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Charlotte Motor Speedway



Records

Date Series Driver Speed


10/11/99 Sprint Cup Race Jeff Gordon 160.00
10/15/05 Sprint Cup Qualifying Elliott Sadler 193.216
10/10/03 Nationwide Race Greg Biffle 149.00
10/14/05 Nationwide Qualifying Jimmie Johnson 187.735
5/19/06 Camping World Truck Race Kyle Busch 125.00
5/20/05 Camping World Truck Qualifying Mike Skinner 183.051


Most Cup Wins (since 1975)

Darrell Waltrip: 6
Jimmie Johnson: 6


Sprint Cup
Date Race Name Pole Winner Race Winner Make Purse


5/30/10 Coca-Cola 600 Ryan Newman Kurt Busch Dodge $6,474,775
10/16/10 Bank of America 500 Jeff Gordon Jamie McMurray Chevrolet $5,173,755
5/25/09 Coca-Cola 600 Ryan Newman David Reutimann Toyota $6,696,340
10/17/09 NASCAR Banking 500 Jimmie Johnson Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet $5,331,342
5/25/08 Coca-Cola 600 Kyle Busch Kasey Kahne Dodge $6,648,557
10/11/08 Bank of America 500 Jimmie Johnson Jeff Burton Chevrolet $5,291,863
5/27/07 Coca-Cola 600 Ryan Newman Casey Mears Chevrolet $6,569,628
10/13/07 Bank of America 500 Ryan Newman Jeff Gordon Chevrolet $5,185,096
 

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NASCAR Preview
Top Gear 300
Charlotte Motor Speedway



Race Capsule

What: Race 13 of 34 on Nationwide circuit
Where: Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, NC
When: May 28, 2011 2:46 pm EDT
Laps: 200
Track Length: 1.5 miles
Race Length: 300.00 miles





NASCAR Preview
Coca-Cola 600
Charlotte Motor Speedway




Race Capsule

What: Race 12 of 36 on Sprint Cup circuit

Where: Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, NC

When: May 29, 2011 6:16 pm EDT

Laps: 400

Track Length: 1.5 miles

Race Length: 600.00 miles
 

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Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes - NNS Race Advance - Charlotte

May 25, 2011 , CONCORD, N.C. - For Immediate Release
Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes
NNS Race Advance
Top Gear 300
Charlotte Motor Speedway
Saturday, May 28, 2011


BRAD KESELOWSKI – No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger R/T

Career Starts: 151

Wins: 12

Top Fives: 65

Top 10s: 90

Poles: 8

Career Highlights:

· Has compiled one win, three top-five and six top-10 finishes in nine Nationwide starts at Charlotte.

· The defending NASCAR Nationwide Series champion.

· Earned Penske Racing its first NASCAR champion last season.

· Set career-best results in 2010 in wins (6), top fives (26), top 10s (29) and poles (5).

· First Nationwide victory came at Nashville Superspeedway (2008).


SAM HORNISH JR. - No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge Challenger R/T

Career Starts: 24

Wins: 0

Top Fives: 0

Top 10s: 1

Poles: 0

Career Highlights:

· Fifth Nationwide start of the season (Daytona, Texas, Talladega and Richmond).

· Best Nationwide finish at Charlotte – 39th in 2010 fall event.

· Made his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut with Penske Racing at Phoenix Int’l Raceway in the fall of 2006.

DID YOU KNOW

· Brad Keselowski won last year’s Nationwide fall event at CMS – the first time the “new car” competed at the 1.5-mile track. He followed with his sixth win of the season one week later at Gateway (15 races ago). His best finish this season was a second at Texas.

· Sam Hornish Jr. started second and finished seventh in his most recent Nationwide start at Richmond last month, both season bests. He’s qualified in the top 20 in the four previous events and has finished 16th or better in his last three outings.

· Eight of the 58 previous Nationwide races at Charlotte have been won from the pole and 15 from the front row.

SAM SAYS
“Charlotte is one of my favorite racetracks for many reasons, but mostly because of all the fond memories I have from racing on the kart track in the infield of turn three. I am excited to get back with the No. 12 Penske Racing team. I know that they have been working hard during these last few weeks that we have had off. I'm looking forward to making some new memories this Memorial Day weekend and having a great run in our Alliance Truck Parts Dodge Challenger."
Sam Hornish Jr., driver, No. 12 Alliance Auto Parts Dodge Challenger R/T

DODGE QUOTES
“The last Nationwide Series race at Charlotte was very memorable for everyone on the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge team. It was a tight race for most of the race, but we were able to pull away for a pretty sizeable margin at the checkered flag. Every driver wants to win at Charlotte. That was definitely a goal of mine and it meant a lot to be able to cross it off the list. I remember that being a fun Victory Lane celebration. We haven’t won yet in 2011, but we keep inching closer and closer to it every week. Back-to-back Charlotte wins would be awesome.”
Brad Keselowski, No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge

“I really feel that we are as prepared for this weekend’s race at Charlotte as any race this year. We had very solid races at Las Vegas and Texas earlier this season, plus we have last year’s notebook from Brad’s win. That race was at night and this one is an afternoon start, so the track will be hotter and slicker than in October. We’ll have to make those necessary adjustments to keep the car turning well in the middle of the corner, without giving up stability on corner entry.”
Todd Gordon, Crew Chief – No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge

“Charlotte is one of the premier events for the Nationwide Series, as it is considered the ‘home' race for many of the teams. Sam seems to really to have a knack for the mile and a half tracks and I feel very confident he will be amongst the front runners and challenge for the win."
Chad Walter, No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge
 

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Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes - NSCS Race Advance - Coca-Cola 600

May 24, 2011 , CONCORD, N.C. - For Immediate Release
Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes
NSCS Race Advance
Coca-Cola 600
Charlotte Motor Speedway
Sunday, May 29, 2011



DODGE AT CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY

· Dodge has eight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 600-mile wins at Charlotte Motor Speedway: Buddy Baker (3), Richard Petty (2), Kasey Kahne (2) and Kurt Busch (1).

· Dodge has 15 Sprint Cup wins (both events) at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

· Dodge’s Kurt Busch is the defending champion of the Coca-Cola 600.

· Dodge has won five Sprint Cup regular-season races at Charlotte since returning to the sport in 2001.

· Dodge has started from the pole 12 times at Charlotte. The most recent came at the fall event in 2007 (Ryan Newman).

DODGE NEWS AND NOTES

· Kurt Busch has not been outside the top 10 in the Sprint Cup point standings this season. He was the point leader after weeks three and four. He’s currently ninth.

· Brad Keselowski has recorded two-consecutive top-15 finishes (Third – Darlington and 13th – Dover).

· A Dodge has won three of the last five Coca-Cola 600s.

THE DODGE BOYS

· Dodge has 207 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories.

· Dodge’s most recent win came at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Kurt Busch led 252 of 400 laps en route to victory in the 2010 Coca-Cola 600. He also won the Sprint All-Star Race the week prior to the 600.

· Dodge claimed two Sprint Cup victories in 2010.

· Dodge teams have posted 47 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).

2011 SPRINT CUP SERIES SEASON BEST

· Kurt Busch Start: 2nd – Phoenix
Finish: 5th – Daytona

· Brad Keselowski Start: 7th – Richmond
Finish: 3rd – Darlington

· Robby Gordon Start: 30th – Daytona
Finish: 16th – Daytona

CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY BEST

· Kurt Busch Start – Second (spring 2007 & ‘10)
Finish -- Win (spring, 2010)

· Brad Keselowski Start – Eighth (fall, 2009)
Finish – 12th (fall, 2009)

· Robby Gordon
Start – 12th (spring 2002)
Finish – Third (spring 2009)

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

· Kurt Busch has recorded a Sprint Cup win for nine consecutive seasons. His last regular-season victory came in the 2010 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (34 races).

· Dodge holds the Coca-Cola 600 qualifying record of 27.981 seconds, 192.988 mph.

· Buddy Baker recorded the first Dodge win in the 600-mile event in 1968.

· Dodge swept both Sprint Cup events (spring and fall) at CMS in 1968 and 1975.

CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY QUICK FACTS

· There have been 104 Sprint Cup races at CMS since the track opened in 1960 with 41 different drivers posting victories.

· There have been 37 pole winners with 14 of those drivers winning the race.

· Of the 104 races, 14 have been won from the pole and 30 from the front row.

FROM THE ENGINEER
"Many like to say that the All Star race, run at Charlotte last weekend, gives the teams a chance to work on their setups for the Coca Cola 600, that will be contested on the same track this week. Same track maybe, but same setup? Doubtful. The segmented format that we see in the All Star race forces the teams to concentrate on chassis setups that will be most effective for short 20 to 25 lap runs. But from experience we know that in this 600-mile contest there could be several long green flag periods and what works for 25 laps won't be good for 50 or 75 laps. The huge difference in format greatly affects the way you approach setup choices for this longest race of the year."
Howard Comstock, Dodge Motorsports Engineering


FROM THE CREW CHIEF
“We feel like we’ve really made some gains here the last three weeks with the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge. We had a good car at Darlington and put ourselves in position for a top-five finish. We were really strong at Dover running in the top-10 most of the day. We feel like we’ve got things heading in the right direction and everyone back at the shop has been working really hard. As a team, we’re understanding what we have to do with these cup cars to be able to run up front and have the success we did last season in Nationwide.”
Paul Wolfe, crew chief, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger R/T

DODGE MOTORSPORTS QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Regardless of how you win the 600, you have to look at it as a great team effort and that definitely was the case for our win last year. It’s the toughest race and you really want to give it your very best lap after lap.”
Kurt Busch, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T

DODGE QUOTES
“Dominant wins like we had in the 600 last year are pretty few and far between. The cars are so equal these days that strategy has pegged the meter in importance. Just look at the last few races and how Regan Smith won at Darlington and Matt (Kenseth) won at Dover. A win is a win and we need one no matter how it comes. The biggest and most important thing is leading the final lap – the checkered flag lap – and winning the race.”

Kurt Busch, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T

"The (Coca-Cola) 600 is a long race. Thankfully we had the all-star race last weekend that gives you a warm-up to see if you have your stuff right. The approach is that you have to be there at the end of the race. You can't beat your car up the first 500 miles and expect to win the race. Six hundred miles is a long way both mentally and physically. You have to have a lot of durability in your car and make sure that you're fast at the end. The last 100 miles gets real racy.

“It's so hard to pass and the cars are really good in the Cup Series. There are a lot of good teams; a lot of depth in the field and it seems that if your car is average, you never make as many spots up on the racetrack as you can in the pits. It's so hard to be fast that track position is crucial and a two-tire strategy is allowing teams to gamble a bit on pit road because the fall-off of the tire just isn't that significant. The strategy is a combination of track position and the tires that Goodyear is bringing to the track."
Brad Keselowski, No 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger R/T
 

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NASCAR: Jacques Villeneuve joins Penske Racing for road races

GREGORY LAHOOD

May 24, 2011





Jacques Villeneuve will drive the Penske Racing No. 22 Dodge Challenger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series races at Road America on June 25 and at Montreal on Aug. 20.

Villeneuve won the Formula One world championship in 1997. He will be filling the seat of Brad Keselowski, who will compete in the Sprint Cup Series at Infineon Raceway on June 26 and Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 21.

"I am really looking forward to joining Penske Racing and getting the chance to race at two of my favorite tracks with the series championship team. I am excited to work with the Discount Tire/Ruby Tuesday Dodge Crew, and we should be very competitive in both of these events," Villeneuve said.

Villeneuve has had success at Road America and Montreal during his career. He won CART Series races at Road America in 1994 and 1995. The French-Canadian driver also finished in third place in the Nationwide race in Montreal last season.

"It's great to be able [to] bring aboard a driver like Jacques, who has raced and won at the highest levels of motorsports," said Tim Cindric, president of Penske Racing. "Jacques has run well at both of these tracks before and he'll be a good fit on the No. 22 Discount Tire/Ruby Tuesday team."



 

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THE NUMBERS for the Coca-Cola 600

Charlotte Motor Speedway

1 – fewest cars on the lead lap at finish of Coca-Cola 600 (eight times, most recent 1962)

2 – fewest cautions for the Coca-Cola 600 (twice, most recent 1963)

4 – fewest leaders (1972)

5 – fewest laps led by race winner (David Reutimann, 2009)

5 – most 600 wins (Darrell Waltrip)

6 – number of jet dryers available for track drying this weekend

6 – most 600 poles (Ryan Newman & David Pearson)

8 – wins from the pole

11 – fewest lead changes (twice, most recent 1967)

21 – most leaders (2005)

22 – most cautions (2005)

26 – most cars on lead lap at finish (2009)

27 – different pole winners

29 – different race winners

31 – most Coca-Cola 600 starts (Buddy Baker & Richard Petty)

54 – most lead changes (1979)

113 – most caution laps (1980)

120 minutes – approximate amount of time it takes to dry the 1.5-mile track after a significant rainfall

335 – most laps led by race winner (Jim Paschal, 1967)

2011 Caution Update

4 – fewest cautions this season (Fontana)

16 – most cautions this season (Daytona)

92 – number of cautions in the first 11 races of 2011; includes 45 for accidents, 16 for debris and 16 for spins

465 of 3,679 – number of laps under caution in 2011

581.429 of 4,368.500 – miles under caution in the first 11 races
 

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Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes - NSCS Final Qualifying

May 26, 2011 , CONCORD, N.C. - Thursday, May 26, 2011

Charlotte Motor Speedway
Dodge Motorsports PR
Coca-Cola 600
Post-Qualifying Quotes
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series


BRAD KESELOWSKI (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) Qualified 1st
“This car was awesome man. Awesome! Fast cars go fast and this is a team is making a lot of progress. We made some awesome gains in the Blue Deuce. Every week, we just keep picking away a little here, a little bit there. We’re starting to get more people to believe in us. We just have to keep chipping away with this Miller Lite Dodge. My guys gave me a really fast race car and we were able to put it together for a qualifying lap.

“The track keeps on getting faster and I’m really happy for this Miller Lite Dodge team. I’m really proud to have a fast race car and that means more to me than anything. Right now, we have a fast race car and a great qualifying position.”

YOU GUYS HAVE CLEARY PICKED UP YOUR PEFORMANCE THE LAST FEW WEEKS. HOW? “My crew chief Paul Wolfe, he lives off of Perth Road, so maybe he found some secrets there. I don’t know. There is a lot of speed on that road I hear. It’s his responsibility. He’s making some small gains every week and sometimes they don’t show up. Sometimes you make gains and you can feel them, but you don’t see them. You look at the finishes in the box scores or whatever the stats might be. But as race car drivers, we go off the feel of our ass; the feel of my ass that the cars are getting better every week and they’re turning just a little bit better, the horsepower is getting a little bit better. I think that we have more in store. As a team, we’ve done a lot of things to make progress – a lot of hard work and smart work. The list of things that I think we need to improve is still very large. I think everyone on our team would agree with that and we’re still where we’re at right now (winning the pole). That’s really special.”

WE’RE KURT COMMENTS IN DARLINGTON MOTIVIATION TO YOU TO RUN BETTER IN THE CUP SERIES? “A little bit of both to be quite honest. I felt like from race five on we’ve actually out-performed, but haven’t out-finished. We haven’t executed. As a team, we’re getting to where we have performance, but not execution. The next step for us is to execute. We had a really fast car last week. I felt like we were a top-five car at worst. We had problems. We broke the brakes on the car and didn’t execute. At Dover the week before, again, I felt like we were a fifth-place car at the end of the race and I stalled it on pit road. All those things, it’s team execution. It’s myself. It’s the shop. We need to execute just a little bit better and then we’ll have the 2 car where it consistently performs. I think that as a group, my road crew and the guys that do the setups on the car have really, really learned a lot over the last few weeks. Most of them came over from the Nationwide side. They don’t have a ton of experience with the car, so they’re learning as well and it’s fitting into the pace that I’m learning.”

WHAT IS THE ATMOSPHERE AT PENSKE RIGHT NOW? “I think that it was a little over a week ago that we announced that Tom German was leaving the company. He was the head of engineering. There were people that had good things to say about him and people that had bad things to say about him. Either way, the change there has opened doors that would have never opened before. The jury is still out whether that’s good or bad. But I think looking at the strengths and weaknesses of my team, I think it’s going to be good for us. Allowing guys like Paul Wolfe and my car chief Jerry Kelley, which are just true grassroots racers that have graduated through levels and polished their skills, to work on the race cars and make decisions, I think that’s what is going to pay off and I’m starting to see it already. There are things on this car this week that would have never been on it before. It’s not some amazing new muffler bearing, it’s small little things. It’s putting the car together right and having the ability to do that without jumping over 20 to 30 hurdles. That’s what this sport is about. It’s about small details and we’re getting the details a little bit better each week with the 2 team.”

DID WHAT KURT SAY AT DARLINGTON TICK YOU OFF? “I think that if you look at all of 2010, he was absolutely right. Until the last two or three races, with the exception of Phoenix, I wasn’t even close to running with Kurt, not even close. I think that he definitely has legs to stand on with that comment.”

DO YOU NEED TO REBUILD YOUR FLEET OR DO IT WITH YOU CURRENT CARS? “I don’t look at cars like a lot of people do. The definition of rebuilding a fleet means something different to everyone. To me, it’s difficult because people look at race cars from the outside and say, ‘OK, this is chassis 536-A with a whatever clip on it’. I don’t view it that way. I look at big race teams and I see a lineup of parts chassis. You bolt the parts on the chassis and you have a car. So if you want to rebuild a car, you just change a couple of components. If you want to rebuild a chassis, you just build another chassis and put those components on it. What some people may consider a complete rebuild, I always look at it a little differently.”

WOULD YOU AGREE THAT YOU AND KURT HAVE DIFFERENT APPROACHES AT FIXING PROBLEMS, BUT WOULD YOU ALSO AGREE THAT YOU HAVE THE SAME GOALS? “Yeah. Kurt and I can sit behind closed doors and agree 100 percent with everything we need to move forward. I’ve seen, perhaps, more of a gain in that than I did before. That’s what it’s going to take. It’s going to take the two of us being on the same page on what we need. He definitely has a different approach. To be honest, if he didn’t have that approach, I probably would adopt it because you keep trying different things until you get what you want. I spent all last year being quiet and not saying, ‘Hey, this car is really, really bad’ to the media. But they were really, really bad. At the same time, Kurt was running well and I didn’t have a leg to stand on with that. This year, obviously my cars have gotten better. Kurt has had his struggles. I’ve had my struggles to. I’m not saying that we’re great every week either. But it’s somewhat refreshing to have someone that can speak up have a voice, have the credibility of being a past champion and past winner and those around him perhaps listen more intently.”

WHY DOES IT MATTER TO YOU WHAT OTHER PEOPLE SAY? AREN’T YOU MOTIVATED ENOUGH? “You go through lulls. You go through spikes and then you have your plateaus, some are high and some are low. It’s really hard. I got in the car the other week and you run like crap. Richmond was a terrible weekend for us. And you get out of the car and say, ‘What am I doing?’ We’re terrible. Running 40th in Cup, I’d rather work at McDonald’s than run 40th in Cup. I hate it. I can’t stand it. You want to know what my nightmare is? It’s waking up, having a dream of pulling in the garage area, looking up at the scoreboard and seeing my car on the right side of the board. It’s that drive that keeps you going. You need moments of inspiration or motivation for no other reason to kind of shut up that devil on your shoulder that’s saying, ‘I need to do something else.’ That’s the little cancer growing on your shoulder.”

KURT BUSCH (No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger) Qualified
"Just way too tight. We had a top-10 race car in practice, but just couldn't get that speed out of the car for qualifying. We'll work on it again tomorrow."

ROBBY GORDON (No. 7 SPEED Energy / Harris Teeter / Sam’s Mart Dodge Charger)
"We'll see where that qualifying lap puts us. Our SPEED Energy Dodge keeps hitting the race track and we're not quite sure why. When we hit the race track, our car slides the front and goes way loose. We've got the pink car, our Pink Unleaded SPEED Energy on board. We just need some more speed through the corners. Just losing too much speed."
 

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Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes - Kurt Busch Open Interview - Coca-Cola 600

May 26, 2011 , CONCORD, N.C. - Thursday, May 26, 2011


Dodge Motorsports PR
Charlotte Motor Speedway
Coca-Cola 600
Kurt Busch Open Interview
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series



KURT BUSCH (No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T)

YOU’RE DEFENDING RACE CHAMPION, CAN YOU TALK ABOUT COMING BACK HERE TO CHARLOTTE AND RACING IN THE 600? “It’s good to have a 600-mile challenge in front of us. With what we did here last year and bring home the big trophy to Penske Racing, It’s always important to win on Memorial Day weekend at Penske. We want to try and stack another trophy on our side. With the challenges that we’ve had lately, this is as good a place as any to try our hand at a different setup to try and see what we can find for speed. With the pit crew and the long 600 miles, we’ve got our work cut out for us. That’s what the challenge is; 600 miles is a long, tough race where you start in the daytime and end in the evening. The track is continually changing, so it takes a lot to be able to adjust to it. I’m really up to the challenge, so I’m looking forward to that.”

WHAT TYPES OF THINGS ARE YOU GUYS WORKING ON TO MAKE YOU CARS BETTER? “We feel like we have a good car in practice sometimes and then, we get into the race and as the sequence unfolds, we get a tight condition and drop off more than the other cars. We might qualify well and continually lose our track position as the race progresses. I’m feeling like it’s chassis related. There’s some technology that we might be a bit behind on or reluctant to put in the car. I would say now is as good of a time as any to try some things because we still have a lot of the regular season left. We can earn a Chase birth by just getting a win. There’s no sense of urgency. It’s just time to make some changes and make it happen.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WINNING BOTH MAY RACES IN CHARLOTTE AND THE MOMENTUM THAT IT GAVE YOUR TEAM? “Winning one of the most prestigious races of the year can put a feather in the cap for the season, no matter where you end up. To win the Coke 600 is a special moment. To look back and see what we did at the All-Star race and to come out on top of that race. You have goals at the beginning of the year and it’s always great to check them off and know that you accomplished something special. With the rings coming around Christmas time to commemorate what we did in the month of May. That was special. It gave us some momentum for June and July; you can’t hold on to that performance forever. You have to continue to post results and that’s what we need to do – get back to that same style of the car having that feel in it. We need solid pit stops and be a solid threat in the top-five every week.”

IS THERE A POINT WHERE YOU GUYS KNOW WHERE THE DROP IN PERFORMANCE STARTED? HAVE YOU BEEN CAUGHT BY SURPRISED DURING THE RACE BY HOW YOUR CAR HAS STRUGGLED? “I feel like how the month of May went for us last year, we were top-five. I think we were top-five and right where we needed to be in points – top-five in points. We came off a dominating month of May. We seemed to drop off when we went to Chicago in July. It was a car that we couldn’t describe and figure out. Chassis changes came towards the Chase and that’s when we really never found the speed. We had a very successful Daytona Speedweeks – a top-five in the Daytona 500. I think we all know that driving a restrictor-plate car is a lot different than a mile-and-a-half car. We hit it right for a superspeedway car. And now we’re back to the mile-and-a-halves and we’ve struggled. Twelve months later, we just find ourselves a bit behind in the mile-and-a-half department.

“I feel like we have to go into each race optimistic and positive so that you can find good results. At the end of the day, Roger Penske and I agree that as long as you put yourself in position to do well, no matter what the outcome is, those are good days. But when you’re running 15th just clawing to hang onto the lead lap, those aren’t days that we need for Shell, Pennzoil and Dodge. We need to be up there leading laps and having good results. Sometimes, it’s a surprise in practice that we hit on something and then you get into the race and our car reacts a little different in that dirty air compared to the competition.”

HAVE YOU TALKED TO KYLE ABOUT HIS TRAFFIC INCIDENT AND WHAT ADVICE DID YOU GIVE HIM? “Talking with Kyle (Busch) about it, I feel like he definitely understands the mistake that he made and that speed is supposed to be saved for here at the race track and putting on a good show. All of us drivers have a responsibility as being role models to what we can teach our youth on the roadways. There are posted speed limits and rules and laws; that’s what we have to do. Whatever comes of it, he has his court date and things will be ironed out. He’ll learn from the situation and be a better person from it. I think I was 26-years old when I got put through my big episode and it definitely changes the way that you look at things. There’s a responsibility that all of us have.”

HOW DO YOU MENTALLY FIGHT THROUGH THE CHALLENGES YOU FACE WHEN YOUR RACE CAR ISN’T LIKE WHAT YOU WHAT? “It’ a matter of trying to be the most professional that you can be about it. Not every situation is good. You’re being graded on how you persevere through the troubling times. I always laugh and listen to you guys contradict yourselves because you say that you want us to be more colorful, but all that you want to do to a driver is just thrash them when they show personality. That’s what I’m going through with this radio and from now on, there’s not going to be anything on it except solid team communication because that’s all there needs to be.”

IS IT A MATTER OF YOUR TEAM FIGURING OUT WHAT YOU’RE DOING WRONG OR WHAT THE COMPETITION IS DOING RIGHT? “It’s tough to know whether you’re chasing your own tail or you’re the lead dog. I’ve always drawn the conclusion that if you get complacent because you’re doing well, then the cycle is going to come and find you. You always have to look around, find new ideas and polish up in areas that might now be an A-plus. Whether its pit crew, aerodynamics, engine shop, I’ve seen those Roush guys at Texas, you could just see the new level of competition they have under the hood. David Ragan is on the pole by two-and-a-half tenths. That just doesn’t happen every day. They’ve got their program together and everybody has to advance more to be on top.”

WHAT IS THE TIMETABLE FOR YOUR TEAM TO GET THINGS TURNED AROUND AND STILL MAKE THE CHASE? “Seasons are graded on if you make the Chase – that’s what teams have to do. Sponsors love the fact that they can see their car with a chance at the championship. If we’re in good position by mid-September, that’s where we needs to be because that way we have a good 10-week run and the next thing you know we’re in championship contention. That’s what it takes. Right now it’s important to get a good start here after Charlotte, including this weekend, but into June and July and of course August is a very important month.
 

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NASCAR Qualifying

Status: Field Set

Last Updated: Friday, May 27, 2011 1:13 am, EDT
Coca-Cola 600

Charlotte Motor Speedway



Order Driver (No.) Car Qualifying Speed

1 Brad Keselowski (2) Dodge 192.089
2 A J Allmendinger (43) Ford 191.693
3 Carl Edwards (99) Ford 191.686
4 Denny Hamlin (11) Toyota 191.367
5 Jeff Burton (31) Chevrolet 191.245
6 Jimmie Johnson (48) Chevrolet 191.069
7 David Reutimann (00) Toyota 190.921
8 David Ragan (6) Ford 190.799
9 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (21) Ford 190.752
10 Clint Bowyer (33) Chevrolet 190.705
11 Jeff Gordon (24) Chevrolet 190.604
12 Ryan Newman (39) Chevrolet 190.564
13 Mark Martin (5) Chevrolet 190.409
14 Martin Truex Jr. (56) Toyota 190.201
15 Greg Biffle (16) Ford 190.161
16 Paul Menard (27) Chevrolet 190.067
17 Kasey Kahne (4) Toyota 189.893
18 Brian Vickers (83) Toyota 189.867
19 Matt Kenseth (17) Ford 189.860
20 Regan Smith (78) Chevrolet 189.767
21 Kyle Busch (18) Toyota 189.440
22 Tony Stewart (14) Chevrolet 189.414
23 Joey Logano (20) Toyota 189.321
24 Marcos Ambrose (9) Ford 189.288
25 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) Chevrolet 188.937
26 Kurt Busch (22) Dodge 188.844
27 Bobby Labonte (47) Toyota 188.653
28 Kevin Harvick (29) Chevrolet 188.416
29 Juan Pablo Montoya (42) Chevrolet 188.160
30 David Gilliland (34) Ford 188.048
31 Travis Kvapil (38) Ford 187.990
32 David Starr (195) Ford 187.944
33 Michael McDowell (66) Toyota 187.682
34 J.J. Yeley (46) Chevrolet 187.513
35 Jamie McMurray (1) Chevrolet 187.201
36 Joe Nemechek (87) Toyota 187.169
37 Casey Mears (13) Toyota 186.994
38 David Stremme (30) Chevrolet 186.916
39 Mike Bliss (32) Ford 186.413
40 Landon Cassill (09) Chevrolet 185.567
41 Robby Gordon (7) Dodge 184.780
42 Dave Blaney (36) Chevrolet 184.527
43 Mike Skinner (60) Toyota 186.774
44 Andy Lally (71) DNQ 186.651
45 T.J. Bell (150) DNQ 186.567
46 Scott Wimmer (177) DNQ 186.213
47 Tony Raines (37) DNQ 184.483
48 Scott Riggs (181) DNQ 183.730
 

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Kurt Busch Set To Defend Coca-Cola 600 Title
Brad Keselowski, Sam Hornish Jr. Ready to Strike in Nationwide Race


CONCORD, N.C. (May 26, 2011) – A Memorial Day tradition continues this weekend as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the 52nd annual Coca-Cola 600. One of the “crowned jewels” on the 36-race schedule, motorsports and patriotism come together for a holiday weekend filled with pomp and pageantry honoring those who have served in our nation’s military. The day concludes with the running of NASCAR’s longest race of the season – 600 miles on the 1.5-mile track.

The race is a battle of attrition of both man and machine. Sunday’s race will be no different. Surviving 600 miles and four hours of bumper-to-bumper racing is the ultimate test in stock car racing.

With weekend temperatures expected to reach near 90 degrees in the Charlotte area, physical and mental fatigue will certainly play a role in separating contenders from pretenders. Teams must be able to maintain performance as the race transitions from day to night. Making the car survive 600 miles in the dramatically changing conditions is the test.

"Many like to say that the All-Star race, run at Charlotte last weekend, gives the teams a chance to work on their setups for the Coca Cola 600 that will be contested on the same track this week,” said Dodge engineer Howard Comstock. “Same track maybe, but same setup? Doubtful. The segmented format that we see in the All-Star race forces the teams to concentrate on chassis setups that will be most effective for short 20- to 25-lap runs. But from experience, we know that in this 600-mile contest there could be several long green-flag periods and what works for 25 laps won't be good for 50 or 75 laps. The huge difference in format greatly affects the way teams approach setup choices for this longest race of the year."

Dodge has seven 600-mile wins at Charlotte including last year’s victory by Penske Racing’s Kurt Busch. All three Dodge Charger R/T’s are guaranteed starting spots in Sunday night’s event.

Kurt Busch (No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger) dominated last year’s Coca-Cola 600, leading 252 laps and earned a perfect driving rating of 150.0. The 22-time Sprint Cup winner has not been outside the top-10 in driver points all season, but an uncharacteristic below-average, four-race stretch has the 2004 series champion searching for a kick-start race. Charlotte could be just the place as Busch has four top-five and five top-10 finishes at the 1.5-mile track.

“The race is 400 laps around a mile-and-a-half track and it’s a challenge to stay on top of the changing track conditions,” Busch said. “The crew has to be on their game, making the right adjustments and giving you great pit stops. It’s definitely a case of putting a complete race together. Until last year, there were plenty of times where we had really good race cars during the day and weren’t able to make it all the way to the end and race them hard. We dotted the i’s and crossed all the t’s in winning last year’s 600.”

Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger R/T) is currently 30 points out of 20th in the Sprint Cup driver point standings – a significant benchmark as those inside the top-20 who have a earned a series wins will be vying for the final two positions in the Chase to the Championship. Keselowski has put together top-15 finishes in his last two starts. He is making his second Coca-Cola 600 start.

"The (Coca-Cola) 600 is a long race,” said Keselowski. “Thankfully we had the All-Star race last weekend that gives you a warm-up to see if you have your stuff right. The approach is that you have to be there at the end of race. You can't beat your car up the first 500 miles and expect to win the race. Six hundred miles is a long way, both mentally and physically. You have to have a lot of durability in your car and make sure that you're fast at the end. The last 100 miles gets real racy."

Robby Gordon (No. 7 SPEED Energy Dodge Charger R/T) returns to the driver’s seat of his Dodge Charger R/T this weekend. A podium finish – third place – at the 2009 Coca-Cola 600 has Gordon eyeing his first top 10 of the season.

“The (Coca-Cola) 600 is the longest race of the year” said Gordon. “It’s really about endurance and the key is to be there at the end. It’s important to stay on the lead lap all night. If we can survive and use strategy to our advantage, we can get a good finish.”

NASCAR NATIONWIDE SERIES

Two Dodge Challengers will compete in Saturday afternoon’s Top Gear 300. Brad Keselowski (No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger R/T) and Penske Racing teammate Sam Hornish Jr. (No. Alliance Truck Parts Dodge Challenger R/T) look to take Dodge to victory lane for the second consecutive race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Keselowski won last fall’s event in the first appearance of the “new car” at the 1.5-mile track. Hornish will be making his second Nationwide Series start at Charlotte and fifth of the 2011 season.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
The Race: Coca-Cola 600
The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway
The Date: Sunday, May 29
The Time: 6 p.m. (ET)
TV: Fox, 5:30 p.m. (ET)
Radio: PRN, Sirius XM Ch. 90
Distance: 600 miles (400 laps)

NASCAR Nationwide Series
The Race: Top Gear 300
The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway
The Date: Saturday, May 28
The Time: 2:30 p.m. (ET)
TV: ABC, 2 p.m. (ET)
Radio: PRN, Sirius XM Ch. 90
Distance: 300 miles (200 laps)

Dodge Weekend Motorsports on TV
(All Times Eastern)
Thursday, May 26
2:00 p.m. – Nationwide Practice at Charlotte (SPEED)
3:30 p.m. – Sprint Cup Practice at Charlotte (SPEED)
5:00 p.m. – Nationwide Final Practice (SPEED)
6:30 p.m. – NASCAR Live (SPEED)
7:00 p.m. – Sprint Cup Pole Qualifying at Charlotte (SPEED)
9:00 p.m. – Race Hub (SPEED)

Friday, May 27 No Activity

Saturday, May 28 10:00 a.m. – Nationwide Pole Qualifying at Charlotte (ESPN2)
11:00 a.m. – NASCAR Now (ESPN2)
11:30 a.m. – Sprint Cup Practice At Charlotte (SPEED)
12:30 p.m. – Sprint Cup Final Practice (SPEED)
2:00 p.m. – Nationwide Countdown (ABC)
2:30 p.m. – Nationwide “Top Gear 300” at Charlotte (ABC)

Sunday, May 29
3:30 p.m. – NASCAR RaceDay (SPEED)
5:30 p.m. – Sprint Cup Pre-Race Show (Fox)
5:30 p.m. – SPEED Center (SPEED)
6:00 p.m. – Sprint Cup “Cola-Cola 600” at Charlotte (Fox)
 
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