Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes
NSCS Race Advance Showtime Southern 500 Darlington Raceway
Saturday, May 7, 2011
DODGE NEWS AND NOTES
. Dodge’s Kurt Busch is sixth in the Sprint Cup point standings. In 14 career starts at Darlington, Busch has two top-five and five top-10 finishes.
. Dodge’s Brad Keselowski has an average finishing position of 9.5 at Darlington Raceway in two previous starts, a personal best in Sprint Cup Series competition at a track. Keselowski finished seventh in 2009 and 12th in 2010.
DODGE AT DARLINGTON RACEWAY
. Dodge has five wins at Darlington Raceway – Buck Baker, Buddy Baker (2), Ward Burton and Sterling Marlin.
. Buck Baker posted Dodge’s first win at Darlington in the 1964 Southern 500; Sterling Marlin scored the last Dodge win at Darlington, taking the victory in the 2002 spring race.
. Dodge earned back-to-back wins at Darlington in 2001 (Burton) and 2002 (Marlin).
. Kurt Busch (2001) is the lone current Dodge driver to start from the pole at Darlington. He has earned the top qualifying spot twice in his career at the 1.366-mile track.
THE DODGE BOYS
. Dodge has 207 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories.
. Dodge’s most recent win came at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Kurt Busch led 252 of 400 laps en route to victory in the 2010 Coca-Cola 600.
. Dodge claimed two Sprint Cup victories in 2010.
. Dodge teams have posted 47 wins since the manufacturer’s return to NASCAR’s premier series in 2001 after being out of the sport since 1977.
. Dodge has posted wins each season since its return in 2001 including seven wins twice (2002 and 2006).
DODGE HISTORICAL DATA
. First Dodge NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Win: Lee Petty, 2/1/53, West Palm, Fla., 100 miles, .5-mile track.
. First Dodge NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Win at Darlington: Buck Baker, 09/7/1964, Southern 500, 117.757 mph avg. speed.
. Last Dodge NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Win at Darlington: Sterling Marlin, 03/17/2002, Carolina Dodge Dealers 400, 126.07 mph avg. speed.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
. Kurt Busch’s loss to Ricky Craven by 0.002 seconds on March 16, 2003 is recently tied at Talladega (April 17, 2011) as the closest margin of victory since NASCAR instituted electronic timing in 1993.
. Dodge has started from the pole eight times at the track labeled “Too Tough To Tame”.
ODDS AND ENDS . Kurt Busch will be testing for Goodyear at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week (May 4-5) in preparation for the July 31 Brickyard 400.
TURN 2 AT DARLINGTON “It’s the coolest turn in NASCAR. I sat on the pole here my rookie year and did it because I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know any better not to lift. It’s definitely a challenging corner that will test everybody. It will separate the men from the boys.” Kurt Busch, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T
FROM THE ENGINEER “Four hundred laps at Richmond last week was a long night for drivers with ill-handling race cars. Fast forward to this week at Darlington and 500 miles with a poor handling race car won’t be tough, it’ll be downright dangerous. The pole speed at Richmond last week was 128 mph; the pole speed at Darlington last spring was 180 mph. Teams will think long and hard about the setup they’re considering for a chassis that will be turning 180 mph laps. Driving a tight chassis for 500 miles at Darlington will not be comfortable for a driver, but driving a loose chassis for 500 miles at Darlington will be impossible.” Howard Comstock, Dodge Motorsports Engineering
DODGE MOTORSPORTS QUOTE OF THE WEEK “Darlington is Darlington. Everybody respects this track the same way and you have to give and take, no matter if you’re rookie of a veteran. You always try to find yourself in good position out on the track versus compromising ones. With double-file restarts and the green-white-checkers, you have to put on a different thinking cap.” Kurt Busch, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T
2011 SPRINT CUP SERIES SEASON BEST
. Kurt Busch Start: 2nd – Phoenix Finish: 5th – Daytona
. Brad Keselowski Start: 9th – Phoenix Finish: 15th – Phoenix
. Robby Gordon Start: 30th – Daytona Finish: 16th – Daytona
DARLINGTON RACEWAY BEST
. Kurt Busch Start – Pole – 2001 & 2004 Finish – Second – 2003
. Brad Keselowski Start – Ninth – 2010 – 2010 Finish – Seventh – 2009
. Robby Gordon Start – 22nd – 2002 Finish – Fourth – 2004
FROM THE CREW CHIEF “It’s always a challenge to run at Darlington. There is a fine line of racing other people and racing the track. You need to find a good race pace and work on handling to keep the car turning from the center out to corner exit. People get in trouble by racing each other too hard and the ‘Lady in Black’ will reach out and grab you. Race hard and race the track and you will put yourself in contention for the win at the end of the night.” Paul Wolfe, crew chief, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger R/T
DODGE QUOTES “Darlington, what an amazing track! How fast it is in (turns) one and two and how slow it is in (turns) three and four. My first time qualifying, Turn 2 (at Darlington) was one of the most exhilarating experiences because I was able to hold it wide open through there when you weren’t supposed to. It’s a sense of being young and dumb and not realizing the exact reality of how fast you can go through a corner.” Kurt Busch, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T
“Darlington is a track of history. It has a lot of nostalgia. It use to be a great track before they repaved it; when you had to watch how much gas you had to give the car. It’s still abrasive on tires. You have to be careful coming on to pit road and coming off of pit road. Track position is very important because the straightaways are so narrow. In the corners you run an opposite line; you run up next to the wall instead of down at the bottom of the race track which is 180 degrees off of what we normally run.” Robby Gordon, No. 7 Fast Five/SPEED Energy Dodge R/T
“It’s all about winning and putting our Miller Lite Dodge in victory lane. We want to get our mile-and-a-half program running better. I think we have some ideas on what we need to do to get our Penske Dodge’s more consistent.” Brad Keselowski, No 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger R/T