Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500
Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012
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DODGE AT TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY
· Dodge has four wins at Talladega: Richard Brickhouse (1969), Richard Petty (1974), Dave Marcis (1976) and Brad Keselowski (2012).
· Dodge’s Brad Keselowski is the most recent winner at the 2.66-mile track, leading the final two laps en route to victory in this year’s spring event. Keselowski scored his first career Sprint Cup win at Talladega in 2009 prior to joining Penske Racing and Dodge.
· Dodge has started from the pole 12 times since 1969.
2012 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings
1. Brad Keselowski 2142 7. Dale Earnhardt Jr. -39
2. Jimmie Johnson -5 8. Martin Truex Jr. -42
3. Denny Hamlin -16 9. Kevin Harvick -46
4. Clint Bowyer -25 10. Jeff Gordon -48
5. Tony Stewart -32 11. Greg Biffle -51
6. Kasey Kahne -32 12. Matt Kenseth -72
THE KESELOWSKI ‘CHASE FILE’
Race Start Finish Laps Led Points Chicagoland 13 1 76 1st / +3 New Hampshire 15 6 4 2nd / -1 Dover 10 1 14 1st / +5
QUOTE OF THE WEEK “Talladega seems like it’s all about the draft, who your drafting partners are, when to make your move, how to avoid the big wreck, etc., etc. But all of that assumes that you’ve got a fast enough chassis and a strong enough engine that you can do all of the above. Casual fans might assume the speed in these cars is a given but engineers work every bit as hard during Talladega week as any other week of the year, squeezing every last bit of speed out of every component. Aerodynamics, horsepower, handling considerations, and even the cooling system are front and center for every engineer in the series this week. You won’t win Talladega on Sunday if every one of those boxes aren’t checked on the engineering to-do list.” Howard Comstock, SRT Motorsports Engineering
THE DODGE BOYS
· Dodge’s Brad Keselowski leads the Chase standings after three of the 10 races, a five-point advantage over Jimmie Johnson. Keselowski has won two of the three Chase races – Chicagoland and Dover. He has an average finish of 2.67 over the first three races of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
· Dodge has 217 wins in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
· Dodge teams have posted 57 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 HISTORICAL DATA
· First Dodge NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Win: Lee Petty, 2/1/53, West Palm Beach, Fla., 100 miles, .5-mile track.
· Last Dodge NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Win: Brad Keselowski, 09/30/2012, AAA 400, Dover International Speedway, 125.076 mph avg. speed.
2012 SPRINT CUP SERIES SEASON BESTS
· Brad Keselowski Start: 2nd (Bristol) Finish: 1st (Bristol, Talladega, Kentucky, Chicagoland and Dover)
· Sam Hornish Jr. Start: 8th (Daytona) Finish: 5th (Watkins Glen)
2012 RACE REWIND
· Race Four: Brad Keselowski qualified fifth and led 232 laps en route to his first Sprint Cup win of the season at Bristol.
· Race 10: Dodge visited victory lane for the second time in 2012 when Keselowski led 10 circuits and avoided a nine-car mishap with just two laps remaining at Talladega.
· Race 17: Keselowski claimed his third Cup win of year at Kentucky Speedway, leading the final 56 laps.
· Race 18: Sam Hornish Jr. takes over as the driver of the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger for Penske Racing.
· Race 25: Keselowski earns his second consecutive berth in Chase for the Sprint Cup with a third-place finish at Atlanta.
· Race 27: Keselowski opens the Chase with his fourth win of the season; leads the standings by three points.
· Race 28: Keselowski runs sixth at Loudon; drops to one point behind Chase leader Jimmie Johnson.
· Race 29: Keselowski leads the final 10 laps en route to his second Chase win and fifth victory of the season. Takes five-point lead in standings.
DODGE DRIVERS IN THE CHASE – TALLADEGA
· 2004: Ryan Newman and Jeremy Mayfield represented Dodge in the Chase. ‘Dega was the third race. Newman finished 16th and Mayfield 38th after being involved in a four-car accident on lap 143.
· 2005: Ryan Newman led the three-car Dodge contingent with a fourth-place finish. Jeremy Mayfield was 14th and Rusty Wallace 25th.
· 2006: Kasey Kahne was the only Dodge driver in the Chase. He led seven laps and finished second.
· 2007: Kurt Busch was the lone Dodge representative in the Chase. He posted his seventh consecutive top-eight finish at ‘Dega, finishing seventh.
· 2008: There were no Dodges in the 2008 Chase field.
· 2009: Kurt Busch and Kasey Kahne represented Dodge in the Chase. Kahne finished second while Busch was involved in a 13-car mishap on the final lap and finished 30th.
· 2010: Kurt Busch was the single Dodge entry among the 12-driver Chase. He started third and finished 30th.
· 2011: Brad Keselowski led Dodge with a fourth-place finish after qualifying 16th. It was his fourth top five in the first six Chase races. Teammate Kurt Busch finished 36th after a late-race accident.
DODGE QUOTES On being a media favorite and the Chase: “There are seven races to go. It feels great to win. I’m so proud of my team. But I can’t state loudly enough how much longer this battle is. It’s very tempting, whether it’s the media or the teams themselves, to get in a comfort zone of saying, such and such has control of this Chase. But there’s a reason why it’s 10 rounds. We’re not even halfway. We’re three rounds in. By no means do I feel like we’re the favorite. Certainly, we’re not the underdog at this point. But I think there’s so much racing to go, so many opportunities for things to go wrong or right for anyone out there. It’s way too early to point those fingers and say those things. My perspective is we’ve got a lot more racing to go. Let’s just let the racing play out and go from there.” Brad Keselowski, No 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger
On returning to Talladega as the points leader: “Honestly, I had a great feeling about Dover all week. I know a lot people expected us to struggle, just by looking on paper at our average finish. That’s not always the best way to judge this Miller Lite Dodge team. I really don’t feel like we have any weaknesses on our team. In our two Chase wins we’ve won on pure speed and we won on fuel mileage. To me that’s covering all of your bases. Now we get to part of the schedule where I think our strengths will shine. I love racing at Talladega. We have a lot of confidence going back there as the winner of the spring race. There is still a lot of racing left to go in this Chase, but I like our position in the standings, for sure.”
On racing this weekend at Talladega: “I couldn’t be prouder of the guys on the Miller Lite Dodge for the work they’ve put in all year, but especially over the first three races in the Chase. We’ve taken tracks that were perceived weaknesses and shown that they are anything but that. Like Brad has said, there is a lot of racing left in this Chase, but we’re now getting to a part of the schedule where we feel like we can extend the points lead. It starts this weekend at Talladega. It’s obviously a great track for Brad.Penske Racing, as a group, has been very competitive on the restrictor-plate tracks this season. I think we’ve learned a few things since then that will make us even more competitive this weekend.” Paul Wolfe, crew chief, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger
On racing at Talladega: “Pack racing, tandem racing…we’ve seen a little of everything at Talladega over the last few seasons. But no matter what brand of racing prevails there, the strategy is always the same. It’s a survival situation. You have to be around at the finish. Talladega has always been a wildcard race and it always will be. The Superspeedways remind me of IndyCar Series racing because the outcome depends mostly on aerodynamics. It’s like a chess game where you are trying to figure out what to do as the race progresses to position yourself correctly.”
On his most recent Cup race at Talladega at the AMP Energy 500 in Oct. 2010: “It was definitely the strongest car I’ve had in a restrictor-plate race. It was strong enough that we got slapped with a speeding ticket with 40 laps to go and still came back to the front in no time at all. We lined up fourth on a restart with four laps to go and had a great feeling that our day could end up in Victory Lane. Unfortunately, a couple of guys that I had worked with all day weren’t in position at the end to help us out. I remember wishing that we had one more lap because our car was that good. We had to settle for a 15th-place finish there that day with a car that could have won the race.” Sam Hornish Jr., No. 22 SKF Dodge Charger