DODGE AT KANSAS SPEEDWAY · Dodge has two wins in the 12 previous races at Kansas: Ryan Newman (2003) and Brad Keselowski (2011). · Dodge has three poles at Kansas: Jason Leffler (2001), Kasey Kahne (2006) and Kurt Busch (2011). · Dodge completed a Kansas sweep last June as Kurt Busch captured the pole and Brad Keselowski, starting 25th, captured the win. It’s the farthest back in the field a race winner has started.
DODGE NEWS AND NOTES · Sam Hornish Jr. will be looking to make his first Sprint Cup Series start of the season Sunday at the wheel of the No. 12 SKF Dodge Charger from Penske Racing. His last Cup start came last June at Pocono when he filled in for his injured teammate, Brad Keselowski. Hornish has three prior Cup starts at Kansas with a career-best finish of 18th. He currently runs full-time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. · Both Dodge drivers from Penske Racing are inside the top 20 in the driver standings for the first time this season.
DID YOU KNOW? · The Dodge Charger street car is the only rear-wheel-drive model in Sprint Cup Series competition that is available with a V-8 engine. · SRT Motorsports includes all of Chrysler Group’s NASCAR racing efforts for Dodge and RAM. · Dodge is an Official Passenger Car of NASCAR. · SRT Motorsports is competing for championships in all three NASCAR touring series in 2012.
RACE NUGGETS · A.J. Allmendinger has climbed 11 positions in the Sprint Cup driver point standings since the Las Vegas race. He’s currently 19th, 47 points out of 10th. It’s the first time he’s been in the top 20 this season. · Brad Keselowski claimed his first victory in the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge and first since joining Penske Racing last spring in Kansas. For crew chief Paul Wolfe, it was his first victory as a Sprint Cup crew chief. Keselowski led the final nine laps of the race, the only time he led in the 267-lap event.
FROM THE ENGINEER – RACING AT KANSAS “This is only the second spring race at Kansas Speedway. Last year’s race was run in early June with 94-degree temperatures. The track has gradually become more sensitive to heat since we started running there in 2001. With a weather forecast predicting temperatures in the mid-60s this weekend, the track will be a completely different animal than we saw last year. Engineers are going to have to be ready for what could be much higher speeds with, consequently, much higher fuel consumption, much higher tire consumption, and totally different pit strategies. A 30-degree difference in the temperature compared to last year’s race will make this weekend’s STP 400 another big engineering challenge.” Howard Comstock, SRT Motorsports Engineering
INSIDE THE NUMBERS · This weekend, Brad Keselowski could become the 24th driver to record a win in all three NASCAR national series. He will seek his first win in the Camping World Truck Series at the wheel of the No. 19 Brad Keselowski Checkered Foundation RAM.
THE DODGE BOYS · Dodge drivers have 213 wins in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. · Dodge teams have posted 53 victories 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 QUOTE OF THE WEEK “Brad (Keselowski) winning there last spring gives us a good opportunity to feel like we can go there, try to do the right things and get the car in the race first of all. Then we need to have a good, smart day, try and keep on the lead lap and give ourselves an opportunity to race hard at the end. You never know what can happen. We’re running up to date equipment, the latest spec cars and stuff like that, the same stuff that Brad and A.J. (Allmendinger) will be running. If nothing else, hopefully, we make it into the race and give ourselves a good opportunity to learn some stuff and have fun.” Sam Hornish Jr., No. 12 SKF Dodge Charger R/T
BAD BRAD SAYS “As a racecar driver, it’s really hard to try to reflect back on past successes as you are trying to continue to move forward and progress. I’ve always said that past success, or failure for that matter, doesn’t guarantee anything for the future. There is no doubt, though, that this Miller Lite Dodge team is in a different place than we were prior to the race at Kansas last spring. I think, going back to our (NASCAR) Nationwide Series championship year in 2010, (crew chief) Paul (Wolfe) and I always knew we could get it done at this level. He has done a great job in building a very good team, which makes all the difference. Now, we go to the track expecting to be one of the cars to beat. It’s really just a cool feeling to know that we are continuing the proud tradition of the ‘Blue Deuce’ and I think the best is yet to come.” Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger R/T
FROM THE CREW CHIEF “We’ve been very happy with our race setup at Kansas and I think our stats from last year prove that. A win and a third-place finish is about as good as it gets. Our focus, as it was last fall, will be on qualifying. Even though we won the spring race from the 25th position, track position is very important. Once we got Brad out front in that race, it was almost like we gave him a completely different Miller Lite Dodge. If we can qualify up front, I’m confident that Brad can keep the car up there all day and we can be there at the end.” Paul Wolfe, crew chief, No. 22 Miller Lite Dodge Charger R/T
DODGE QUOTES: KANSAS SPEEDWAY “We’ve had some pretty strong runs there – a couple of top-10s – and have a decent record there. We’re coming in hoping to put together a solid weekend with a good qualifying effort on Saturday and a really competitive run on Sunday. (Kansas is) another track where we are looking for our first top-five finish. As always, the goal is to win it. If that’s not possible, then you shoot for a top-five or a top-10. But, just like at all these races, it’s so key to come out of there with everything that you can get. It’s so important to take a day where things aren’t going as well as you’d like and maximizing those days.” A.J. Allmendinger, No. 22 AAA Dodge Charger R/T
“We finished 15th at Texas and advanced (up to 19th in points). The important thing is that we persevered through less than ideal conditions and we advanced. We started off tight, knowing that the track would turn more toward the loose side when the sun went down and it cooled off. We did the best job we could with our adjustments, but the car had such incredible mood swings from tight to loose and back to tight again. The most important thing was that we hung on and made a decent night out of a frustrating race. With only two cautions during the entire race, it was a huge challenge. A.J. was able to keep logging those laps with an ill-handling car and keep on our pit schedule and we got all we could out of it there on Saturday night. That’s the common trait about all the top teams in our sport. When you are having a bad night, you are still able to salvage a decent finish out of it. That was definitely the case for our 22 team out there last weekend.” Todd Gordon, crew chief, No 22 AAA Dodge Charger R/T