Watkins Glen: Dodge Motorsports preview

DODGE DRIVERS AT WATKINS GLEN INTERNATIONAL * Two current Dodge drivers have won at Watkins Glen. Kyle Petty (1992) edged Morgan Shepherd to earn his fifth-career victory. Robby Gordon (2003) beat Scott Pruett's Dodge to earn his third-career ...

DODGE DRIVERS AT WATKINS GLEN INTERNATIONAL

* Two current Dodge drivers have won at Watkins Glen. Kyle Petty (1992) edged Morgan Shepherd to earn his fifth-career victory. Robby Gordon (2003) beat Scott Pruett's Dodge to earn his third-career win.

DID YOU KNOW?

* 'The Glen' hosted its first professional race, a NASCAR Grand National Stock Car event won by Buck Baker over Fireball Roberts in 1957.

* Two races were run in the 60s (1964, 1965).

* On August 9, 1986, the NASCAR Winston Cup Series made it first visit to Watkins Glen since 1965. Tim Richmond won the 219-mile event, beating Darrell Waltrip by 1.45 seconds on the twisting road course.

* The best finish by a Raybestos® Rookie at Watkins Glen was second by Ryan Newman in 2002. Only one other Raybestos® Rookie has scored a top-five finish at The Glen: Robby Gordon was fourth in 1997.

* Three drivers that were in the top 12 in the driver point standings heading into the 21st race (Watkins Glen) last year are on the outside at this point in 2008 -- Matt Kenseth, Martin Truex Jr. and Kurt Busch. Filling those three spots are Kasey Kahne, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Greg Biffle.

DODGE ROOKIE CONTENDERS

* Sam Hornish Jr. -- The three-time IndyCar Series champion and 2006 Indy 500 winner worked his way up into the top 10 at Pocono before settling for a finish of 26th. Hornish Jr. trails Regan Smith by five points in the Raybestos® Rookie of the Year Standings

* Patrick Carpentier -- The driver of the No. 10 Dodge Charger from Gillett Evernham Motorsports finished second in the Nationwide Series race at Montreal last Saturday. Terry Labonte filled in at Pocono in the No. 10 Dodge and finished 32nd.

HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR THIS WEEKEND'S RACE AT WATKINS GLEN?

Kasey Kahne, Driver, No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger

"Watkins Glen has always been a so-so track for me. We've had decent runs, but don't really have the solid finishes to show for it. We had a good test at road Atlanta a few weeks ago to prepare for this weekend. We're taking the same car we took to Sonoma and I think the car was pretty good out there. We just had some bad luck that day."

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

ON WATKINS GLEN: "One thing that jumps out at you every time we go to Watkins Glen is the sensation of speed that you get there. It really is a fast road course. Sonoma is more of a technical course. The Glen is like the 'Daytona of road courses.' You're in the gas for a majority of your lap. You need to be able to pick up the gas as soon as you can to get down the long straights. There are a lot of passing zones and a lot of areas to make up time. The coolest part is the start of the race when we all head down into turn 1 side-by-side because that is one of the tighter corners on the whole course."

Kurt Busch, Driver, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger

ON TURN 1 AT WATKINS GLEN: "Every time the green flag falls on the starting field for a Cup race at The Glen, everybody -- the competitors, the fans at the track and all those dudes manning those TV cameras...everyone involved -- knows to keep your eyes on Turn 1. All you have to do is look back in the history books. That single turn is almost legendary."

Patrick Carpentier, Driver, No. 10 Charter Dodge Charger

ON WATKINS GLEN: "I'm anxious to get to Watkins Glen. This is going to be a big weekend for us. The team has been preparing good race cars for these tracks and we seem to be piecing together stronger runs each week. It's also the one year anniversary of my first race with Gillett Evernham Motorsports so we want to come out of the Glen with a strong finish.

"You just need to have an open mind and follow some simple rules about road racing. For me, I try to do much of my braking in a straight line. That gets the car slowed up enough to rotate through the corner for good power off.

"Picking your passing points are important too. If you focus the couple spots you can pass in, that allows you to set people up and not force the issue in corners you can't pass in. And I don't forget the importance of keeping our Charter Dodge on the racetrack. You can get into a lot of trouble if you get off course at the Glen. You need to remember that slower is sometimes faster at these places."

Ryan Newman, Driver, No. 12 Kodak Dodge Charger

ON WATKINS GLEN: "It's a fun race track for us. I really enjoy the road course at Watkins Glen. I have a lot of fun there. When we finish, we finish well. We've had some brake problems in the past and a transmission problem one year, and that's why our finishes aren't as good as our starting position. It's a place where it pays dividends to qualify up front, start up front and have that track position."

Roy McCauley, Crew Chief, No. 12 Kodak Dodge Charger

ON RACING AT WATKINS GLEN: "Penske Racing has a really good history at Watkins Glen, and I personally like the place. I have three poles there in Nationwide and Cup with both Ryan and Kurt (Busch). And have won with both of them in NNS. Qualifying is obviously very important. But the real key to the Glen is being able to get through the carousel, to carry enough speed getting through the long sweeping corner and coming off if it to get a good run down the backchute. The carousel, turn one and getting through the esses are very important. We're not talking about points right now, but the bottom line is that we have to kick, scratch, do whatever it takes to get in the Chase. We're going no holds barred and taking all the chances we need to so we can win races and get in the chase."

Kyle Petty, Driver, No. 45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil

ON RETURNING TO THE DRIVER SEAT THIS WEEKEND: "It's going to feel great to get back behind the wheel of the No. 45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge. Terry (Labonte) and Chad (McCumbee) have both done an outstanding job over the last two months. Not only have they moved the team up two spots in owner points, but they've also helped advance the No. 45 program. This is a competitive car. We need to continue that through the end of the year. I had a blast in the TNT Sports booth but I'm ready to get back on the track."

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

ON WATKINS GLEN: "In my Indy car days, Watkins Glen was always better to me than Infineon Raceway. I am excited to return for my first Sprint Cup Series race at the Glen and am hopeful that we will have a strong run in the Mobil 1 Dodge.

"We recently tested at a road course in preparation for this weekend's race, and didn't quite get the testing in that we wanted. However, with the opportunity to compete in the Nationwide Series race this coming weekend, I think we will gain a lot of experience that will help us out on Sunday afternoon."

-credit: dodge motorsports

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Darrell Waltrip , Matt Kenseth , Bobby Labonte , Terry Labonte , Kyle Petty , Robby Gordon , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Patrick Carpentier , Scott Pruett , Kasey Kahne , Martin Truex Jr. , Morgan Shepherd , Regan Smith , Tim Richmond , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Team Penske