Loudon II: Dodge Motorsports preview

DODGE AT NEW HAMPSHIRE MOTOR SPEEDWAY * Dodge has three wins at New Hampshire. Kurt Busch won the rain-shortened (284 of the 301 scheduled laps were completed) race earlier this year. Ryan Newman won the second event in 2004 and ...


* Dodge has three wins at New Hampshire. Kurt Busch won the rain-shortened (284 of the 301 scheduled laps were completed) race earlier this year. Ryan Newman won the second event in 2004 and Ward Burton was the winner at the first race in 2002. Newman also won the second race in 2002 before joining the Dodge family.


* The 11 Dodge teams entered in the Sylvania 300 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.


* Sam Hornish Jr. -- The three-time IndyCar Series champion and 2006 Indy 500 winner finished 39th in his first trip to NHIS in the No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger.

* Patrick Carpentier -- The driver of the No. 10 Dodge Charger from Gillett Evernham Motorsports currently sits 36th in driver points. In the spring race at NHMS Carpentier earned his first NSCS pole and finished 31st.

* Hornish Jr. and Carpentier are outside the top 35 in owner points and must secure a spot in the field during Friday's qualifying session at NHMS.


Kasey Kahne, No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger

What are your thoughts on running at NHMS this weekend? "We really haven't had too many cars capable of winning at Loudon, but we've usually been good enough to run in the top 10 or top 15. It's a track that has very long corners so it's going to be important that we get our Budweiser Dodge to roll really well through the center of the corners. The straight-aways are long for just a one-mile track and the turns are extremely flat, so having good brakes that will last you to the end is important if you want to run well."

Can you give a little perspective on your team's progress now versus this time last season? "It's disappointing that we didn't make the Chase, but I feel like we've come a long ways since last year. This entire Budweiser Team has worked very hard this season and we've been consistent. We just had a few bad weekends that kept us from making the Chase. Our team has done a great job. It takes time. Last year at this time, we were around 20th in points and didn't have a shot. I think we've come a long ways as a team and our consistency from seventh or eighth to 15th has been really good as far as I'm concerned."

You've been in the COT for a little over a year now, how much progress has your team made and is it getting any easier to set up and maintain throughout a race? "Since this time last year, we've made a ton of progress. I know Gillett Evernham has made a ton of progress and it's a lot more fun to drive now because it (COT) actually drives like a racecar -- so it's more fun. But yeah, the car has come a long ways. The set-ups -- the things we're doing to get (the car) to go around the corner -- is definitely much better."

Ryan Newman, No. 12 Kodak Dodge Charger

Racing at NHMS: "New Hampshire has always been a good track for us, and it has been a special place for me over the years. I got my first Cup win there in 2002, so I have always enjoyed the track. We had a decent Kodak Dodge there in June, but the rain kept us from the finish that we could have gotten. We got caught like a lot of other guys did so we ended up 15th. I'd like to think we can go back there this time and get that top 10. It's a fun race track. You really have to drive it into the corner and focus on rolling through the center. It's really important to focus on the exit of the corners. The toughest part is track position -- if you get behind, it is hard to make it up, so we want to start by qualifying well."

Sam Hornish Jr., No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger

On racing at NHMS: "New Hampshire Motor Speedway holds a lot of significance to my NASCAR racing career. It is the track where I attempted my first ever Sprint Cup race, and although we did not make that race I feel that I gained valuable experience in the process. This weekend, we will need to qualify on time much like we did last year. I am confident that we will have a strong qualifying run and a better finish than we did in June. I've always felt that New Hampshire and Richmond are similar to each other, and I feel that last weekend afforded us the opportunity to learn and improve as we head into New Hampshire."

Chad McCumbee, No. 45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge Charger

On this weekend: "This will be my first time in a Cup race during 'The Chase' and I'm looking forward to it. I'm not making very many Cup starts this year, but I want to show these guys that I belong on the same track as them. So the challenge is to race hard and earn their respect, but also be cautious that there are drivers out there racing for a championship. This is where I want to be. I want to race in the Sprint Cup Series and a race like this weekend can go a long way in helping me achieve that goal."

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

On the last 10 races: "These last ten races are going to be important for everyone on the No. 43 Dodge. Obviously we want to work on preparing for next season, but we also have some goals that we want to accomplish. Each year that I've been at Petty Enterprises we have improved on the point's finish from the previous year. Last year we finished 18th in points; we are in a very good position to improve on that this year. There are a lot of tracks left on the schedule where we could easily turn in a few top-10 finishes and challenge for wins. If we can do that, we can fight our way inside the top-15."

On NHMS: "The first race at New Hampshire was probably the best all-around race that we've had this year. The car was fast in qualifying and we started on the outside of the front row. The race didn't play out like we wanted it to, but we were still able to get a top-10 finish. A carbon-copy of that weekend would be huge for us this week. We could pick up a lot of points, but it would also go a long way in establishing some consistency for us that will hopefully carry to the end of the year.

"We've had to deal with a 'loose in, tight center, loose off' condition a lot with this new car. Just about all of the teams have. That will be a challenge again this weekend at New Hampshire. It has been in the past. The track is just so flat that when you get to the corner and the rear of the car wants to step out. You get used to the comfort of the banking at most other tracks and it's not there. Each time we go back to Loudon there is more grip in the second groove. If you are able to move your line around that always helps if you car is not handling the way you like."

Kurt Busch, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger

On returning to NHMS: "Our Miller Lite Dodge is the same car we raced at Richmond last Sunday and ran decent with. Just looking at the numbers, with a win and a 10th-place finish in its only races so far, you'd have to maybe say it's one of the strongest cars in our fleet right now."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Patrick Carpentier , Kasey Kahne , Chad McCumbee , Sam Hornish Jr.