For the first time this season, 11 Dodge Intrepid R/Ts will attempt to qualify for a NASCAR Winston Cup race on Friday at Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. Chip Ganassi Racing will enter a third Intrepid R/T with Dorsey Schroeder driving the...
For the first time this season, 11 Dodge Intrepid R/Ts will attempt to qualify for a NASCAR Winston Cup race on Friday at Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.
Chip Ganassi Racing will enter a third Intrepid R/T with Dorsey Schroeder driving the No. 01 Cingular Dodge. Schroeder last drove a Winston Cup car in the 1997 road race at Watkins Glen International. He qualified 19th and finished 31st in that event.
Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender Jason Leffler, who usually drives the No. 1 Cingular Dodge, will drive the No. 04 Cingular Dodge Intrepid R/T at Sears Point.
"Chip wanted to enter a third car at Sears Point to help the 01 in owner points," Ganassi Racing Team Manager Andy Graves said Wednesday morning. "We're not doubting Jason's ability, but Dorsey is a proven road racer and Chip wanted to do everything he could to help Dodge get its first win.
"If we can get all three cars in the field, we're going to go out Friday afternoon and celebrate with some Coors Light in the wine country."
Sterling Marlin, driver of the No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T, has been the most consistent Dodge entry this season. Marlin is ranked fourth in the series standings, and he finished second behind Jeff Gordon at Sears Point last year.
Marlin scored his third straight finish of sixth or better last week at Pocono and is the only driver who has been ranked in the top 10 in points all season. Marlin is one of four drivers with nine or more top-10 finishes in 15 races this season. The Tennessee native, who will celebrate his 44th birthday on June 30, has finished seventh or better in 12 starts at Sears Point.
Winless in his past 163 starts, Marlin is enjoying his best season since 1995 when he won his second straight Daytona 500 and finished third in the Winston Cup Standings. He's finished third this season at Las Vegas and Michigan and led the most laps at Talladega. He's led laps in 12 of 15 events with five top-five finishes to his credit.
Marlin will drive a brand new Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) chassis at Sears Point. CGR chassis No. 121 will tackle the hilly 10-turn, two-mile California road course. Schroeder will also drive a new CGR chassis, No. 120, while Leffler will drive CGR chassis No. 004. P.J. Jones drove the same chassis last year at Watkins Glen, qualifying 29th and finishing 21st.
All 10 Dodge drivers qualified on speed last week at Pocono for the first time this season. Team Dodge started all 10 Intrepids at Daytona and Darlington, but most of Daytona's field is based on finishes in 125-mile qualifying races. Two Dodges made the field with provisional starts at Darlington.
Here's a look at the Dodge Intrepid chassis teams will take to Sears Point.
BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T)
Elliott will race a brand new chassis at Sears Point. In 11 starts at Sears Point, his best finish was third in 1989. Elliott started eighth and finished 35th last year at Sears Point. He finished 27th last week at Pocono. The 45-year-old driver from Dawsonville, Ga., stands 17th in the NASCAR Winston Cup Standings (NWCS) after 15 of 36 events on the 2001 schedule.
JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 Cheerios Dodge Intrepid R/T)
Andretti will race a brand new Dodge Intrepid R/T chassis at Sears Point. The 38-year-old Bethlehem, Pa., native has tested the car at non-sanctioned NASCAR tracks in Virginia and South Carolina. Andretti qualified 16th and finished 43rd last year at Sears Point after back-to-back third-place finishes in 1998 and '99. Andretti finished 39th last week at Pocono and ranks 30th in the NWCS.
WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T)
Burton will race a brand new road course chassis at Sears Point. The team tested it at a road course in Virginia. Burton, a 39-year-old driver from South Boston, Va., started 37th and finished 21st last year at Sears Point. He finished 10th there in '96 and '97. Burton finished 40th last week at Pocono and ranks 23rd in the NWCS.
CASEY ATWOOD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T)
The Raybestos rookie of the year contender will bring chassis No. 26 to Sears Point, a brand new Evernham Motorsports chassis. Atwood will be making his first start at Sears Point. He finished 38th last week at Pocono and ranks fourth in the rookie standings and 34th in the NWCS.
KYLE PETTY (No. 45 Sprint Dodge Intrepid R/T)
Petty will be making his 595th career start at Sears Point. He'll be driving a new road course chassis. Petty qualified second and finished 19th last year at Sears Point. He finished eighth at Sears Point in ^Ñ99 and has two top 10s in 10 starts at Sears Point. Petty finished 34th last week at Pocono and ranks 44th in the NWCS.
STACY COMPTON (No. 92 Kodiak Dodge Intrepid R/T)
Compton will race Melling Racing's road course chassis from last season at Sears Point, but it has a totally new body. Compton started 36th and finished 31st as a Winston Cup rookie last year at Sears Point. He finished 23rd last week at Pocono and ranks 32nd in the NWCS.
JASON LEFFLER (No. 04 Cingular Wireless Dodge Intrepid R/T)
Leffler will race the same chassis that P.J. Jones drove last year at Watkins Glen. Leffler, a 25-year-old Long Beach, Calif., native will be making his first Cup start at Sears Point. He finished 41st last week at Pocono and ranks 35th in the NWCS. He's fifth in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year race.
BUCKSHOT JONES (No. 44 Georgia Pacific Dodge Intrepid R/T)
Jones will bring a brand new Petty Enterprises chassis to Sears Point. The 30-year-old driver from Tucker, Ga., will be making his first start at Sears Point. Jones finished 42nd last week at Pocono and ranks 40th in the NWCS.
DAVE BLANEY (No. 93 Amoco Ultimate Dodge Intrepid R/T)
Blaney will bring a brand new road course chassis to Sears Point. Blaney started 43rd and finished 29th last year as a rookie at Sears Point. He's put together back-to-back finishes of eighth and 11th the past two weeks at Michigan and Pocono, respectively, and moved to 26th in the NWCS. Blaney ranks second among the 10 Dodge drivers with three top-10 finishes in 15 starts this season.
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T)
Marlin will race chassis No. 121 at Sears Point, a brand new CGR chassis. Marlin finished second last year at Sears Point, fourth last week at Pocono and ranks fourth in the NWCS. With five top five and nine top 10 finishes in 2001, Marlin trails points leader Jeff Gordon by 147 points after 15 of 36 events.
DORSEY SCHROEDER (No. 01 Cingular Wireless Dodge Intrepid R/T)
Schroeder will drive a brand new CGR Chassis, No. 120, at Sears Point. Schroeder, a noted road racer, last drove a Cup race at Watkins Glen in 1997. He started 19th and finished 31st in that event.