Indianapolis: Dodge Motorsports preview

DODGE DRIVERS AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY * Bill Elliott won the 2002 Brickyard 400, driving the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge. He led 93 laps. * Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates had an impressive weekend at the Brickyard last year.

DODGE DRIVERS AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

* Bill Elliott won the 2002 Brickyard 400, driving the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge. He led 93 laps.

* Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates had an impressive weekend at the Brickyard last year. Reed Sorenson starting from the pole with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya also on the front row. Montoya finished second while Sorenson led 16 laps and finished fifth.

* Ryan Newman has started no farther back than eighth in the seven races he has competed in at the Brickyard. His best finish of 4th came in 2002.

* Kasey Kahne has three straight starts in the top five with two top fives in four previous starts.

* Bobby Labonte won the 2000 Brickyard 400 and the Sprint Cup championship before moving to Petty Enterprises in 2006.

* Elliott Sadler has one pole and a best finish of third in nine starts at IMS.

* In seven starts, Kurt Busch has two top-five finishes.

* Kyle Petty returns to pilot the No. 45 Dodge after a six-race stint in the TNT television booth. Terry Labonte filled in for Petty.

* Robby Gordon will be making his ninth start at Indy in the Sprint Cup Series. He has two top-10 finishes.

THE DODGE BOYS

* Kasey Kahne recorded the 200th win by Dodge in the Sprint Cup Series with his victory in the Pocono 500. Kahne has two wins, three top-five and nine top-10 finishes in 2008 and is currently 11th in the Race to the Chase. Kahne also won the Sprint All-Star Race.

* The 11 Dodge teams entered in the 400-mile race at the 2.5-mile oval will seek the manufacturer's 202nd victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Dodge teams have posted 41 wins since the manufacturer returned to NASCAR's premier series in 2001 (including four this year) after being out of the sport since 1977.

* The Dodge Charger has won at least one race in NASCAR's premier series since its return in 2005.

* In addition to Kahne, Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch have posted wins in Dodge Chargers in 2008.

DODGE ROOKIE CONTENDERS

* Sam Hornish Jr. -- The three-time IndyCar Series champion and 2006 Indy 500 winner knows his way around the 2.5-mile oval. He will be making his Sprint Cup debut in the No. 77 Dodge Charger. He trails Regan Smith by five points in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings.

* Patrick Carpentier -- The driver of the No. 10 Dodge Charger from Gillett Evernham Motorsports is outside the top 35 in owner points, but has successfully qualified for every event (16) since Daytona where qualifying was completed (qualifying cancelled at California and Bristol because of rain).

DID YOU KNOW?

* Six of the 14 race winners at the Brickyard have gone on to claim the NASCAR Sprint Cup at the conclusion of that season. The most recent is Jimmie Johnson (2006).

* All four manufacturers have won at least three races this season and all four are represented in the top 12.

* The Milwaukee Mile, located at the grounds for the Wisconsin State Fair, is the oldest operating motor speedway in the world, hosting at least one auto race every year since 1903. Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the second oldest operating motor speedway (1909).

* Richard Petty celebrated the Golden Anniversary of his first NASCAR start (July 12, 1958) last week. In his 35-year career, he amassed 200 wins in 1,185 starts, won seven Sprint Cup titles and seven Daytona 500s. He posted 27 wins in 1967, including a streak of 10 straight.

INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY TRACK FACTS

* IMS is the largest sports venue in the world (seating capacity) with permanent seating for more than 257,000 people and additional seating that raises capacity to approximately 400,000.

* The 2.5-mile oval includes two 5/8-mile straightaways, two 1/8-mile short straightaways and four ¼-mile turns.

* Only one NASCAR Sprint Cup race at the Brickyard has been won from the pole (Kevin Harvick, 2003). Three winners have come form the third starting position; no other starting spot has produced more than one winner.

Kurt Busch, Driver -- No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge

"Roger and his teams had been trying for years and years to win the Daytona 500 and that part of the equation was filled in down there back in February. With the Daytona 500 now checked off the Penske Racing 'hit list,' the Brickyard 400 is the one race that looms so large on the radar screen.

"When you look at all of 'the Captain's' accomplishments and the records for Penske Racing, the significant major voids in stock car racing are a win in the Brickyard 400 and a NASCAR points title. I know those are major goals for Roger and I want to be the driver who delivers the goods to him."

Kasey Kahne, Driver -- No. 9 Budweiser Dodge

Winning at the Brickyard and the Daytona 500 are on the top of my list. I think it depends on what type of racing background you have which one is more important to you. For me, coming up in the sprint car ranks, I raced in the Indianapolis area a lot and learned early on how significant winning at the Brickyard was. When you think about the drivers that have won at Indy throughout the years it would mean a lot to be able to add my name to that list. We've been close a few times and it's certainly a victory I'd love to pull off."

Sam Hornish Jr. -- Driver -- No 77 Mobil 1 Dodge

"I'm sure my return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be somewhat emotional although I don't know what to expect. I've been to the track as both a fan and a driver and I can't remember a time that I didn't go to Indy.

"I love racing at Indianapolis and I am honored to become one of a handful of drivers that have competed in both the Indy car and NASCAR events at Indy. Flat tracks have not been our strong suit this season and Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a flat track. However, I can't think of a better place to turn that around than at Indy."

Ryan Newman -- Driver -- N0. 12 Alltel Dodge

"Indianapolis is the 'race track' as far as history goes. It is truly an honor to get to race where so many incredible drivers have raced and won. The track is especially special to me because it is in my home state. I remember going there and watching races as a kid with my family and even watching the first open NASCAR test session there as a spectator."

Patrick Carpentier -- Driver -- No. 10 Sears Auto Center/Valvoline Dodge

"Indianapolis Motor Speedway is unlike any place you'll ever race. There is so much history there. NASCAR has only been there for a few years but they've already made some pretty cool memories. It seems like one of those places that is legendary. It's amazing to think of some of the names that have raced on those bricks. I'm very excited to get our Sears Auto Center/Valvoline Dodge out on the track. I've raced there before in open wheel but never in a stock car.

"Our No. 10 team has been making gains. We didn't have the kind of run we expected at Chicago but we're looking to improve that at Indy. The guys have been working really hard and we'll keep focused on making the races, like we do every week and then jump over to our race setup. I'll be honest with you, it's still a bit of a challenge making these races. The competition is very tight. And we're still going through some growing pains. But like I said before, all the pieces are here at Gillett Evernham Motorsports for this team to succeed, it's just up to us to put it all together."

Elliott Sadler -- Driver - No. 19 Stanley Tools Dodge

"Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a very special place to race. Everyone brings their A-game to the racetrack and tries just a little harder to get the win at Indy. In racing there is Daytona and Indy -- if you can win at one of those tracks it really is something special.

"In 2004 we put together a really strong run at The Brickyard and brought home a third place finish, and in 2005 we started from the pole, but until I'm sitting in Victory Lane drinking my Coke I look at it as unfinished business. We are bringing a great car and every single person on the team is working hard to make sure we have a chance to kiss the bricks."

Bobby Labonte -- Driver -- No. 43 Cheerios Racing/Tostino's Dodge

"This weekend really feels like the start of the second half of our season. It actually began after the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona a couple of weeks ago, but the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard starts a stretch of 17 consecutive races. Plus we are coming off of an off-weekend where everyone on the Cheerios Racing/Tostino's Dodge team were able to relax and get geared up for this big run to the end of the season. There isn't a better way to start the second half than with one of our biggest races of the year. The first half starts with the biggest race, the Daytona 500, but Indianapolis is big too."

Terry Labonte -- Driver -- No. 45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil

"Indianapolis is a pretty tough track for stock car racing. Even in the old car you were typically 'tight' at the end of your run because the track is so flat. Everyone will be working hard during the practice sessions because this new car is much 'tighter' by design. But I think you have seen teams become more accustomed to the car as the year has gone on. It just takes time. We've been able to get the No. 45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge 'loose' on several occasions over the last couple of races. The key is finding the 'sweet' spot because you don't want to be too 'loose' or too 'tight' getting into the 90 degree turns at Indy."

-credit: gem

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Team Penske