Busch, Kahne get ready for ‘Monster Mile’
Posted Thursday, Sep 24, 2009, 4:58 pm in Employee News
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series visits Dover (Del.) International Speedway this weekend for the AAA 400, the second race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Expect the unexpected this Sunday. Dover (Del.) International Speedway is a 1-mile, variable-banked, all-concrete track that is aptly named “The Monster Mile” for its abuse on brakes, tires and racecars. The turns are banked 18-20 degrees.
Dover is known for close-quarter racing at speeds in excess of 160 mph. Mistakes are costly. Single-car mishaps often turn into multi-car crashes.
Dodge has five wins at Dover (Richard Petty two, Ryan Newman three) and has claimed the pole seven of the last 12 times qualifying has taken place. The pole winners were Ryan Newman (four), Jeremy Mayfield (two) and Rusty Wallace (one).
Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) looks to use the momentum of a sixth-place finish last week at New Hampshire to keep pace with point’s leader Mark Martin. Busch is 65 points behind the leader with nine races remaining in the Chase.
In the five fall Chase events at Dover, Busch has two top-fives. In 18 starts at Dover, Busch has three top-five and five top-10 finishes.
Busch enters this weekend’s AAA 400 still looking for his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup win at Dover International Speedway. However, he thinks his victory drought on the Monster Mile could come to an end on Sunday.
“I’m super optimistic about our chances heading back to Dover for this weekend’s race,” Busch said. “We’ve really been looking forward to this race since our last visit back in the spring. We finished fifth in that race, but we feel like we probably had a car capable of winning. We had to play catch–up for much of that race and weren’t able to show how strong our car was until almost the very end of the race.”
Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger
) looks to rebound this week after a disappointing finish at New Hampshire.
Kahne had engine issues that ended his day early and a finish of 38th. That dropped him to 12th in the Chase standings.
“I think Dover is great, Kahne said. “I used to like it a little more when the tire would fall off (lose grip) and you could move all over the race track. It doesn’t seem like we run quite as high these days. But it’s definitely a good track, a tough track and a fairly long race. It’s a little bit demanding. The Monster Mile is difficult, so anything can happen there.”
All seven Dodge teams are assured starting berths in the event in Sunday’s race.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase Standings:
(After first of 10 races)
1. Mark Martin, 5,230
2. Jimmie Johnson, 5,195
3. Denny Hamlin, 5,195
4. Juan Pablo Montoya, 5,175
5. Kurt Busch, 5,165
6. Tony Stewart, 5,156
7. Ryan Newman, 5,151
8. Brian Vickers, 5,140
9. Greg Biffle, 5,138
10. Jeff Gordon, 5,128
11. Carl Edwards, 5,117
12. Kasey Kahne, 5,069
Sam Hornish Jr. (No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger
) has three top-15 finishes this season in short track competition. Hornish earned his first top-10 of the year with a ninth-place effort at Phoenix and he followed that up with a sixth-place showing at Richmond. He was 13th at The Monster Mile in June.
Reed Sorenson (No. 43 Valvoline Dodge Charger
) led laps 29-32 at Dover in May, the first of the season for the No. 43 Dodge. He was 10th with 100 laps remaining. He led for 39 laps in this race in 2006.
Elliott Sadler (No. 19 Best Buy/Geek Squad Dodge Charger
) is tied with Tony Stewart for the longest active non-DNF streak (50 races) among drivers that have competed in every race. Teammate Reed Sorenson now has the longest overall streak at 53 races, but did not compete at Infineon last season.
Richard Petty Motorsports qualified all four of its cars in the top 10 at Dover in the spring race.
What you need to know:
The Race: AAA 400
The Place: Dover International Speedway (1-mile oval)
The Date: Sunday, Sept. 27
The Time: 2 p.m. EDT
Distance: 400 laps/400 miles
TV: ABC, 1 p.m. EDT