funny story about the trophy. When we got it, I put it out in the shop. Our dog, Mopar, went out to the shop with me and he started barking at it. So it's a pretty scary trophy."

Kurt Busch, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger

On the concrete surface at Dover: "Concrete is not as heat-sensitive. It is so much more consistent than asphalt in that, unlike asphalt, there's not any giant swings in the track conditions during a race. But concrete is like sidewalks because it is poured and there's most likely always going to be seams of some type to deal with.

"The biggest difference in setting a car up for concrete versus asphalt is pretty much confined to the shocks these days. You run more bleed in the shocks because you're dealing with more velocity. You always have to consider that the seams or expansion joints get filled with rubber during a race and you have to do things with the shocks to accommodate and compensate for that.

"With the old car, it was pretty common for the teams to have one particular car -- call it their 'concrete car' -- that they would race exclusively at Dover and Bristol. With the COT model, it is irrelevant; at least it is with our team so far. We do have specialized cars for the Talladega and Daytona races and the same goes for the road courses, but that's as far as it goes. As the technology advances, we may get to the point where we have a specialized car for the concrete tracks, but it's not the case right now.

"Concrete is certainly more demanding on the driver and equipment. You and your car really take a pounding. A great example was during the last race at Dover when the car was under such strain that we actually broke the fuel-filler. I've never seen that happen before."

Bobby Labonte, No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Charger

Keys to Dover: "Track position is a key no matter where we're racing, but it seemed to be even more important at Loudon. I have no doubts that the Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge could have raced up front last weekend, but we started mid-pack because of qualifying getting rained out and it was tough to make that ground up. If Mother Nature would give us a break and let us take our qualifying laps it would help us a lot. I've qualified well at Dover in the past. It would be a good place to get back on our qualifying schedule. We've had good cars lately and we know we can qualify well."

On Dover International Speedway: "Dover has been one of our best tracks over the last several years. We've qualified well, we've raced well and we need to do both this weekend. Dover is tough. It's hard on drivers and equipment. By now everyone has heard about shocks and bumpstops. It seems like we talk about them every week. They are critical at Dover, especially your front shocks. You're almost driving uphill when you come off the corners at Dover, then the car settles really hard on the front shocks. The shock guy will be one of the most important crew members this weekend.

Kasey Kahne, No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger

What are your thoughts on racing at Dover?

"Dover is one of those tracks that is really fun to race at. It is a tough, demanding track. It's extremely fast and challenging and tires can make a world of difference here. We've had some good runs at Dover along with a few disappointments. We had our car handling pretty well in the spring race, but got caught up in an accident early on."

What is the approach for the No. 9 team heading into the final races of the season?

"I think that we just keep on doing what we've been doing. We've been a sixth-place to 10th-place team all year except for three or four weeks where we weren't as good because of some things that took us out of that spot. I feel like we're a real good sixth to 10th-place team. If we keep trying to learn how we can get these cars better and better, get our engine program better, if we do that, we'll have a good shot at winning another race or two this year."

Kyle Petty, No. 45 Wells Fargo Dodge Charger

On the #45 team's performance in Loudon last weekend: "The finish didn't show how good they ran, but I'm encouraged by the race that Chad and the rest of the No. 45 Wells Fargo Dodge guys had at Loudon. Once they got their lap back they were putting down some fast times. That gives me confidence that we can have a similar race this weekend. Stewart (Cooper, crew chief) is becoming more and more comfortable with these cars each race. I can see progress being made each week."

On Dover: "You know, there are some tracks that you just take to the first time you race there. For me two of those tracks were Rockingham and Dover. I always enjoyed the way you raced at those places; the mindset that it took to go 500 miles, which used to be the distance at Dover. Dover is a beast of a racetrack and it's probably the most physically demanding track on the schedule. But I think everyone enjoys it because it's so unique."

On the 1995 win at Dover: "I'll never forget that 1995 win at Dover. We started 37th that day and wound up leading over half of the race. We had a really fast racecar, but we were also had luck on our side. You have to have both to win any race. The last 10 laps of that race were intense. I had a pretty big lead, but Bobby (Labonte) was running me down by over five car lengths a lap. He pulled to the outside of me on the last lap and we had a heck of a race to the finish line. That race was a lot of fun, especially since Bobby and I are teammates now."

Elliott Sadler, No. 19 McDonald's Dodge Charger

On Dover: "We were really upset after the June race at Dover. That race meant an awful lot to us. We were running the Best Buy car in the Best Buy race for our favorite charity. To say we wanted to run well would be an understatement. Unfortunately things happened and we were unable to compete at the level we would have liked, but that just means that we are going to try that much harder this time around. We want to see the McDonald's Dodge have a great day. Maybe we can offer Miles the Monster a Big Mac and some fries as a peace offering."

Patrick Carpentier, No. 10 Charter Dodge Charger

On Dover: "Dover is a very unique racetrack. It's similar to Bristol with the concrete surface and the various lines you can run but it has the speed of a superspeedway. You've got to be extremely focused and prepared for almost anything. Accidents not only happen really quickly but they are generally hard to see.

"We ran 29th in the spring and this team has come a long way since then. The Charter team had a rough week at Loudon but we're prepared to turn that around at Dover. There is only one track left on the schedule this year that we haven't run at [Kansas] so we're in a much different situation than we were at the beginning of the season. Hopefully we can use that to our advantage."

Sam Hornish Jr. No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger

"Of all the races we have run, I feel that the June race at Dover International Speedway was one of our best. We qualified and raced well there, running inside the top-20 for most of the day. I'm looking forward to returning to the 'Monster Mile' this weekend and building upon that success.

"I feel that this Mobil 1 team has made a lot of progress over the past couple of weeks, especially at shorter tracks. We learned a lot last weekend in New Hampshire although we didn't get the finish that we wanted. I'm hopeful that we will have a strong showing this Sunday in Dover."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Kyle Petty , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Patrick Carpentier , Kasey Kahne , Elliott Sadler , Sam Hornish Jr.