Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Roush Fenway Racing Driver Preview: Looking for First Talladega Win Since 1997

Edwards has had some great runs in plate races, even in this one.
Carl Edwards 
Team: No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Bob Osborne

Chassis: RK-677 Last raced at Budweiser Shootout, Feb. ‘11

Carl Edwards on racing at Talladega Superspeedway: “It’s great to go into Talladega with a point lead and a little cushion because anything can happen there. The Fords finished 1-2-3 in Daytona and I don’t know why we can’t do that again this weekend in Talladega. That gives me a lot of confidence going into this race. I just have to find a good drafting partner to run with all day and avoid the trouble that tends to happen there.”

Crew Chief Bob Osborne on racing at Talladega Superspeedway: “Talladega is challenging for a crew chief because so much of it is out of our control. We do the best we can to get the car handling well and create a smart pit strategy, but most of this race depends on the driver and the spotter. It’s always a tense race for everyone involved. We’re taking the same car we raced at the Shootout at Daytona in February so we know it’s a pretty good car. We just have to hope to avoid the inevitable wrecks to be there at the end to contend for the win.”

Fast Facts
Carl Edwards currently leads the Sprint Cup point standings by nine points. He has achieved one win, four top-five and five top-10 finishes, along with two poles this season.

FOR THE RECORD… In his previous 13 starts at Talladega, Edwards has one top-five and three top-10 finishes. Edwards’ average start at Talladega is 16.2, his average finish is 22.1. Edwards has completed 87.4 percent of his laps attempted at Talladega, and led 16 laps.

ON THE TRACK… The No. 99 Aflac team will be unloading chassis RK-677 this weekend at Talladega. This car raced in the Budweiser Shootout in February where Edwards finished 21st after an early accident.

REWIND, TALLADEGA APRIL 2010… Carl Edwards played it safe most of the race running single file in a smaller draft behind the big pack. He was 20th with 20 laps to go and began to work his way toward the front of the pack. He got as high as seventh in the final laps, but finished the race 11th.

Biffle's 4th-place finish in 2009 is his only top-5 at Talladega (Getty)
Greg Biffle
Team: No. 16 3M Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Greg Erwin

Biffle on Talladega: “Talladega should be exciting this weekend. The Fords were the class of the field in Daytona and I expect the same thing this weekend. You’ll obviously need a good drafting partner like you did in Daytona to run well on Sunday. If we can find a good partner and stay out of the wrecks, I think we should have a good race. We’re slowly making our way back up in the points and we need to finish well this weekend to keep the momentum going.”

Erwin on Talladega: “The superspeedway races are obviously unique races in that even if you have the best driver, the best pit crew and the fastest racecar, you can very easily get caught up in someone else’s accident and take the car home in pieces. Talladega is wider than Daytona which should allow for more three-wide racing and hopefully less wrecks. We do anticipate the same two-by-two racing that we saw at Daytona in February. We are taking the car that we finished fifth with in the Shootout so we’ll just go and try to get out of there with a top-10 finish.”

Talladega Notes
• Biffle is currently 18th in the Sprint Cup point standings following his fourth-place finish in Texas.
• Biffle has an average finish of 21.5 from an average starting position of 17.8 at Talladega Superspeedway.
• The No. 16 3M Ford Fusion will have a special Scotch Blue Painter’s Tape paint scheme this weekend in Talladega. Fans can visit www.ScotchBlue.com for painting tips and additional information.
• Last fall at Talladega Biffle restarted eighth with four laps to go but finished 19th after getting shuffled out of the draft.

Ragan has had some of his best career runs at Talladega (Getty)
David Ragan 
Team: No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Drew Blickensderfer

Chassis: Primary: RK-723 Last ran Daytona – finished 14th; Backup: RK-717 Brand new chassis

Ragan on racing at Talladega Superspeedway: “Going to Talladega we all think the racing will be similar to Daytona, so that will be a second opportunity to take what we learned from the two-car packs. Talladega is bigger and wider than Daytona, but there will be a lot of the same type strategy that we saw at the 500. I’m excited about our Fords since they were all fast in Daytona, which is a good sign going into Talladega.”

Crew chief Drew Blickensderfer on racing at Talladega Superspeedway: “We are heading to Talladega with the same car we almost won Daytona with, so we know we have a good UPS Ford going into this weekend. David is a really good restrictor plate driver and we are looking forward to get to the track and continue the momentum we have built the last few weeks.”

* UPS employee, Steven Demery, will be an honorary crew member of the UPS team this weekend in Talladega, and will also have his named featured on the C-Post of the UPS Ford.
* Ragan has his best average finish of all the tracks on the circuit at Talladega with a 14.2.
* Ragan has visited Talladega Superspeedway eight times in his Sprint Cup Series career and in his eight starts has earned two top-five and three top-10 finishes, while also leading for a total of 22 laps.
* In the spring of 2009 Ragan earned his first Nationwide Series victory at Talladega.

Kenseth worked well in the two-car draft at Daytona (Getty)
Matt Kenseth 
Team: No. 17 Crown Royal Black Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Jimmy Fennig

Chassis: Primary: RK-713 (Last run at Daytona)

Kenseth on racing at Talladega Superspeedway: “Racing at Talladega is challenging. You never truly know what to expect, but I don’t see it being a lot different this weekend since there aren’t any rule changes or changes to the cars. People compare Daytona and Talladega and I think that Talladega is a little more forgiving, but we’ll see what happens this weekend. You never know what’s going to happen as far as wrecks are concerned, but certainly Talladega always has the potential to be an accident waiting to happen. You never know where it’s going to occur, when it’s going to happen, or who it’s going to take out, so that’s one race that you’re never sure where everybody is going to end up finishing until the race is over.”

Crew chief Jimmy Fennig on racing at Talladega Superspeedway: “Talladega is a tough track to really have a plan for because you never know when wrecks are going to happen. Accidents can happen early on and they’re just very unpredictable so you just never know what to expect. A lot of teams opt to hang out in the back of the field to try to avoid wrecks, but that doesn’t always work. We plan to race the best we can at Talladega and hope to avoid whatever happens on the track.”

• In 22 Cup starts at Talladega, Kenseth has completed 3,921 of 4,165 laps (94.1 percent) and led for 159 laps
• Kenseth has an average starting position of 22.5 and an average finishing position of 18.6 at TSS
• Kenseth has achieved three top-five and six top-10 finishes at Talladega in the Cup series
• This weekend at Talladega, Kenseth will pilot the No. 17 Crown Royal Black Ford Fusion
• Entering the weekend at Talladega, Kenseth is currently third in the NSCS driver point standings

- Roush Fenway Racing, Press Releases

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