Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dover Notes & Quotes: Hamlin, Johnson, Biffle, and Montoya

Denny Hamlin at Dover:
This weekend will mark Hamlin's ninth-career Cup start at Dover International and his 163rd career Cup start. Last fall, Hamlin fought handling issues all race long and, despite best efforts of driver and crew alike, he was never able to challenge his fellow Chase contenders as he drove the FedEx Ground Camry to a 22nd place finish in the AAA 400.

In June of 2009, trouble at Dover quickly turned an otherwise promising day into a day to forget for Hamlin. A very quick stop on lap 165 had Hamlin running a strong second before a cut right tire sent him hard into the turn three wall and, subsequently, into the garage. After inspection it was determined the damage was too severe to fix and the car was loaded onto the truck. It marked the first DNF for Hamlin since he suffered a similar right-front tire failure while leading at Talladega in Oct. of 2008. On the heels of his best finish at the Monster Mile in June of 2007, Hamlin and the team have lacked luck since.

In Sept. of 2008, Hamlin qualified in the top-three, and was running in the top-ten before the crew discovered oil on the inside of the rear wheel during a lap 144 stop. It was determined that a crack in a fitting on the rear-end cooler was the culprit and, after slowing the leak, Hamlin was sent back on to the track but, unfortunately, the fix was only temporary. Hamlin was running in the top ten on lap 244 when he lost the drive shaft and gear and finished 38th.

In June of 2008, Hamlin suffered a DNF when he was collected in the large, multi-car wreck that red-flagged the race on lap 16. Hamlin posted a finish of 38th in the Chase race in the fall 2007 after contact forced him from the lead, where he had led 61 laps, and into the garage for repairs.

Hamlin's Dover Chassis – JGR 259 & 256: The FedEx team will unload Chassis JGR 259 this weekend in Dover. This car made four starts in 2009 and recorded second-place finishes at both Loudon and Texas. JGR 256 will serve as the backup this weekend – it started four races in 2009 and posted three top-five finishes.

Jimmie Johnson on Dover:
"We were lucky to sweep a track each year we've been in the sport. I don't know why. At times I've felt like tracks like Pocono, we've been able to do it there, even Martinsville, and Martinsville doesn't change a lot, so when you typically have something that works, it's going to last a while. Pocono is pretty close in time from the spring race to the fall race, so there's not a lot of time for the technology to change. But then we've won at Phoenix at the start of the year and the end of the year, and there's a lot that changes during that period of time. So I don't know if there's something consistent that takes place each situation. Dover is a fairly consistent racetrack, the concrete surface and things like that. But then we've raced on one tire in the spring and a different tire in the fall, so it kind of mixes it back up. I don't think there is a clear-cut answer. Maybe confidence has something to do with it; when you win the spring race, you have a good starting point with your setup to come back in the fall and you're very confident about what you're feeling and the direction the car is going."

Johnson's Dover Chassis:
Primary chassis No. 558 was last driven by Johnson to a 12th-place result at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March.

Backup chassis No. 553 has been driven four times, three of which resulted in victories (Indy 7/09, California 10/09, California 2/10).

Greg Biffle on Dover:
"I will be disappointed if we are not in contention for the win this weekend at Dover. We led several laps there last spring and we have two wins there. Our pit crew is at the top of their game week in and week out. I was at the shop this week going over our notes from Dover with Greg (Erwin) so we would be ready to hit the ground running as soon as we unload. Dover is a great racetrack, the racing is good and as a driver, it’s a fun place to race. We need a good finish there to get back on track after a disappointing weekend in Darlington."

Juan Pablo Montoya Dover Chassis:
No. 42 Target Chevrolet (NSCS): Chassis #903. Team Target used chassis #903 this season in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway where Montoya qualified sixth and finished 26th after being involved in a 13-car incident. This chassis also ran twice last year by the No. 42 team (Michigan- June, Chicago- July) where it finished sixth and tenth.


Gene Haddock said...

Remember when the Roush Fords used to own Dover?

RFR really hasn't had much success anywhere for the last two seasons. Why isn't Jack crying bloody murder?

Fireballr7 said...

Yes, and they still perform well, just not well enough to win nay more.

I think the finances of Roush and having to show a profit with Fenway on board is affecting their entire program with doing less in all facets of development and testing. i don't know that for sure, but that would be my first guess.