Roush Racing Talladega preview

ROUSH RACING Talladega Superspeedway, Oct. 6 -- Oct. 8 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series: UAW-Ford 500, Oct. 8 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series: John Deer 250, Oct. 7 Roush Racing Fast Facts * Mark Martin's pace in the 1997 Winston 500 at Talladega...

Talladega Superspeedway, Oct. 6 -- Oct. 8

NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series: UAW-Ford 500, Oct. 8
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series: John Deer 250, Oct. 7

Roush Racing Fast Facts

* Mark Martin's pace in the 1997 Winston 500 at Talladega set an all-time NASCAR Cup record for the fastest race ever run, as Martin won the caution-free event with an average speed a 188.354 mph. He covered the 500-mile distance in two hours, 38 minutes and 18 seconds.

* Martin has two victories at Talladega, with both coming in the spring race (1995 and 1997).

* Martin has gotten caught up in accidents and finished 30th or worse in his last three races at Talladega.

* Martin has finished in the top 10 in 49 percent of his 75 restrictor-plate races.

* Martin's 34 top-10 finishes in restrictor plate races are the most ever.

* Martin is one of three drivers to have competed in all 75 restrictor-plate races.


* Greg Biffle is currently 12th in the point standings after his 12th-place finish in Kansas.

* Biffle and the National Guard team are currently 270 points behind Tony Stewart in the 11th position.

* In addition to his Cup record at Talladega, Biffle has one top-10 Busch Series finish at the superspeedway.

* This weekend the No. 16 National Guard team will run the red, white and blue National Guard paint scheme.


* Matt Kenseth will be making his 250th NEXTEL Cup start on Sunday.

* Kenseth's 23rd-place finish at Kansas last weekend snapped a streak of six consecutive top-10 finishes dating back to his win at Michigan on Aug. 20.

* Kenseth's average finish of 16.4 at Talladega Superspeedway ranks fifth among the 10 tracks in the Chase.

* Kenseth ranks fourth in laps completed (2,284) at Talladega since the beginning of 2000, Kenseth's rookie season in NEXTEL Cup.

* Kenseth's average starting position at Talladega is 25.8; second lowest among NEXTEL Cup tracks for Kenseth's career.

* Kenseth's career average finish at restrictor plate tracks is 18.0, his career average for all tracks of 15.2.


* In eight starts at the 2.66-mile superspeedway, Jamie McMurray has posted two top-five finishes and three top-10 finishes.

* In his last two restrictor plate starts, McMurray has two top-10 finishes with an eighth place at Daytona and a fifth-place run at Talladega earlier this season.

* McMurray will be testing NASCAR's "Car of Tomorrow" on Monday, Oct. 9, following the UAW-Ford 500.

* This weekend, McMurray will be piloting his No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion.


* Carl Edwards and the No. 99 Office Depot team are currently 13th in the point standings and 272 points out of 11th place.

* In his last two Cup races at Talladega Superspeedway, Edwards has two Top-10 finishes.

* In late August, Edwards participated in the NASCAR Winner's Circle Program at Talladega Superspeedway. Edwards took part in a media tour, where he answered questions about the much-anticipated new surface at the superspeedway and expressed his enthusiasm over the inaugural Talladega truck race.

* Office Depot Store #2375 of Atlanta will be on the side of Edwards' Ford Fusion for this weekend's race at Talladega Superspeedway..

* Edwards will co-host "The Chase is On" on SPEED at 8 p.m. EST Thursday.

NEXTEL Cup Series
UAW-Ford 500, Sunday, October 8

Mark Martin
Team: No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Pat Tryson
Chassis: RK-337 Same car that Martin used to finish seventh with in the Budweiser Shootout in Feb. where he contended late for the win. Martin ran the car earlier this year at Talladega, where it looked to be his best Talladega car in years, before getting caught up in a multi-car accident on lap 20.

Martin on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"Over the years I'm quite sure that I've made my opinion of restrictor-plate racing pretty well known. The fact is, I used to love going to Talladega before the plates, but now I pretty much go there with the expectation of wrecking, based on what usually happens there. We've wrecked in the front, wrecked in the back and wrecked in the middle. It seems we just can't avoid getting caught up people's wrecks there.

"Pat (Tryson) and the team did a great job last week at Kansas and we really need that top-five finish to stay in this thing. This weekend, if we can get through Talladega without getting caught up in the middle of another big wreck, we just might have a chance. One thing for sure, we are going to go down fighting."

Crew Chief Pat Tryson on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"I think that everyone knows the key to Talladega is not getting caught up in an accident. Mark is really good on those tracks and we've run well in the restrictor-plate races, but I can remember the last time we actually did a pit stop at Talladega, before we had to go to the garage to either try and fix a badly damaged race car or load one up. Hopefully our luck there will change this weekend and we'll get a good finish and come out of there in good shape in the points."

Greg Biffle
Team: No. 16 National Guard Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Doug Richert
Chassis: RK- 367 (Talladega '06)

Biffle on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"Talladega is obviously a wild card for everyone. Restrictor plate racing is difficult in that as a driver, you can only do so much. You're car will only go as fast as it will go and that's what you've got for the day. You can try to draft with the fastest cars but that's about all the control a driver has in a restrictor plate race. We'll just need to stay out of trouble and hopefully get out of there with a top-five or top-10 finish."

Crew Chief Doug Richert on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"We're taking the same car we ran at Talladega in the spring. We had a part failure early in that race but we were happy with the performance of the car up to that point. That was the first race for this car but we were happy with the way it ran and feel confident in taking it back. Both races at Talladega are impound races, so we'll be going there with pretty much the same game plan as we did in the spring an focus on race setup."

Matt Kenseth
Team: No. 17 DEWALT Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Robbie Reiser
Chassis: RK-271 -- Last ran in April at Talladega; finished sixth, both Talladega races in '05; finished 11th & 3rd
     RK-327 -- Last ran in July at Daytona; finished fifth, also ran in Feb.'s Daytona 500; finished 15th

Kenseth on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"Personally, I don't think the newly paved surface will have that big of an effect. I think it should be smoother which is good, because Talladega was one of the bumpier tracks we race on. The formula for success is the same as it is for every plate race: stay out of the wreck, don't beat yourself on the track or on pit road and give yourself a shot at the end. I've been very pleased with the way our superspeedway cars have driven in the past year and a half. We came very close to winning this race last year and if not for the last caution with about two to go, I feel like we would have won. But, it's still promising to know that our cars are capable of running up front at plate tracks. One of these days, I'll make the right decision at the end of a race, get some help, and maybe win one of these."

Crew Chief Robbie Reiser on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"We're bringing the same car we've ran at Talladega the last three races and it's been pretty good all three times. We've been so close the past couple of races there and sooner or later we're going to win one of these things. A win couldn't come at a better time for us right now after last weekend. I think we've got a great shot this weekend, but just like anything at Talladega you have to have some things go your way, that you really don't have control over. You have to avoid a couple of big wrecks and you have to have help at the end. But, everything else, the things you can control such as pit stops and pit strategy -- that's the stuff you have to take care of and hopefully we'll be around at the end with a chance to win."

Jamie McMurray
Team: No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Bob Osborne
Chassis: RK -- 192 Last raced at Talladega in May 2006; McMurray finished 5th

McMurray on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"I am really looking forward to Talladega this weekend. First off, it's a fun track to race at. I have always enjoyed racing there over the years. I have run some pretty good races at the track. It's one of those tracks where really anything can happen. It will be interesting to see how the new pavement feels under us. I've heard the track is really smooth, but other than that, it's the same track. It will be interesting to see how, if any, the handling changes for us. In the spring race, we posted a top-five finish, hopefully, we can go there this weekend and have the same results in our Crown Royal Ford Fusion."

Crew Chief Bob Osborne on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"Talladega is always a toss up for every team. Talladega is a place where you will change 20 different positions in just a few laps. You can go from the back to the front very quickly. As long as you can avoid being in a wreck, you can usually leave there with a decent finish. With the track having a brand-new surface, it will be interesting to see how the car's handling reacts. The practice sessions on Friday will be very important in setting up the weekend for everyone. Hopefully, we can avoid those wrecks and come out of Talladega with a good finish."

Carl Edwards
Team: No.99 Office Depot Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Wally Brown
Chassis: RK-232 Last raced at Talladega Superspeedway in May '06; finished 8th

Edwards on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"If you're not careful and lucky, Talladega can turn into one big wreck-fest. You just have to race smart and try to stay out of trouble the best you can, you know? I think the new pavement is going to be exciting. That is a huge surface there; I can't imagine all the work they put into paving it. You already race so close there, just by the nature of the rules and everything. If it is smoother and has more grip and all that, it will just make it even closer, if that is possible."

Crew Chief Wally Brown on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"Talladega is--well, Talladega. It's a hard place to predict, but we're going to do our best to stay out of trouble and be there at the end. Carl had a good run there in May, and I know he's up for the challenge. The new surface is going to be real interesting. I think everyone in the Cup garage will be watching the truck race on Saturday to get a read on it. We're excited for the weekend, and hopefully it will be a good one for the No. 99 Office Depot team."

John Deer 250, Saturday, October 7

David Ragan
Team: No. 50 Roush Racing Ford F-150
Crew Chief: Matt Puccia
Chassis: 31, last raced at Daytona in 2005 where Todd Kluever started 11th and finished 32nd after being involved in an accident.

David Ragan on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"I ran an ARCA race here, and I had a blast. It's going to be cool to take a truck here for the first time. I think the new surface will make the racing just that much better. I don't think the speeds are going to be greatly impacted, but you'll be able to run four-wide all day. Having some of the notes from Daytona, where our trucks were the class of the field, we should be able to have a real good day on Saturday. Mark and Erik ran really strong all day, and I don't think there is any reason we can't go out there and do the same."

Crew Chief Matt Puccia on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"We're looking forward to getting to Talladega and seeing what we've got. We're feeling pretty confident about our superspeedway program. This will be David's first start in a truck on one of these big tracks, but his ARCA experience will really help him. The new pavement will make things interesting, so we'll just hope that we can have the track position all day that will allow us to stay out of the wrecks."

Erik Darnell
Team: No. 99 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford F-150
Crew Chief: John Quinn
Chassis: 23, last raced at Daytona where Darnell started 15th and finished 6th.

Erik Darnell on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"I've raced here once before in an ARCA race, so I've learned and know first hand how wide-open this place is. It's been repaved, but I don't see that making a difference since you're already wide-open here. There is going to be a good mix of experience in the field, some of the guys have raced here several times in Cup and Busch races. We ran well at Daytona, and I think we can improve on that. Any time you can get on these big tracks and get some drafting experience it really helps you to prepare for the next race out. I'm not a fan of the tapered-spacer racing, but we'll work with it like everyone else, and we'll look to come out of there with a good finish."

Crew Chief John Quinn on racing at Talladega Superspeedway:
"Talladega is a lot like Daytona in the sense that they are both tough tracks. It's so easy for someone else to get you caught up in trouble. We've got a great truck we're bringing, and I think we've got the capability to lead some laps and have a strong run. We had a great race with Erik at Daytona in February, and with the additional experience he's gained since then I think we're only going to be that much better and have that much better of a chance at getting a good top-10 finish or better on Saturday."

-credit: rr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup , NASCAR Truck
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Greg Biffle , Jamie McMurray , Carl Edwards , David Ragan , Todd Kluever , Erik Darnell , Doug Richert , Mark Martin