Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Driver Notes & Quotes for FedEx 400 at Dover

Concrete Carl should be tough to beat Sunday
CARL EDWARDS ON DOVER: “Dover has been one of our best tracks as a team and everyone at Roush Fenway Racing looks forward to going there. Our Aflac team has done a great job contending for wins and being up front at every track so I hope this week is the same and we have another shot to win. I’ve been thinking the whole week about the last two laps at Darlington, so I’m ready to get to Dover and hopefully get a win.”

EDWARDS AT DOVER: In 13 starts at the one-mile track, Edwards has one win, six top-five and nine top-10 finishes. Edwards scored his only Cup win there in Sept. ’07. He has an average start of 15.7 and an average finish of 7.7.

EDWARDS CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 99 team will be unloading chassis RK-739 this weekend. This car last raced at Auto Club Speedway where Edwards finished sixth.

DAVID RAGAN ON DOVER: “Dover is a track that we can rebound at after a tough night at Darlington since the Roush cars are notoriously good there. We are taking a new car there this weekend and we’ve had some success so far this season with new cars. I personally enjoy Dover a lot and if I were a fan I’d want to go there and watch a race because the cars just look really cool going around that track. It’s our last chance to win a race before the All-Star race and a perfect place to get back in our rhythm with our UPS Ford.”

RAGAN CHASSIS CHOICE: Primary: RK-759 Brand new chassis; Backup: RK-730 Last ran Phoenix in 2010 as the No. 99 – finished first.

GREG BIFFLE ON DOVER: “I’ve had some success at Dover and it would be great to get the 3M Ford Fusion in victory lane there this weekend. It’s been a pretty up and down season for us so far but I feel like we’re moving in the right direction. A win would definitely keep the momentum going though. As a driver, you have to be on your toes in Dover. You want your car to be a little loose but at the same time, it can’t be too loose. I have high expectations for this weekend.”

Matt Kenseth says Dover is his favorite track
MATT KENSETH ON DOVER: “Whenever I’m asked what my favorite track is on the circuit, I always answer with Dover. The track is so fast and challenging, and it’s unique because of the way you drive up out of the turns. The turns sit a bit lower than the straightaways and you can feel it when you’re driving out there. I got my first Cup start at Dover and we’ve won in the Cup car, led a lot of laps and we’ve won a couple of times in the Nationwide Series there as well. We’ve had a lot of good times at Dover and I’m looking forward to going there again this weekend.”

KENSETH CHASSIS SELECTION AS EXPLAINED BY CREW CHIEF JIMMY FENNIG: “I’m ready to get to Dover this weekend because it’s a place where Matt likes to race at and where he’s earned a lot of great finishes. We need to change our luck around to get a good finish under our belts, and I feel like this weekend should do that for us. We’re taking a brand new race car, and since Dover is Matt’s favorite track, I’m hoping that we’ll be able to get a strong run for the Wiley X Sunglasses Ford.”

RYAN NEWMAN ON DOVER: “Dover is another one of my favorite racetracks. This little swing here we have here – Richmond, Darlington, Dover, Charlotte – it’s been kind of similar in the last few years, and it’s a string of races that I really enjoy. I think it’s one of those stretches that we circle on the calendar because it’s a stretch where we feel we have the opportunity to get top-fives and win each and every week.

"At Dover, I like the banking. I like the elevation changes. The concrete provides a different type of racing for us because the track doesn’t change a whole lot. Once you get your car right, you can keep it right for the rest of the race. And for me, for whatever reason, I’ve always adapted well to racing on concrete. To me, the characteristics of the track make it both demanding and fun. It’s really unique how you drop off into the corners and then climb up the hills onto the straightaways.

"At Dover, the entry into the corners is the toughest part. If you don’t get a good entry, you’re not going to have a good middle or a good exit. You have narrow straightaways and then the track opens a lot in the corners, so there is a good bit of give-and-take. To me as a driver, it’s just a track that’s a lot of fun. It’s a challenge. If you don’t like a challenge, you don’t like Dover. I really look forward to racing there. It’s fast, it’s demanding. I like the banked racetracks, and it’s one of those.”

NEWMAN CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis No. 39-516 - This chassis has been the only chassis to see action on either of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ concrete racetracks – Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and Dover (Del.) International Speedway – for the No. 39 Stewart-Haas Racing team. The chassis has also seen action at one other track on the circuit – Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. In 10 starts, the chassis has finished outside of the top-10 only twice.

In five races during the 2009 season, the chassis never finished outside of the top-10. The car finished seventh and sixth at Bristol, fourth at Darlington and eighth and 10th at Dover, respectively. After updates to the chassis following the 2009 season, the car returned to action at the concrete tracks again in 2010. In March 2010 at Bristol, Newman flirted with a top-10 but finished a disappointing 16th following a late-race lug nut issue on a pit stop. Newman followed that performance up with a sixth-place effort in the August race at the .533-mile bullring. The chassis also saw action at Dover during the 2010 season.

Last May at Dover, Newman qualified sixth and fought back from tire issues to finish 13th. Newman followed that up with an eight-place finish last September. During the off season, the car was updated with a new front clip and a new body for the 2011 season. The chassis’ most recent outing at Bristol in March resulted in a 10th-place finish.

Labonte won at Dover in 1999
BOBBY LABONTE ON DOVER: “I’ve had some success at Dover. It’s a challenging racetrack, but at the same time it is so fun to race. There are a lot of grooves and it’s not like any other track on the circuit as far as drivability. It has its own challenges, but it’s a great race for fans to watch. You definitely need a good handling car to get around that place.”

DAVID REUTIMANN ON CONCRETE RACING: “I like that a concrete racetrack isn’t as affected by temperature as an asphalt track. It’s a lighter color so the surface doesn’t get as hot and it tends to have more grip. It does change a little bit, but you don’t have to take the really big swings at it like you do on the asphalt surfaces. The track stays pretty consistent and that helps us set the car up for a good run.”

KURT BUSCH ON DOVER: “To be successful at Dover, you have to stay on top of the changing track conditions during the race. It’s a track where your car can start getting tighter and tighter as the track gets rubbered in and we’ll go in there this weekend definitely with that situation on our minds when it comes to our race setup.

“We’ve had some strong cars there, especially over the last couple of years. We’ve led laps and been in contention for the win several times, but just haven’t been able to pull it off. It’s one of the tracks that we’ve been most consistent in making the right adjustments through the race and we’re certainly hoping that trend continues there this weekend."

BRAD KESELOWSKI ON RACING AT DOVER: “What makes Dover so difficult is the fact that it has so much load – you’re asking the car to do a lot of different things. Then, you combine the way that the track’s concrete rubbers-in and it really makes your front tires slick. It’s always a challenge to find front grip and what you end up doing is taking away rear grip. That just makes it more challenging to drive when your car gets sideways. With the track being concrete it makes you become a more disciplined driver. It’s the fine balance between driving your car hard and finding the finesse that you need to drive hard through the center of the corner.”

KESELOWSKI CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger team will use chassis PRS-743 during Sunday’s FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway. Keselowski raced this chassis to a 26th-place finish at Auto Club Speedway in March.

MARTIN TRUEX JR ON RACING AT DOVER: “I think the most important thing for us is understanding how fortunate we are because our cars are fast. We’ve performed well at just about all the tracks this year. We’ve been a top-five, top-10 car most places. We’re competitive, but we just haven’t been able to take advantage of it. If we can just get all the little pieces together and do all the little things right, we are going to turn an OK season into a great one.

“I’m hoping that happens this weekend at Dover. It will be my 200th Sprint Cup start. It’s also where I won my first Sprint Cup race and last year I got my first pole with the team. A lot of good things have happened there and it’s one of my favorite tracks. It’s close to home. Last fall, we had a really good car and ran up in the top two or three for most of the race. Our NAPA Toyota has been really fast all season long so with all the good stats at Dover, maybe we can add another by getting us a win.”

Logano finished third at Dover in fall
JOEY LOGANO ON WHY HE LIKES DOVER: “I love it – I love Dover, it’s probably one of my top two tracks on the circuit. It’s one of the places that I’ve done really well at, and fell victim to the Monster. I think a lot people think I’d hate Dover after I crashed there so big in the Home Depot Toyota, but I’m cool with it. It’s a fun race track for me. It may have something to do with the fact that I run well at it. I’ve ran good in a Cup car there and I’ve come really close to winning it in the Nationwide car there a couple times. It’s also the track where I made my first big NASCAR start, so it means quite a bit to me."

LOGANO CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 20 Home Depot Team is taking chassis #297 to Dover International Speedway this weekend. Logano drove this chassis at Texas Motor Speedway in April and at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March. A late-race tire violation with 25 laps to go dropped the team out of the top 10 and into the 23rd position at the Nevada track, and he was hit on pit road by the No. 00 car in Texas to finish 24th. The back-up chassis is #278 which Logano drove earlier this year at Bristol, to a fourth-place finish at Richmond last fall and to a 17th-place finish at Kansas Speedway.

JAMIE McMURRAY CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis #1102 - Crew Chief Kevin “Bono” Manion has elected to bring Chassis number #1102 to Dover International Speedway this weekend. McMurray and the No. 1 Bass Pro Shops team last used this chassis earlier in the season at both Las Vegas Motor Speedway where it finished 27th and Texas Motor Speedway where it finished 22nd.

JUAN PABLO MONYOYA CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis #1003 - Team Target used chassis #1003 this season in the Jeff Byrd 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway where Montoya finished 24th. This chassis also ran five times last year by the No. 42 team (Charlotte in May, Chicago in July, Atlanta in September, Fontana in October, and Texas in November). The chassis had finishes of 38th, 16th, ninth, 14th, and 28th.

- from several team press releases

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