Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes – Keys for Success – Darlington

Friday, May 6, 2011

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SHOWTIME Southern 500

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Keys for Success: SHOWTIME Southern 500

DARLINGTON, S.C. (May 6, 2011) – Each race weekend, selected Dodge Motorsports engineers, Penske Racing crew chiefs, drivers or engine specialists give their insight on the ‘Keys for Success’ for the upcoming race.  This week, the green flag drops on the SHOWTIME Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

Track: Darlington Raceway (Race 10 of 36 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series)

Race: SHOWTIME Southern 500 (367 laps/501.322 miles)

Trivia Question: Harold Brasington set out in the fall of 1949 to construct a 1.25-mile speedway on 70 acres of land purchased from Sherman Ramsey that had once produced peanuts and cotton.  His plans called for a true oval, but what emerged was a distinctive egg-shaped design.  Why? (Answer Below)

HOWARD COMSTOCK (Dodge Motorsports Engineering)

Two or Four:  “It might be a whole new tire game this weekend.  Last year, we saw that two-tire stops were the right call, especially late in the race.  I think it’s going to be two days of looking at tire wear and gauging how much (tire) fall-off there is and how long the left-sides will go.  You can always change two tires on a fuel stop with the new fueling system, but it may be unnecessary to put four on, especially late in the race.”

Old vs. New: “The “new” Darlington is not exactly like the “old” Darlington.  Yes, it’s still tough.  Yes, the corners are still similar.  Yes, you still have to understand the track and you have to race the track.  But, we’ve proven over the last two years that with the new track, surface you have to race the other competitors as well.  Pit strategy is important.  When you pit for tires versus the competitors is important.  While this track surface still has a lot of grip, you’re going to have to race the competitors as much as you race the track.  It’s not so much just racing ‘The Lady in Black’ as it use to be.”

Answer to trivia question: The egg-shaped design was necessary because Harold Brasington, a retired racer, promised Sherman Ramsey the track wouldn’t disturb his minnow pond on the west side of the property.

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