DODGE AT INFINEON RACEWAY * Juan Pablo Montoya claimed his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory when he drove the No. 42 Texaco-Havoline Dodge to victory in last year's event at Infineon Raceway. He started 32nd. * Last year's win by Juan ...
DODGE AT INFINEON RACEWAY
* Juan Pablo Montoya claimed his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory when he drove the No. 42 Texaco-Havoline Dodge to victory in last year's event at Infineon Raceway. He started 32nd.
* Last year's win by Juan Pablo Montoya was the first by a Dodge in the 19-year history of Sprint Cup racing at the Northern California facility.
* Robby Gordon swept both road course races (Infineon and Watkins Glen) in 2003. (Gordon moved to the Dodge ranks at the start of the current season).
* Kurt Busch started from the pole in the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge in 2006. He has taken the green flag from a starting spot of sixth or better in five of the last six races at Infineon.
* Bobby Labonte will be making his 16th start at the Sonoma track. He has two top-five and five top-10 finishes.
* In six previous starts at Infineon, Ryan Newman has two top-five and four top-10 finishes. He has not finished outside the top 20 in his six previous outings.
THE DODGE BOYS
* The 12 Dodge teams entered in the 110-lap, 219-mile race will be seeking the manufacturer's 201st victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Dodge teams have posted 40 wins since the manufacturer returned to NASCAR's premier series in 2001 (including three this year) after being out of the sport since 1977.
* Kasey Kahne recorded the 200th win by Dodge in the Sprint Cup Series with his victory in the Pocono 500. It was Kahne's third win in four weeks (including the Sprint All-Star Race).
* Elliott Sadler will be making his 293 consecutive career start in the Sprint Cup Series at Infineon.
DODGE ROOKIE CONTENDERS
* Sam Hornish Jr. -- The three-time IndyCar Series champion and 2006 Indy 500 winner led twice at Michigan and was second with just 30 laps remaining. Debris on the grille led to an overheating problem and a late spin resulted in a 21st-place finish. He trails Regan Smith by one point in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings, 146-145.
* Patrick Carpentier -- The driver of the No. 10 Dodge Charger from Gillett Evernham Motorsports was working on a top-20 finish at MIS when he was caught up in a mishap on the final lap. Despite the setback, he still posted his best finish of the season (24th). Carpentier has successfully qualified for the lat 10 Sprint Cup events.
* Dario Franchitti -- The 2007 Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series champion returned to Sprint Cup competition last week after being sidelined with an ankle injury since April. Mechanical problems took Franchitti out of the race early at Michigan.
Dodge Driver Quotes of the Week
"I like hustling the car around the track in road course races. It's a challenge for the driver and the team and a lot of times, the race comes down to the strategy that you play during the course of the race. We had a top-seven car last year at Sonoma, and our pit strategy was different so we finished 20th. All in all, we've had some good runs at Infineon in the past, and I hope to duplicate those runs this weekend. To me, there are a few keys to Infineon. Basically there are three really heavy braking zones -- turn five, turn six and turn 11. The biggest part of the race track is just pure braking, having good braking. The second most important part is being good through the esses on the backstretch and carrying so much speed down through there. There are a lot of lefts and rights. One of the hardest parts of the track is cresting, what I call turn three up over the hill to the right and not getting off the race track on the left hand side."
"Last weekend while we were in Michigan, I got the chance to drive the new Dodge Challenger. I was like a kid in the candy store. I couldn't help, but chuckle as I drove through the infield. All the race fans were asking me to stop so they could get a look at the car. Many of them were snapping photos with their cell phones. It had tons of power and is a true hot rod. As soon as I turned it in I was asking how I could purchase one for my own garage. I don't think they are going to be available for a while because they are in such demand right now. Even someone like me who drives for Dodge has to wait in line!"
Juan Pablo Montoya
"Last year, I felt a ton of pressure heading into Infineon because everyone expected me to run well and win because of my background. It was also the headquarters of my sponsor Texaco/Havoline. This year, I don't feel any pressure. We are focused on making our race cars and our race team better. We had a great test at VIR a couple of weeks ago and we found a few things that should help us this weekend. Our goal is to run well, and if we have a shot at the win obviously we are going to take it."
"It's pretty simple strategy; go (to Infineon), sit on the pole and win the race. I think that is the strategy that you have to have going into a race like this. I think that our road course stuff is as good as anybody's. I've got a lot of confidence in what we do. Last year, the only reason that we lost the race is because we couldn't get the fuel mileage. The other guys made it and we just purely got beat on fuel mileage."
"I've always enjoyed going out to Sonoma for the first road course race of the season. We make our living racing in circles, but it's cool to turn right and left every once in a while. It's a nice change of pace. It doesn't hurt that the track is located in northern California either. The weather out there is awesome. The food is great. There is just a lot to look forward to when we go out to Sonoma."
"I'm looking forward to going to Sonoma. I haven't had good results there, but I like the challenge the road course presents. It's tough mentally and physically on the driver. I just need to stay focused and keep the racecar on the course the entire race. The key to a good finish at Infineon is staying on course and good pit strategy. We just need to run up front and get in position to challenge for the win. We've gotten a little better with our road-course program, but more importantly, I think I've got a better feel for that type of racing as I get more experience."
Sam Hornish Jr
"I'm excited for my first Sprint Cup Series road course event. I raced in the Nationwide Series race in Mexico City earlier this season and we have done quite a bit of testing to prepare for this weekend. It is very important to take care of your front valance on a road course. You have to be careful with all the curves and be aware that getting your wheels off course can cause damage. Brakes are obviously important in these types of races, as is fuel mileage. There is a fine line between aggressive and smooth driving on a road course. You want to advance but you need to remain on the course to avoid damaging the tires and splitter. Basically, the entire race is a test of patience and strategy."
"You get absolutely no breaks at that track. You are constantly thinking of what to do next, where and when to turn, what marks to hit and when to brake. There are 12 turns there and you go from the left to right so many times all day it makes your head spin. You cannot have any mistakes through the turns or you end up off the course."
"Road course racing remains one of my favorite racing disciplines. I'm fortunate that I've had success on all of the road courses that I've competed on. The third-place finish that I got at Sonoma two years ago was one of the brighter highlights of my last few seasons of racing. I never worried about the teams that brought in road course 'ringers'. That's how you have to look at it. You can't let them intimidate you. If you do, you have already given up too much."
"I like racing at any track but I prefer ovals. Road racing is fun; it's just a different kind of animal. In the years I spent in open-wheel, I learned a lot on the aspects of road racing. But driving a stock car on a road course is quite the chore. With all the weight that's involved in slowing down a 3,400 pound stock car, it can really wear your brakes out. It will be fun to have Valvoline back on the car this week. I hope we can get a strong finish for them. The entire team is ready for this weekend. But we're still going to have to qualify on time. Just because it's a road course doesn't mean it will be easy for us. With 11 corners instead of the usual four, you'll have to focus even harder on qualifying. And that's seven more corners you can screw up on. So keeping your concentration will be a big key."
"This can be a very pivotal race for us -- one of the biggest races of the season, now back up to 19th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings, but trailing 12th-place Clint Bowyer by 227 points. With all the road course 'ringers' in the field and with many of the teams not being as solid on road courses as they are otherwise, it can be a super points day for us. If we can get in a good qualifying run to start up front and stay smooth and consistent all day on Sunday, we can come out of there with the kind of solid finish that we really need right now."
-credit: dodge motorsports