Michigan II: Dodge Motorsports preview

DODGE AT MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY * Dodge has won six of the last 14 races at Michigan International Speedway and four of the last seven in August when drivers visited the two-mile oval the second time during the season. * Kurt Busch...

DODGE AT MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

* Dodge has won six of the last 14 races at Michigan International Speedway and four of the last seven in August when drivers visited the two-mile oval the second time during the season.

* Kurt Busch won last year's rain-delayed event (race run on Tuesday) in August. He led four times for 92 laps.

* Kasey Kahne won the June, 2006 race at MIS, one of a series-high six wins for the No. 9 Dodge team that season. He started from the pole in the rain-shortened event (called after 129 of the 200 scheduled laps were completed). Kahne has five top-five finishes in nine outings at MIS.

* Charlie Glotzbach posted the first Dodge victory at Michigan, taking the win in the fourth Sprint Cup race at the track (1970) driving a Ray Nichels-owned Dodge.

* Ryan Newman posted back-to-back wins at Michigan (2003-'04).

DODGE ROOKIE CONTENDERS

* Sam Hornish Jr. -- The three-time IndyCar Series champion and 2006 Indy 500 winner had one of his most competitive outings of the season going at MIS in June. He led twice and was running second with just 21 laps remaining in what turned out to be a fuel mileage race. Debris on the grill created an overheating problem, changing the strategy for the No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger team. He settled for 21st, the highest finishing rookie.

* Patrick Carpentier -- The driver of the No. 10 Dodge Charger from Gillett Evernham Motorsports is eager for the return to MIS. He was running inside the top 20, but was caught up in a mishap during the green-white-checkered finish and ended up 24th.

* Dario Franchitti -- The driver of the No. 40 Fastenal Dodge Charger earned his first-career Nationwide Series pole at Watkins Glen last weekend and finished fifth. In 12 Nationwide starts this season, Franchitti has one top-five and two top-10 finishes along with the one pole. The No. 40 Sprint Cup Series entry from CGRFS is currently not competing.

DID YOU KNOW?

* Kurt Busch is the youngest MIS winner (24 years, 10 months, 11 days) 6/15/2003.

* Since the track's first Cup race in 1969, Bobby Labonte (1995) is one of only four drivers to sweep both annual Cup races at MIS. In addition to Labonte, the list includes Bobby Allison (1971), David Pearson (1972), Cale Yarborough (1983) and Bill Elliott (1985, '86).

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

DODGE DRIVER QUOTES

Kasey Kahne, Driver, No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger

"Michigan has been a good track for us. I've run second here and we've won here. We had a real loose racecar back in June and we just tried to keep fixing it and getting the car better and we did at the end of the race. The final run was the best that our Budweiser Dodge was all day. We're taking the same car back this weekend that we raced in June so I'm looking forward to another solid finish."

How important is the Chase standings to you right now? "As a driver, you watch the point standings each week - you can't help but to pay attention to it. We've been seventh-12th the last month or two, or kind of all year, we've been in that area. So that's a spot that you as a driver -- I mean, you have to really be on it. You know there are cars coming from behind. There are cars in front of you that you can pass or that are going to pull away. So, it's tough. And the Chase is the main goal of the season. We need to be in the Chase and we need to be in there for Budweiser and everybody that's part of this Gillett Evernham Team. It doesn't matter if we're running 20th or 30th, we have to finish the race and get all the points we can, and at the end of the day, hopefully we make the Chase. That's our goal. We're going to do everything we can to be in the Chase."

Ryan Newman, Driver, No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger

"I used to go to Michigan as a fan when I was a kid, so it's pretty cool to come back here doing what I love to do. It's always been a special place to me. Not only the track, but I love the area. Earlier this year at MIS, Racing for Wildlife, the track, Michigan United Conservation Clubs and Michigan Department of Natural Resources came together to officially kick off our restoration efforts at Mill Lake Youth Camp in Chelsea. The camp is in a beautiful area, and we are working together to raise money so that the camp can be restored and that kids and families have somewhere to go and enjoy the outdoors. I was guilty of being a video game junkie, too, but we want to give kids a place where they can go fishing, hiking and canoeing and just have a good time."

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

"I'm probably as guilty as anyone of not giving NASCAR enough credit for all of the safety initiatives they have introduced to our sport in the last five years. I'll tell you, all it takes is to be involved in an accident like we had at the end of the race at Watkins Glen to send you a reminder. There is no doubt that this is the safest racecar in the world. We don't think of road courses as places where hard wrecks like that can occur. Everything in the car worked like it was designed to do. I appreciate NASCAR bringing safety to the forefront and keeping it there."

"The first race at Michigan was a big learning experience for us. The 'high' line was definitely the place to be so we'll work towards getting our car comfortable up there this weekend. That race came down to fuel mileage, so we'll have to keep our eye on that too. Michigan has always been my favorite racetrack. We got a top-10 finish in this race last year. Another finish like that would be great for this No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker team."

"There are certain tracks that you circle on the schedule as places where you want to do well, places that have a different meaning. Daytona and Lowe's always come to mind. But Michigan is one too. There is usually a large group of Dodge employees that make the drive down from Detroit and you want to perform well in front of them. The support that we get from Dodge is huge. We couldn't do this without them."

Elliott Sadler, Driver, No. 19 Stanley Tools Dodge Charger

"Michigan is a multi-groove race track, which makes it fun because it allows everyone to move around and find the best line. That makes it fun for the fans because they get to see a lot of side-by-side racing. I have a pretty good qualifying record at Michigan, but haven't had the results we deserved during the race. We have a lot on the line this weekend with the $1 million on the line and we are racing all out for the win."

Talk about racing for $1 million charitable donation: "This may be one of the biggest races of my life. Stanley Tools is putting $1 million on the line for a win -- talk about incentive. A win this weekend would mean a lot to a lot of people. I get to meet some of the kids from the Children's Miracle Network hospital in Lansing, Mich. this week and then I am going to go out on Sunday and do my best to deliver a big win for everyone involved. I'm honored that Stanley Tools allows us to be a part of such a special program."

Patrick Carpentier, Driver, No. 10 Tow Truck in a Box Dodge Charger

"We ran 24th at Michigan earlier this year. My Crew Chief Mike Shiplett and the guys had our Dodge dialed in and we were looking to get a top-15 finish. We ended up getting caught up in a last lap crash. I think we can improve on that finish this weekend.

"We're focused on our goal to break into the top 35 by the end of the year. We're keeping our heads down and pushing ahead. We know if we run as well as we think we will we will reach that goal. Considering what we overcame early in the season that would be an incredible accomplishment.

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

"I'm looking forward to returning to Michigan International Speedway because I consider it to be my home track. I have a lot of laps there between the IndyCar Series and NASCAR and we had a strong run in the Cup Series race there in June. We should've gotten a much better finish than 22nd place in that race.

"Hopefully, we will get a top-10 finish this weekend as we have made a lot of improvements to the Mobil 1 Dodge since the last race. We have improved the handling of the car on long runs and I think that will benefit us on Sunday."

Terry Labonte, Driver, No. 45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge Charger

"One thing about being a part-time driver is that you rarely get a chance to run the same track twice in the same year. That makes it hard to get into a rhythm. So going back to Michigan with a race under my belt in this new car gives me confidence that we can have a good run this weekend. We had a good car at the end of the race in June. I know the feel that I'm looking for with this new chassis."

"If I have one goal for this particular race, it's to get this No. 45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge into 38th place in owner points after Michigan. We're less than 50 points out of that spot right now. A good finish will put us up there. Stewart (Cooper, crew chief) and I have worked well together this year. Our communication has been strong despite not working together every week. We need to continue that at Michigan to gain the points that we need."

"We're calling the races that Bobby and I are teammates the 'Texas Two Step.' I'm not much of a dancer, but I have to admit that's pretty original. This part-time schedule that I have been running has really been fun for me. It's been the most fun I've had at the racetrack in a long time. That's due to the fact that I get to race with my brother. Who knows how many more opportunities we'll have to do this so I'm enjoying each one of them."

Pat Tryson, Crew Chief, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger

"With the COT cars, everything is more even across the board. It's so valuable to be up front and get track position. I think we learned so much when we saw what unfolded at Chicago. We got a lap down when we got hit with a speeding penalty. Kurt was up front on the restart trying to get his lap back and just ran off and left the field up there in the clean air.

"The guy up front seems to just pull away from the field and all the cars mired back there from sixth through about 25th are so often running almost identical lap times. It's a situation of you having to play your cards the best you can. You look for whatever strategy you can play to come out ahead at the end and that so often involves the fuel mileage angle."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Bobby Labonte , Terry Labonte , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Patrick Carpentier , Dario Franchitti , Kasey Kahne , Bobby Allison , Elliott Sadler , Charlie Glotzbach , Cale Yarborough , Sam Hornish Jr.