Pocono: Dodge Motorsports preview

DODGE AT POCONO RACEWAY * Richard Petty drove a Dodge to victory in the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Pocono Raceway. He led 152 of the 192 laps run (the race, scheduled for 200 laps, was halted eight laps short of ...

DODGE AT POCONO RACEWAY

* Richard Petty drove a Dodge to victory in the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Pocono Raceway. He led 152 of the 192 laps run (the race, scheduled for 200 laps, was halted eight laps short of the advertised distance because of rain). Petty won again in 1976 in a Dodge.

* Kurt Busch won the second race at Pocono last year, leading 175 of the 200 laps in the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge. Busch has two wins and seven top-five finishes at Pocono in 14 outings.

*          Ryan Newman started from the pole for last year's Pocono
500 and finished second in the race.  Newman has one win, five top-five
and six top-10 finishes at Pocono along with two poles.  Newman is one of
12 drivers to win from the pole.  He did so at the second race in 2003.

* Bill Elliott posted his fifth win at Pocono in 2002, winning the second race from the pole in a Dodge from then-Evernham Motorsports. Elliott went on to win the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway the following week.

* Dodge has three wins at Pocono since its return to NASCAR's premier series in 2001.

THE DODGE BOYS

* Brothers Bobby and Terry Labonte will be teammates for five upcoming races. Terry, a two-time Sprint Cup champion, will be at the wheel of the No. 45 Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) Dodge Charger this weekend as Kyle Petty moves to the television booth for TNT's coverage of the series. Bobby, the 2000 Sprint Cup champion, is the driver of the No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Charger from Petty Enterprises.

* Ryan Newman (Daytona 500) and Kasey Kahne (Coca-Cola 600) have posted the two Dodge wins this year. Kahne also won the Sprint All-Star Race (a non-points event).

* The 12 Dodge teams entered in the Pocono 500 will seek the manufacturer's 200th victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Dodge teams have posted 38 wins since the manufacturer returned to NASCAR's premier series in 2001.

DODGE ROOKIE CONTENDERS

* Sam Hornish Jr. -- The three-time IndyCar Series champion and 2006 Indy 500 winner has put together consecutive top-20 finishes to get the No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger back into the top 35 in owner points. He was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race at Dover, the fifth time in 13 races he has claimed top rookie honors. He finished 18th at The Monster Mile and is tied with Regan Smith for the top spot in the rookie standings -- 127-127.

* Dario Franchitti -- The 2007 Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series champion returns to Sprint Cup competition this weekend after being sidelined with an ankle injury sustained April 26 at Talladega during a Nationwide Series event. Franchitti participated in the Nationwide race at Dover.

* Patrick Carpentier -- The driver of the No. 10 Dodge Charger from Gillett Evernham Motorsports has successfully qualified for the last eight Sprint Cup events. Carpentier finished 29th at Dover. He made his first Sprint Cup start last year at Watkins Glen.

DID YOU KNOW?

*          Kasey Kahne holds the track qualifying record with a time of
52.164 seconds at 172.533 mph.  He set the mark in June, 2004.

* Kurt Busch has earned two perfect Driver Ratings of 150.0 at Pocono Raceway. His first was in July of 2005, when he led 131 of the 203 laps en route to a dominating win. His second came in the series' last trip to Pocono, last July. In that race, Busch led 175 laps and racked up 99 Fastest Laps Run to capture his first win of the season.

* No races have been won from the pole in 2008.

Quotes of the Week

Kurt Busch:

"Ever since I ran there back as a rookie in 2001 I have really liked the Pocono track. It's a challenge that I always enjoy. Through the years, it seems like we always get a big boost every time we race there."

Ryan Newman:

"I like Pocono a lot. It's a driver's race track. It has three independent corners. They are all different -- they drive differently and you have to adapt. It's a place that I have always liked, and we have done well there for the most part. We had a couple of good runs there last season, and I would like to carry that over with the Kodak Dodge this weekend. Pocono is a fun track. It is one of the more difficult places to qualify, but we have done well in qualifying in the past. Turn one is pretty difficult. The Tunnel Turn is probably the hardest corner. It's a place that I look forward to, and I think that the team does, too."

Kasey Kahne

"The straightaways at Pocono are so long, you need to get all of the speed down them that you can so your car can come off of turn three as fast as possible. I've always liked the uniqueness of the three different corners and the challenge that it presents to the teams to set up your car to be fast at each of the different ends."

Terry Labonte

"I'm excited to get inside a racecar for the first time this season. Having my brother as a teammate will be special again. Bobby and I have always enjoyed the time we have spent together on the race track. We haven't been teammates very much, but when we are it makes that time even better. And I'm honored that Kyle would ask me to get behind the wheel of the 45 car for these five races. I feel confident that we can go out and have some good runs."

"I hope Bobby remembers all of those pointers that I gave him when he was coming up through late model stocks and the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Now it feels like the roles are reversed because I don't have much experience with the new car. I'll be leaning heavily on Bobby for advice. We have a lot of tests coming up so I'm sure I'll have a lot of questions for him. I think we found a few things at the Pocono test that should help us this weekend."

Bobby Labonte

"This week starts the five-race stretch where Terry (Labonte) and I will become teammates again. It was always fun having him at the track. This was a great move by us because Terry is the same driver today that he was when he won the 2003 Southern 500 or when he finished third at Sonoma a few years ago. When he jumps behind the wheel of a racecar he is still the 'Iceman.' To have him as a teammate again is special for our whole family. It means a lot to me because I grew up wanting to be just like him."

Patrick Carpentier

"Pocono is such a big track. I'm glad we're racing there so close to the test. It will keep my mind fresh about it. Getting a strong run off of turn three is going to be very important. You have to be able to carry a lot of speed down the frontstretch and turn three is the key in doing that."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Bobby Labonte , Terry Labonte , Kyle Petty , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Patrick Carpentier , Dario Franchitti , Richard Petty , Kasey Kahne , Regan Smith , Sam Hornish Jr.