Richmond II: Dodge Motorsports preview

DODGE AT RICHMOND * Lee Petty drove a Dodge to victory in the first NASCAR race at Richmond in 1953; a 200-lap event on what was then a .5-mile dirt track. * Dodge has 17 wins at Richmond including three since the manufacturer returned to ...


* Lee Petty drove a Dodge to victory in the first NASCAR race at Richmond in 1953; a 200-lap event on what was then a .5-mile dirt track.

* Dodge has 17 wins at Richmond including three since the manufacturer returned to NASCAR's premier series in 2001.

* Dodge winners at Richmond include Lee Petty, Buck Baker, David Pearson, Cotton Owens, Bobby Allison, Richard Petty, Dave Marcis, Neil Bonnett, Ryan Newman, Jeremy Mayfield and Kasey Kahne.

* David Pearson posted three straight wins in a Dodge at RIR (1965-66).

* Richard Petty has 13 wins at Richmond -- four in a Dodge and nine in a Plymouth. He had seven consecutive wins (1970-73).

* Kyle Petty won the spring race in 1986 after Dale Earnhardt tapped Darrell Waltrip in turn four on the final lap, sending both drivers into the wall. Petty managed to avoid the crash.


Kasey Kahne, No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger

What are your thoughts on running at Richmond this weekend? "My first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory came at Richmond, so I always look forward to going back. It is the ideal short track - wide, fast, smooth, very competitive and there's plenty of room to set up the pass. We've had pretty good success there in the past. We just have to keep our Budweiser Dodge out of trouble, race hard and see what happens."

Will you use any different strategy going into this weekend's race? "Not really. We'll just run our best like we did last weekend. We always run 15th to fifth at Richmond. Hopefully they'll (Bowyer and Ragan) have a problem; that's our only way in (the Chase) I think- is if somebody else has a problem. The other two drivers are strong. So we'll see what happens. Other than that, hopefully our Budweiser Dodge will be fast, get a win and get a bunch of points."

How disappointed are you on where you are in the point standings? "I'm not really disappointed. I feel like we've come a long ways since last year. We were going for sixth in points a few weeks ago and ended up 14th two weeks later. It's racing; that's the way it goes. I think that we have a good enough team that if we make the Chase, we can run in the top five of the points. If we don't make the Chase, we're going to run 13th in points. It's going to be disappointing. All that we can do is our best and that's what we've been doing all year. We just have to head to Richmond and see how it all shakes out."

Elliott Sadler, No. 19 Best Buy Dodge Charger

On California last weekend: "I saw an improvement in our car at California. It wasn't as noticeable because the '48' just ran away from everybody, but I was happy with our car. Those tracks have been the one area of our team that we needed to shore up and we have been able to do that over the last couple of races. This was a new car and we had a good test with it at Kentucky before going to Fontana. A lot of the stuff that we learned should translate to other tracks that we have left on the schedule."

On Richmond: "Just like every other team in this series, we wanted to be in position to wrap up a spot in the 'Chase' this weekend at Richmond. It's been somewhat of a frustrating year. We're not where we want to be in points, but we're focused on a bigger picture. The Boston Ventures partnership has been great for Petty Enterprises. We're becoming a stronger organization every day. It just takes time, but we're committed to doing this the right way. Petty Enterprises is still the most successful team in NASCAR history and everyone here is going to make sure we get back to that level of success."

On Racing Under the Lights at Richmond: "Richmond is a special place for me. I'm a very proud Virginian and those fans are proud of all their drivers who make it into NASCAR. I used to sit in those very same stands when I was a kid with my family members. A lot of the crew guys on the Best Buy Dodge are from Virginia, too, so it means a little more to all of us when we race at Richmond."

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

On RIR: "We need more tracks like Richmond on the schedule. There is no doubt that it's one of the most exciting tracks that we go to. It just promotes good, hard racing. What's great about it is all of the room you have. It is a lot like a speedway, especially in the corners, because they are high speed and you can run a number of different lines. It would make for a great place to hold a 'Chase' race."

Ryan Newman, No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger

On Richmond: "Richmond is a fun race. It's under the lights on Saturday night, so it's always exciting. I think it is probably the best short track we have on the NASCAR circuit. We can go two and three wide at Richmond and there is always some beating and banging on the race track. It's a little harder to beat and bang with the new car because the bumpers line up, but I think the fans will get a pretty cool show on Saturday night."

Kyle Petty, No. 45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge Charger

On California: "We haven't turned the corner yet on the downforce tracks, but we can definitely see it. We were competitive at California and that is a place that I've not run particularly well at in the past. We were running around the top-20 for quite a while and our lap times were solid. Everyone is working hard and that's what it takes. We need to continue to do that and end the season with some momentum for the off-season."

On RIR: "Richmond was a good racetrack when it was a half-mile, but it was more like full-contact racing. It was really tight and you had to use the 'eight tires stick better than four' approach. When they reconfigured it they did a really nice job with the transitions in the corners. Now you have enough room to race side-by-side and it has become more of a finesse track than the old one. You still see bumping and banging, but you can pass without it now. It's definitely one of my favorites.

"You know, you never forget the first time you did anything - your first homerun, first date with your wife or your first car. That's why Richmond will always be a special place for me. The 1986 season was a long time ago, but I can still remember that first Cup win like it happened yesterday. I was content to finish with a top-5, but (Dale) Earnhardt and (Darrell) Waltrip got together on the last lap, right in front of me and Joe Ruttman, and I was able to make it through. I think about that win a lot because I'd been trying for so long."

Patrick Carpentier, No. 10 Valvoline Dodge Charger

On Returning to Richmond: "We've come a long way as a team since our last visit to Richmond. I've especially learned a lot about short track racing. From a driver's standpoint to be fast at Richmond you have to be able to roll through the middle of the corner and carry that speed off the corner. That is something that I struggled with at the beginning of the season. But with help from my crew and some coaching from Elliott [Sadler], it's something that I have a better understanding of now.

"Our Valvoline crew ran well last week. It was great. We had a strong car all race long. I think my communication with the team is the best it's been all year. That is something that we knew would take time but I really feel like we're running on all cylinders right now. And we're excited for Richmond, especially after our qualifying run there in the spring."

Sam Hornish Jr., No 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger

On Richmond: "Richmond International Raceway is a track where I've always enjoyed racing. I've had success there in the IndyCar Series and hope to achieve the same amount of success there one day in the Sprint Cup Series.

"We will have to focus on having a good qualifying run this Friday as we are out of the top-35 in owner points. Unfortunately, our race in California did not go the way we needed it to and we now have to qualify on time. We've come a long way in our short track program since the first race this season at Richmond. Hopefully, we will have the run we need to gain valuable points."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Darrell Waltrip , Bobby Labonte , Jeremy Mayfield , Kyle Petty , Ryan Newman , Patrick Carpentier , Joe Ruttman , Dave Marcis , Richard Petty , Kasey Kahne , Bobby Allison , Elliott Sadler , Sam Hornish Jr. , David Pearson , Lee Petty