Road Atlanta: Dodge Motorsports preview

DODGE MOTORSPORTS HEADS TO ROAD ATLANTA WITHIN ONE POINT OF SCCA GT CLASS MANUFACTURERS' POINT LEAD BRASELTON, Ga. (September 26, 2006) -- Dodge Motorsports' Sports Car Club of America drivers head south for round nine of Speed World Challenge...


BRASELTON, Ga. (September 26, 2006) -- Dodge Motorsports' Sports Car Club of America drivers head south for round nine of Speed World Challenge Series competition, looking to bring Dodge into the spotlight by taking the lead in the GT class manufacturer's championship standings. Tommy Archer will be racing for his third podium in a row in the GT series while Dodge's Touring Car series drivers will compete to be the one who gets Dodge Motorsports its first victory in the Touring Car series.

"The World Challenge GT series is really heating up. With Dodge just one point out of the lead for the manufacturer's championship, we have everything on the line here in Atlanta," said Bob Woodhouse, driver of the No. 13 Woodhouse Auto Family/Kicker/Dodge Viper in the GT series, who is the highest Dodge driver in the GT series points standings. "So you will see some very studied looks in everybody's camp this week."

Bob Woodhouse, along with nine other Dodge Viper drivers, will compete in round nine of competition when the green flag drops at Road Atlanta. He has posted five top-10 finishes and only one finish outside of the top-13 all season. He sits fifth in the championship standings, looking to gain ground on the leaders this weekend, as he is just 15 points out of fourth and 38 points out of the lead.

"Yes ole Bob here is comfortable that we can pull off another top-10," said Woodhouse with a smile. "Everybody's concentrating on putting their best effort plus some out there. We are no different-- we are squeezing for tenths of seconds. Our Woodhouse Auto Family/Kicker Dodge Viper has never been dialed in better. This place has lots of memories for me and I feel comfortable [racing] here."

When the GT series takes the green flag, nine drivers will roll off the grid in Dodge Vipers, including Rob Foster of Phoenix, AZ, Michael McCann of North Canton, OH, Ritch Marziale of Tempe, AZ, Jim McCann Jr. of Canton, OH and rookies Brett Pearson of Orlando, FL and Kenny Hawkins of Raleigh, NC.

And who can forget Tommy Archer, who has posted two-consecutive podium finishes in the GT series. He will be looking for a record three-straight in his No. 5 AutoHaus Motorsports/C3 Controls/Dodge SRT Dodge Viper.

Touring Cars will battle on the 2.54-mile 12-turn north Georgia track this weekend as well, competing in their second-to-last race of the season. GT driver Woodhouse also owns a Dodge SRT4 in the Touring Car series, and his driver Brian Smith has gained some momentum in the past few races.

"As for Brian [Smith], wow, he is on fire," said Woodhouse of his rookie driver. "He's finally finding the keys to make the chassis work through the corners and taking full advantage of it, getting the car to boogie up there with the front guys. We are thinking top-five this weekend."

For Smith, Road Atlanta will be a good chance for him to add fuel to that fire and grab Dodge's first win. It is the closest track the to his hometown of Simpsonville, S.C., that the circuit visits, so there is no doubt that he could consider it his home track. And unlike some of the other rookies in the series, he's raced at Road Atlanta before. That may give him the competitive advantage he's looking for to get the win. That is, if he could just get some luck on his side.

"We almost wish we didn't have any luck at all because all we've had is bad luck." Smith said after the race in Mosport.

Smith had strong runs going in the last two races before random issues and fluke like-problems kept him from good solid finishes.

"I'm looking forward to going to Road Atlanta and hoping we can get ourselves up in the first position there," Smith said. "We'll be disappointed if we come out of there without a top-finish."

Rookie Robb Holland, driver of the No. 63 Fila/3R Racing Dodge SRT4,says he won't be satisfied without a great finish either. Although he's never made a start there, he says that his team is capable of finishing in the top-five and after the recent test in Kansas, where they picked up a whole second of speed on the racetrack and learned some things that they can take with them to Atlanta, they feel they are ready for another run at the podium.

"I think Road Atlanta is a track that I can do very well at. The car is set-up really well for Atlanta and I think we are going to be good," Holland said. "We tested in Kansas on the way down and there are some corners there that are similar to what we will see in Atlanta. The package we were working on was definitely more of an overall handling thing more than a specific handling thing. We were looking for something specific [in the overall handling] and I think we found it there and now once we get to Atlanta we'll be able to dial the car in better."

Fellow rookie and 3R Racing teammate Dan Aweida will join Holland at Road Atlanta this weekend, as will Hal Brown of Blacksburg, Va in the No. 35 RFC/Dodge Motorsports Dodge SRT4.The rookies Smith, Holland, Aweida and Brown round out the field for Dodge in the weekend's Touring Car series event.

Those four rookies and the rest of the Touring Car series drivers will hit the track for their first practice session on Wednesday at 10:45 a.m., and again at 5p.m. for final practice. Qualifying is Thursday at 12:45 p.m. and the Dodge SRT4s take the green flag for round nine at 10:55 a.m. Friday.

GT cars take to Road Atlanta for their first practice Wednesday at 11:10 a.m. Their second and final practice takes place at 5:25 p.m. before they qualify on Thursday at 1:10 p.m. The green flag waves over GT competition at 4:55 p.m. on Friday.

-credit: dodge motorsport

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Series PWC
Drivers Tommy Archer , Hal Brown , Brian Smith , Michael McCann , Kenny Hawkins , Bob Woodhouse , Jim McCann , Robb Holland , Dan Aweida , Brett Pearson , Ritch Marziale