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Race Capsule

What: Race 16 of 34 on Nationwide circuit
Where: Road America, Elkhart Lake, WI
When: June 25, 2011 ESPN 5:46 pm EDT
Laps: 50
Track Length: 4.048 miles
Race Length: 202.00 miles


Road America


Records
Date Series Driver Speed
6/19/10 Nationwide Race Carl Edwards 69.00
6/19/10 Nationwide Qualifying Carl Edwards 108.076
5/15/05 Camping World Truck Race Bobby Hamilton 66.00
5/15/05 Camping World Truck Qualifying Ron Hornaday Jr. 110.585


Nationwide Series
Upcoming Race Jun 25
Bucyrus 200

Track Facts

Location: Elkhart Lake, WI
Banking/Turns: 14-turn
Distance: 4.05 miles
Shape: 14-turn

Nationwide
Date Race Name Pole Winner Race Winner Make Purse
6/19/10 Bucyrus 200 Carl Edwards Carl Edwards Ford $1,110,987
 

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NASCAR Preview
Toyota/Save Mart 350




Infineon Raceway



Race Capsule
What: Race 16 of 36 on Sprint Cup circuit
Where: Infineon Raceway, Sonoma, CA
When: June 26, 2011 TNT 3:19 pm EDT
Laps: 110
Track Length: 1.99 miles
Race Length: 219.00 miles


Records
Date Series Driver Speed
6/7/92 Sprint Cup Race Ernie Irvan 81.00
6/25/00 Sprint Cup Qualifying Rusty Wallace 99.309

Sprint Cup Series
Upcoming Race Jun 26
Toyota/Save Mart 350

Track Facts
Infineon Raceway


Location: Sonoma, CA
Banking/Turns: 10-turn
Distance: 1.99 miles
Shape: 10-turn

Most Cup Wins (since 1975)

Jeff Gordon: 5


Sprint Cup
Date Race Name Pole Winner Race Winner Make Purse
6/20/10 Toyota/Save Mart 350 Kasey Kahne Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet $5,520,395
6/21/09 Toyota/Save Mart 350 Brian Vickers Kasey Kahne Dodge $5,635,918
6/22/08 Toyota/Save Mart 350 Kasey Kahne Kyle Busch Toyota $5,588,135
6/24/07 Toyota/Save Mart 350 Jamie McMurray Juan Pablo Montoya Dodge $5,477,835
 

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Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes - NSCS Race Advance - Infineon Raceway
June 21, 2011 , SONOMA, Calif. - For Immediate Release
Dodge Motorsports Notes Quotes
NSCS Race Advance
Sav Mart 350
Infineon Raceway
Sunday, June 26, 2011


DODGE NEWS AND NOTES

· Kurt Busch is the only Sprint Cup Series driver who has been in the top-10 in the driver point standings all season.

· A Dodge has started from the pole in four consecutive Sprint Cup races - Brad Keselowski (Charlotte) and Kurt Busch (Kansas, Pocono and Michigan).

· Robby Gordon leads all current Dodge drivers in laps led at Infineon with 158 (fifth most of all active Cup drivers).


DODGE AT INFINEON RACEWAY

· Dodge Motorsports has two wins at Infineon Raceway (Juan Pablo Montoya (2007) and Kasey Kahne (2009).

· Dodge’s Kurt Busch started from the pole at Infineon Raceway in 2006. He led 29 of 110 laps en route to a fifth-place finish.

· Dodge has earned two poles at Infineon Raceway (Busch – 2006 and Kahne – 2008).

· Dodge’s Robby Gordon has a win, three top-fives and four top-10s at the 1.99-mile road course.

THE DODGE BOYS


· Dodge has 208 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories.

· Dodge’s most recent win came at Kansas Speedway. Brad Keselowski led nine of 267 laps en route to his victory in the STP 400. The victory was the first for Dodge in 2011.

· Dodge teams have posted 48 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).

· Dodge’s Kurt Busch earned victories at the season opening Bud Shootout and Gatorade Duel at Daytona Int’l Speedway.

· Dodge claimed two Sprint Cup victories in 2010.

DID YOU KNOW

· Drivers completing all 110 laps on the 1.99-mile road course will have made 1,100 turns when the checkered flag falls at Infineon Raceway.

· Dodge has won two of the last four Sprint Cup races at Infineon.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

· Last year’s Sprint Cup race at Infineon produced an event record 12 lead changes.

· Eight of the 22 races at Infineon have been won from the front row. Only two have been won from a starting position outside the top 20.

· Kurt Busch is one of seven active Cup drivers to have led more than 50 laps at Infineon.

· The track was changed to its current 1.99-mile configuration in 2002.

FROM THE ENGINEER
"As we travel to the first road course race of the year, teams have to instantly change gears to, well, thinking about changing gears for one thing. A road course means lots of slow parts of the track as well as lots of fast parts. More than a dozen transmission gear changes every lap is the norm. That will put a tremendous amount of strain on all the driveline parts, not just the transmission. Teams have to be ever mindful of the durability of these key components. The right driveline parts will help provide speed, but the failure of any one of them will bring a quick end to your day."
Howard Comstock, Dodge Motorsports Engineering

2011 SPRINT CUP SERIES SEASON BEST

· Kurt Busch Start: Pole – Kansas, Pocono, Michigan
Finish: 2nd – Pocono

· Brad Keselowski Start: Pole – Charlotte
Finish: Win – Kansas

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

INFINEON RACEWAY BEST

· Kurt Busch Start: Pole – 2006
Finish: Third – 2005

· Brad Keselowski Start: 36th – 2010
Finish: 35th – 2010

· Robby Gordon Start: 2nd – 2003, 2007
Finish; Win – 2003

ODDS AND ENDS

· Dodge’s Kurt Busch posted three consecutive top 10s in his No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger (Charlotte 4th, Kansas 9th and Pocono 2nd) before finishing 11th at Michigan. The second at Pocono is a season best.

· Brad Keselowski is one of three drivers outside the top-12 in the driver point standings with a win this season.

· The last driver to win three consecutive poles was former Penske Racing driver Ryan Newman (2007).

· There were seven cautions for 14 laps in last year’s race at Infineon. The record is nine (1990).

ON BEING SUCCESSFUL AT INFINEON:
“Patience is certainly a huge part of it, but I think it goes back to what I said. You need to come there fully prepared and be competitive from the time you unload. Qualifying up front is really important; not only because you want to start in front of the other competitors, but it also allows you to get the premium pitting positions on pit road for the race.”
Kurt Busch, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T

DODGE MOTORSPORTS QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“The two road course races (Infineon and Watkins Glen) could really shake the standings up and determine who makes the Chase. They’re two critical races. Marcos Ambrose and Juan Pablo Montoya are in front of me in points and both could easily win on those road courses, along with AJ Allmendinger. That would complete ruin any shot that I would have unless I win another race. I think, in reality, we just need to focus on our own path and what we can do and it will take care of itself. For us, we just need to run solid races."
Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger R/T

DODGE QUOTES
“I really do feel like we’re closing in on getting that first Cup road course win. They don’t give you anything out there; you have to scratch and claw and earn everything you get. I’ve seen our team continue to make progress and if we continue to get ourselves in the position to win, we’re bound to capitalize on it sooner or later. Hopefully, we can continue that progress at Sonoma (Infineon) on Sunday and finally win us one of these things.”
Kurt Busch, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T

“Really excited to come back home to Sonoma where we’ve had a lot of success. Last year was a great race for our team finishing second. We look forward towards capitalizing on that great run. If everything goes well, from qualifying to pit stops, and even some strategy involved, you could find the SPEED Energy Dodge Charger R/T towards the front. We have GNC as a partner this weekend. They are a great retailer for SPEED Energy ans we hope to put them in victory lane.”
Robby Gordon, No. 7 SPEED Energy Dodge Charger R/T
 

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Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes - NNS Race Advance - Road America
June 21, 2011 , ELKHART LAKE, Wisc. - Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes
NNS Race Advance

BUCYRUS 200 presented by Menards
Road America
Saturday, June 25, 2011


JACQUES VILLENEUVE – No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger R/T

Career Starts: 5

Wins: 0

Top Fives: 2

Top 10s: 3

Poles: 0

Career Highlights:


VILLENEUVE AT ROAD AMERICA

· One of five drivers to lead a lap in last year’s race at the 4.048-mile track

· Highest starting position: Second – 2010

· Highest finishing position: 25th – 2010

· Average starting position: 2.0

· Average finishing position: 25.0

VILLENEUVE ON ROAD COURSE

· All five Nationwide starts have been on a road course: (Montreal (3) and one each at Road America and Watkins Glen

· Best Finish: 3rd – Montreal (2010)

· Has two consecutive top-five finishes at Montreal

· Best Start: 2nd – Montreal (2010), Road America (2010)

· Laps Led: 8

· Led laps in all three starts at Montreal

· Average Start: 4.2

· Average Finish 11:2

VILLENEUVE CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

· 1989 – began racing in Italian Formula Three

· 1993 – moved to Formula Atlantic in the United States

· 1995 – Indy 500 winner

· 1995 – IndyCar Series champion

· 1996 – joined F1’s Williams Renault

· 1997 – won Formula One Driver’s title

· 2007 – first NASCAR Sprint Cup start (two starts)

· 2008 – first Nationwide Series start (one start)


DODGE IN THE NASCAR NATIONWIDE SERIES
· Dodge won its first Nationwide Series championship last year when Penske Racing’s Brad Keselowski claimed the driver’s title.

· Dodge has 34 wins in the Nationwide Series, seven of which came in 2010.

DID YOU KNOW
· Jacques Villeneuve will be making his first Nationwide Series start in a Dodge and with Penske Racing when he takes the controls of the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger at the 14-turn, 4.048-mile road course at Road America. It will be his sixth Nationwide Series start, all on road courses. He will also drive the No. 22 Dodge at Montreal.

· Penske Racing and Dodge are fielding two entries in many Nationwide Series races this season. Sam Hornish Jr. has made six starts in the No. 12 Dodge Challenger from the Penske stable. Indy 500 pole winner Alex Tagliani will take over the reins of the No. 12 at Montreal.

STAT OF THE WEEK
· The No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger has six top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in 15 races this season.

THE NUMBERS
· Dodge finished fourth (Brad Keselowski) and 35th (Justin Allgaier) in the inaugural Nationwide Series race at Road America last season.

FROM THE CREW CHIEF:
“Road America is the longest track on our schedule with long straights and big breaking zones that give one of the best road racers, Jacque Villeneuve, lots of opportunities to get the Discount Tire Dodge out front. We have tested with Jacques a couple of times and had good speeds as a result of the testing. We feel we have a good package to unload with and build from for this circuit. The challenges of having to turn both ways and stop well are something this whole No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge team looks forward to.”
Todd Gordon, crew chief, No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger R/T

DODGE QUOTES:
“Road America is one of my favorite tracks and I'm super excited to be returning there this weekend to race in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. I was fighting for the win in last year’s race so I have some unfinished business at this event, for sure. This will be my first event both in the No. 22 Discount Tire/Ruby Tuesday Dodge Challenger, and with Penske Racing, so I'm really looking forward to getting in the car and seeing what we can achieve together.”
Jacques Villeneuve – No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge R/T
 

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Busch Seeks First Cup Road Course At Infineon



SONOMA, June 21, 2011: Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver Kurt Busch enters this weekend’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway still in quest of his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup road course victory after 20 starts in road course competition to date. Busch says that he feels his Steve Addington-led Penske Racing “Double-Deuce” team is closing in on that elusive victory.

“We’ve definitely had some chances of winning on the road courses in the Cup cars through the years,” said Busch, who is currently tied for sixth in points and is going after his fourth consecutive Coors Light Pole Award this weekend at Sonoma. “We started third and had a strong top-five run going at Sonoma (Infineon) last year before the late-race run-in. We came back and really threatened for the win last August at Watkins Glen. To race with (Juan Pablo) Montoya and (Marcos) Ambrose like we did there was definitely a confidence-builder. Those two guys come from a different world when it comes to road course racing. We got by Ambrose at the end and were closing in on Montoya.

“I really do feel like we’re closing in on getting that first Cup road course win,” said Busch. “They don’t give you anything out there; you have to scratch and claw and earn everything you get. I’ve seen our team continue to make progress and if we continue to get ourselves in the position to win, we’re bound to capitalize on it sooner or later. Hopefully, we can continue that progress at Sonoma (Infineon) on Sunday and finally win us one of these things.”

In Busch’s 20 career road course starts to date, he has four top-five finishes and seven top-10s. He has led laps in seven races and has led a total of 11 times for 123 laps. He has an average start of 10.1 and average finish of 19.0 in those 20 races. He has been running at the finish in 18 of the races and finished on the lead lap 16 times. In his 10 races at Infineon Raceway, Busch has three top-five finishes and three top-10s. He has a 10.5 average start and a 20.0 average finish.

Busch recently participated in a special “Q & A session” regarding this weekend’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. Here is the transcript:

Q: In the past three years at Infineon, there have been three veteran drivers who won their first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series road race – Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne and Jimmie Johnson. Are more drivers preparing harder now than in the past to compete on road courses?

A: “It has gotten to be that there is so much focus on the road course races, that’s for sure. In the decade that I’ve been in the sport, I have witnessed most teams attack the road course races with a full-court press attitude. The teams have special cars for those races, drivers go to the road course driving schools and some of the smaller teams hire road course ‘ringers’ to come in and run those races only. I haven’t won a Cup race on the road courses yet and it’s certainly a goal to add our name to the list of winners. Our Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Team will test at Road Atlanta and at VIR (Virginia International Raceway) in our preparation this season. At the end of the day, the road course races pay the same amount of points and teams are preparing all they possibly can for those races.”

Q: Jeff Gordon won at Infineon five times between 1998 and 2006. The past six years there have been six different winners. How much more competitive and unpredictable has the race become?

A: “Man, I am liking this even more and more hearing stats like that. It sounds like it’s building up to maybe finally being our time to win one of these races. Six different winners? I know that strategy and pit work have really risen to the top in importance. Overall, what I’ve see most of the time is a situation where the strongest teams for a particular road course weekend come in and unload fast. They qualify up front, get the good work in the pits they need and are there battling for the win at the end. We hope to be that team this time around.”

Q: With so many turns and so few easy places to pass at Infineon, the race typically has lots of bumping and contact, similar to a short-track race only with twists. Do you just prepare yourself for that kind of race, along with the probability of some angry drivers?

A: “I’d say that’s a pretty fair assessment. There is a lot of beating and banging. I got crashed by Jimmie Johnson two years ago out there and Jeff Gordon got us last year. As the laps wind down, everybody is scratching and scraping for every spot you can get. This time around, there’s probably no other track where the new points system will weigh on your mind like it will there. When it gets down to those last few laps, you can really look at it as picking up a point for each and every car you can get by and put into your rear-view mirror.”

Q: What do you like most about road-course racing in general and specifically at Infineon? It appears to demand a lot from drivers, physically and mentally.

A: “I get those questions quite often and my immediate response is to joke that I like the opportunity to go somewhere and make some right-hand turns in addition to all the lefts. It usually draws a chuckle, but it really is the truth. As many oval tracks as we race on, it really is a nice change of pace to race on a road course. It is a great challenge that I enjoy – all the shifting gears and braking you have to do. There’s quite a bit of mental demand in keeping cool and focused and trying to anticipate what the guys around you are going to do. With the right and left turns, you do get an upper body workout, too.”

Q: What are the keys to winning at Infineon? How important is patience?

A: “Patience is certainly a huge part of it, but I think it goes back to what I said. You need to come there fully prepared and be competitive from the time you unload. Qualifying up front is really important; not only because you want to start in front of the other competitors, but it also allows you to get the premium pitting positions on pit road for the race. My theory has always been stay focused and stay on the track while you move forward. Get a good rhythm going. Set them up to make your move underneath entering Turn 11 because that is the major passing point on the track. Be smooth over the distance and try to keep on the asphalt with all the fenders on your car.”


 

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Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes - Kurt Busch Open Interview - Infineon
June 24, 2011 , SONOMA, Calif. - Friday, June 24, 2011

Dodge Motorsports PR
Infineon Raceway
Save/Mart 350
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series





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

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THE STRENGTH OF YOUR TEAM RIGHT NOW? “I would give us a B-plus. We’ve run really well, consistent. We just haven’t had those break-through performances with a win. Every area of the team is graded. Whether it’s aerodynamics, motor department, chassis design, pit crew. I’d say that we’re an “A” and a “B” in every category, but we end up with a B-plus overall. There are teams out there that are A-pluses in certain areas and As in others. I know that we can be better. Right now, we have a great shot at making the Chase. We just have to continue to grow as a team and make sure that when we hit the Chase, we’ve got an A-plus grade because you can’t throw away points in the Chase. You have to make sure that you capitalize on every moment. Like last week, we led some laps. I thought that we were a fourth-place car. We drove home 11th. Those seven points in the Chase kill you. Seven points right now aren’t so bad.”

CAN YOU ARTICULATE THE DIFFERENCES IN THIS TRACK?
“Most oval races, you get into that groove of (turns) 1, 2, 3, 4 and you’re working on a general chassis setup that just goes left. Here at a road course, there’s 11 turns that we count. It’s about shifting gears. It’s about going up and down the hills, turning left, turning right. There’s more of a percentage of turning right here than left, so our primary focus is turning right. Just trying to get the car to balance itself on the short run as well as the long run because you’re paid really well when you run well on the long run.”

WHAT MAKES THIS A GREAT RACE ON SUNDAY? “The fact that you get to see cars turning right and left; the whole gist of road racing with stock cars. It’s not the Grand Am series or GT class of cars where they’re spread out. You’ll see guys beating and banging on each other on a road course. You don’t see that all that often.”

WHEN YOU HAVE A BAD RUN AT A TRACK, DOES IT STICK WITH YOU FOR A WHILE? “It just pumps you up even more to know that you were that close and you just need to do one or two things different to seal the deal. Marcos Ambrose will be tough this weekend. We raced hard against him at Watkins Glen last fall and ended up coming out on top. (Juan) Montoya won, we were second and Ambrose was third. We know that we have to race those guys if we want to win the race on Sunday.”

WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER ABOU THE WAY THAT JEFF GORDON RACED HERE LAST YEAR? “It was an off-day for Jeff. He apologized to a handful of guys afterwards and for some reason (he) pinpointed me. I thought that was interesting. He drove straight through our right rear and we finished 32nd. You have your bad days. You have your moments of beating and banging. It’s one of those things where the lines keep getting further and further towards the aggressive side here at Sonoma. You don’t see it so much at Watkins Glen; you don’t see it as much here. Everybody seems to get more and more aggressive late in races.”

WHY ARE WE SEEING MORE AGGRESSIVE RACING HERE? “I’m not sure. We have our cars here that put up a big fight and don’t take the damage as rough as they use to. You can really lean into somebody pretty hard and still maintain your track position.”

CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE DRIVING ABILITY OF YOU YOUR BROTHER? “Kyle does a great job everywhere he goes. Whether it’s the Truck, Nationwide, Cup series, he’s found that success, in the Truck series as a driver and owner. It’s great to watch him put it all together. He’s competitive every week. Whether it’s mile-and-a-half, short track or superspeedway, he can driver at all the race tracks. I like to joke around and say that I taught him too much, he’s absorbed it all and done very well with it.”

WHAT DOES KYLE DO WELL? “Just raw speed. He gets that car as fast as it can be and finding that lap time out on the track.”

IF THERE WAS ONE CORNER THAT YOU COULD TAKE ONE-TENTH OF A SECOND OFF, WHERE WOULD THAT BE? “For racing, I would like Turn 10. That’s the fast right-hander behind the drag tower. If you can get through there quick, that puts you in position for getting into Turn 11.”

WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO WIN ON SUNDAY? “It’s a tough battle. You can’t expect to win. You have to go there and give it your best all through practice. Stick with the race strategy and knowing when to pit. When you’re out there racing, there are certain guys you know to race early in the run. Then there are guys late in the run that you know to race. To win here, it’s a culmination of putting together so many elements because we only do road racing twice a year. You have to be able to adapt. Most importantly, the car has to run its lap times lap after lap after lap. Not missing a gear and staying on track and executing the basics are what it takes to win here.”

WHERE DO YOU LOOK TO PASS ON THIS TRACK? “Looking to pass here is tough. There are opportunities to take advantage of other drivers when they make mistakes. I’d say Turn 7 and 11 are your primary choices. They’re two hard braking zones. A big deceleration rate and you can out brake people in these corners. You have to look to pass anywhere when somebody makes a mistake and take advantage of that.”

HOW IMPORTANT IS QUALIFYING HERE? “I think it’s very important. When you start up front and you’re right in that lead group, you’re out of the trouble, out of those double-file restarts where it seems like cheap shots happen. You’re out there just trying to hang on. If you’re up front and can separate yourself from the rest of the group, then life is easier.”
 

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Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes - Jacques Villeneuve Open Interview - Road America
June 24, 2011 , ELKHART LAKE, Wisc. - Friday, June 24, 2011



ROAD AMERICA
Dodge Motorsports PR
NASCAR Nationwide Series
BUCYRUS 200 presented by Menards
Jacques Villeneuve Open Interview



JACQUES VILLENEUVE (No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger R/T)
“It’s always fun to come back to Road America. Every time I’ve been here, it’s been fun driving, racing. It’s a track that allows you to be a little bit aggressive on the brakes in a racing situation. It’s a long lap, a lot can happen. You feel like you’re going somewhere when you’re driving around. The corners are actually difficult. There are a bunch of different speeds and length of corners. If you look at last year, I think there was a lot of action in the race. So, that was a lot of fun.

“A cable came loose (last year) one lap from the end. That was a little bit frustrating. Until then, we were running second and hopefully we could fight Carl (Edwards, last year’s race winner) on the last lap. That’s part of racing. When you’ve been in it for a few years, you realize there are good days and bad days and sometimes there’s nothing we can do about it.

“Now, coming back this year, it’s more exciting because I’m coming in with the Penske team. I’ve always had a huge amount of respect for the whole organization since my IndyCar days, for Roger and all his crew. To now be a part of the family, even if it’s for one race weekend, is very special. I’m stepping in some good shoes; Brad (Keselowski) normally drives that car and does an amazing job, so that’s good and it’s with his sponsors as well. I’ve very happy about that.

“Also, we’re coming with a new car, a brand new car. So, there are no setups from the past. You start with a blank sheet of paper and hopefully, having a lot of road-course experience should help in setting the car up quickly.”

HOW DID THIS DEAL WITH PENSKE COME TOGETHER; DO YOU THINK YOU’RE RUN HERE LAST YEAR HELPED? “I’m sure running good last year helps. Anytime you run well, it opens the door a little bit. I’ve been working on NASCAR for quite a few years now. It’s slow progress, but it’s always a little progress. You never give up and keep going. Also, I think there’s been some good respect toward one another since the IndyCar days. I raced against Roger’s (Penske) organization in ‘94 and ’95 in IndyCar. All these things helped. And yes, fighting for the win last year and being aggressive, but I think what has helped me is the fact Brad is not racing here.”

YOUR ROAD COURSE EXPERIENCE VERSUS THE BENEFIT OF A DRIVER BEING IN THE SAME CAR WITH THE SAME TEAM 34 TIMES A YEAR; DOES IT ALL EVEN OUT? “It probably does. It’s important to know the people you work with, having the chemistry going helps. We’ve done some testing, so we’ve worked together a little bit. Last year, it was the third year I was running with the same team. I kind of knew the people I was working with. That made it a lot easier. When you get to the race, everybody knows what is required. But now, it’s also a brand new car. You start from scratch, it makes it fun. But for the new rules, there’s stuff that you could do in the past that you can’t do on the cars anymore. You just have to find ways around it. Testing wise, there isn’t a track that is similar to this one. We had a good test at Road Atlanta. We understood the car quite well there. That should help here.”

YOU’RE LOVE AFFAIR WITH THIS TRACK; WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR SECRETS FOR SUCCESS HERE? “It’s been a good track. I won my first and last IndyCar race here. Last year brought down the average a lot. That was annoying. I’ve always enjoyed those kinds of tracks, whatever series – Indy or F1 – these tracks where there’s an element of danger I would say and you have to really work on where the limit is at. If you go beyond it, something not so good will happen, probably end up crashing, in the sand trap or something. I always felt good on those kinds of tracks. The thing is, the laps are normally long and you always have different reference points. Whatever corner you get to, the trees are different, there something that is different. You kind of know right away where you’re at. There are a lot of blind corners. You need to force yourself to have reference points that are not the race track itself. You don’t start braking because you see the corner. You break because you know exactly where you’re at on the track. It could be a little painting on the guardrail, a lot of things like that. It’s like driving on radar basically.”

BRAKE MANAGEMENT IS HUGE; WHAT CAN YOU DO INSIDE THE RACE CAR MAYBE TO MANAGE THE BRAKES AS YOU GO? “The only thing you can do is not brake as hard which means braking earlier. When you’re fighting at the front and you’re running for position, that’s not something that you can really do. I had problems here last year, but all I had to do was pump the brakes all the way down the straight to make sure the pedal was there when I hit the brakes. They were good for two or three laps, then the fronts would start going away and you would end up locking the rear. You would spend two or three laps slowing down a bit, cooling them off and then you’re aggressive again. You can figure it out while you’re driving that suddenly you’ve gone a little too far. If you react quickly enough, then you can go back on them, but if you spend the next five or six laps just hammering them, then you get to the point you just won’t recover.”

HOW MUCH ARE YOU RACING THESE DAYS? “Not as much as I would like too. Right now, I’m just doing Montreal and here. That definitely is not a lot. Every year, it’s a little bit better. I guess before I turn 80, I’ll manage to get a full season in at some point. I’ve been doing some ice racing in France, that was interesting, and a little racing in Australia. I’m trying to get my hands into as many forms of racing as I can. It’s good experience. The goal would be to do a full season in NASCAR.”

IS IT CHALLENGING WHEN YOU’RE NOT IN THE CAR EVERY WEEK? “It is challenging and puts a lot of pressure on. If you do 30 races, you can afford to have a few bad ones. If you do just a couple of races, and they’re road course and you’re a road course specialist and one of them is Montreal, you’re hometown, then you either win or finish in the top three and it’s normal, or it was a lost weekend. A lot weighs on those races, the future. Last year, the good races helped me get a ride at the Glen and at the Brickyard. A lot depends on one or two races. A lot can go wrong that you can’t control.”
 

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NASCAR Qualifying

Status: Field Set

Last Updated: Friday, Jun 24, 2011 8:54 pm, EDT
Toyota/Save Mart 350




Infineon Raceway



Order Driver (No.) Car Qualifying Speed

1 Joey Logano (20) Toyota 93.256
2 Jamie McMurray (1) Chevrolet 93.223
3 Paul Menard (27) Chevrolet 93.176
4 Denny Hamlin (11) Toyota 93.081
5 Ryan Newman (39) Chevrolet 93.062
6 Kasey Kahne (4) Toyota 92.936
7 A J Allmendinger (43) Ford 92.935
8 Marcos Ambrose (9) Ford 92.918
9 Clint Bowyer (33) Chevrolet 92.830
10 Brian Vickers (83) Toyota 92.720
11 Kurt Busch (22) Dodge 92.616
12 Jimmie Johnson (48) Chevrolet 92.561
13 Jeff Gordon (24) Chevrolet 92.553
14 Martin Truex Jr. (56) Toyota 92.545
15 Brad Keselowski (2) Dodge 92.447
16 Mark Martin (5) Chevrolet 92.439
17 Juan Pablo Montoya (42) Chevrolet 92.411
18 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) Chevrolet 92.372
19 Kyle Busch (18) Toyota 92.348
20 Tony Stewart (14) Chevrolet 92.184
21 Bobby Labonte (47) Toyota 92.157
22 Greg Biffle (16) Ford 92.096
23 Carl Edwards (99) Ford 92.076
24 Regan Smith (78) Chevrolet 92.022
25 Jeff Burton (31) Chevrolet 91.986
26 Kevin Harvick (29) Chevrolet 91.818
27 Casey Mears (13) Toyota 91.764
28 Robby Gordon (7) Dodge 91.751
29 David Gilliland (34) Ford 91.689
30 Boris Said (51) Chevrolet 91.603
31 Joe Nemechek (87) Toyota 91.406
32 David Reutimann (00) Toyota 91.388
33 Matt Kenseth (17) Ford 91.315
34 David Ragan (6) Ford 91.255
35 P.J. Jones (177) Dodge 91.223
36 Dave Blaney (36) Chevrolet 91.214
37 Mike Skinner (60) Toyota 90.781
38 David Mayhew (66) Toyota 90.561
39 Terry Labonte (32) Ford 90.504
40 Brian Simo (181) Ford 90.346
41 Andy Lally (71) Ford 90.303
42 Chris Cook (37) Ford 90.285
43 Andy Pilgrim (46) Chevrolet 89.885
44 Tony Ave (38) DNQ 79.851
 

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Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes - NSCS Final Qualifying - Infineon
June 24, 2011 , SONOMA, Calif. - Friday, June 24, 2011

Dodge Motorsports PR
Infineon Raceway
Save/Mart 350
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Final Qualifying



KURT BUSCH (No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T) Qualified 11th
“We were fastest in practice but just couldn’t put down the qualifying lap that we needed. We missed it in turns four and seven and were just slow in (turn) 10. When you add all that up, you just can’t give away that much time on this track. Our Shell/Pennzoil Dodge is really fast in race trim. We’ll work on it tomorrow.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger R/T) Qualified 15th
"A really good Miller Lite Dodge race car. We qualified inside the top 20 and that is huge progress from our effort here last year. I feel like I left something out there. Either way, I know that I have a really fast car for Sunday. We were really good in practice all day in race trim. I'm really optimistic for the race."

ROBBY GORDON (No. 7 SPEED Energy Dodge Charger R/T) Qualified 28th
"I didn't expect that. We were 16th in practice. We made a couple of changes and went the wrong way. We went up on rear springs, down on rear bar and our car was all over the place. We have all practice tomorrow to figure it out. I think tires are going to be really difficult on Sunday. I'm not sure if it's a different tire or what. I'm struggling and I think a lot of other teams are as well. We just can't find bite."

P.J. JONES (No. 77 SPEED Energy Dodge Charger R/T) Qualified 35th
"The excitement for us was getting the car ready before qualifying. We were tight for time getting this SPEED Dodge Energy car prepped for qualifying. I just wanted to make sure that I went out and ran the smoothest lap that I could and not run the car off the course. It worked. Our car was pretty good. We made some huge improvements from the first practice today. For only running six laps in practice we'll take that qualifying lap. I want to thank Dodge and Robby (Gordon) for the opportunity.”
 

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Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes - NNS Practice Quotes - Road America
June 24, 2011 , ELKHART LAKE, Wisc. - Friday, June 24, 2011

Dodge Motorsports PR
ROAD AMERICA
NASCAR Nationwide Series
BUCYRUS 200 presented by Menards
Post-Practice Quotes


JACQUES VILLENEUVE (No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger R/T)
“Practice started well for us today. We were really quick on older tires. As the track rubbered in and we put on new tires, the car didn’t work anymore. We have to figure out why. But at least at the end of the race you’re on old tires and that’s where you need to be aggressive.

“You have to start at the front, so you’re out of trouble on the start. That’s the main thing. We’ve been running in the top three all day. Hopefully, we can carry that on tomorrow.

“The engine is working well. The whole car is working well. We were quick out of the box. I’ve been racing before when the power wasn’t there; that really makes your day difficult. Now, we seem to be doing well down the straight line, that helps.”

TODD GORDON (Crew Chief, No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger R/T)
“I think we made pretty good gains in the first practice. We got off on our adjustment about the third run of the second practice and really started chasing it, but we found it. We really felt we had pretty good speed there the second to last run on old tires. We got a lot of speed. We just have to go back to that baseline. I feel like we’ve got something pretty competitive and Jacques (Villeneuve) is doing a great job with the Discount Tire Dodge.

“Jacques is a talent to work with and a joy to work with. The car has good speed in it. I feel like our balance is pretty good. I look for us to be up front.”

ANDREW RANGER (No. 53 Waste Management Dodge Challenger R/T)
“We missed the first session of practice, but got the car ready for the second session and was P6 (sixth fastest). I’m really happy about that. We had a little problem with the brakes, a little problem with the fuel pump. It’s a brand new car. I was a little bit nervous today about this, but it’s normal. For tomorrow, I’m really excited. The car has a lot of power, a lot of horsepower. I’m really surprised about it. At the end of the straightaway, I was able to catch people.”

ALEX KENNEDY (No. 23 St. Baldrick’s Dodge Challenger R/T)
“We feel really good about the practice today. Our primary goal was to get the car stable. Last year, our car was fast, but didn’t stay fast for the entire run. Our primary goal this year was to keep the car stable and consistent for the entire race and we accomplished that fairly quickly in practice today. We focused on that and not on winning practice. You don’t win anything for winning practice. We had the 19th quickest time, but feel we have a car that is stable and can run consistent laps all race.”
 

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Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes - Keys for Success - Infineon

SONOMA, Calif. , Jun 25, 2011 - Saturday, June 25, 2011

Dodge Motorsports PRInfineon Raceway
Save Mart 350
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series


KEYS FOR SUCCESS: Save Mart 350

SONOMA, Calif. (Saturday, June 25, 2011) – Each race weekend, selected Dodge Motorsports engineers, Penske Racing engineers and crew chiefs, drivers or engine specialists give their insight on the ‘Keys for Success’ for the upcoming race. This week, Travis Geisler, Penske Racing’s Director of Competition, provides the keys for Sunday’s Sprint Cup race.

Track: Infineon Raceway (Race 16 of 36 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series)

Race: Save Mart 350 (110 laps / 350 kilometers, 218.9 miles)

Trivia Question: What is the worst starting position for a Sprint Cup race winner at Infineon? (Answer below)

TRAVIS GEISLER (Director of Competition, Penske Racing)

Be Smooth: “The key to any road course race is to be smooth and a lot of things are required for that to happen. It requires the driver to stay on the asphalt for the entire race. We see drivers that don’t typically have issues, but have issues at this race. Last year, it was Jeff Gordon who had the bullseye on his back. You can’t lose track position by going off the track, losing a lot of spots to the competition.”

Pit Strategy: “Your pit strategy has to be perfect. The way that the cautions fall, if you miss by a lap, it can really kill you. If you’re planning on pitting and a caution comes out the lap before you come to pit road, you’ve just lost whatever advantage you had. You need perfect race strategy at Infineon.”

Good Mechanical: “You need to have really good mechanical parts and pieces this weekend. The transmission, engine, driveline and the brakes need to stay with you the whole event. The wear and tear on these cars at a road course like Infineon is much different than an oval. So much more mechanical equipment comes into play here.”

Take Care of Equipment: “You can have all the best components on your car, but you still need a driver who can take care of the equipment for the entire race. This is one of the most challenging races to win because of how much goes into the entire race equation. We head to Daytona next weekend and we’re not concerned about as many things; here, the checklist is huge. Trying to figure out how to eliminate the mistakes in a lot of areas is really a challenge.”





Trivia Question Answer: 32nd – Juan Pablo Montoya – No. 42 Dodge in 2007.
 

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NASCAR Results

Status: Final

Last Updated: Sunday, Jun 26, 2011 1:17 am, EDT
Bucyrus 200

Road America




Order Driver (No.) Car Pts/Bonus Laps Laps Led Winnings Lap Progress

1 Reed Sorenson (32) Chevrolet 47/4 57 1 $44,093 Chart
2 Ron Fellows (7) Chevrolet 43/1 57 6 $39,268 Chart
3 Jacques Villeneuve (22) Dodge 42/1 57 5 $29,268 Chart
4 Elliott Sadler (2) Chevrolet 40/0 57 0 $27,943 Chart
5 Mike Wallace (01) Chevrolet 40/1 57 2 $26,618 Chart
6 Andrew Ranger (153) Dodge 38/0 57 0 $16,250 Chart
7 Michael Annett (62) Toyota 37/0 57 0 $20,343 Chart
8 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (6) Ford 36/0 57 0 $20,868 Chart
9 Ricky Carmichael (30) Chevrolet 35/0 57 0 $19,343 Chart
10 J.R. Fitzpatrick (167) Ford 34/0 57 0 $13,875 Chart
11 Timmy Hill (15) Ford 33/0 57 0 $19,993 Chart
12 Michael McDowell (18) Toyota 34/2 57 30 $25,218 Chart
13 Josh Wise (39) Ford 31/0 57 0 $19,268 Chart
14 Blake Koch (81) Dodge 30/0 57 0 $12,275 Chart
15 Mike Bliss (19) Chevrolet 29/0 57 0 $19,793 Chart
16 Brian Scott (11) Toyota 29/1 57 5 $18,593 Chart
17 Derrike Cope (28) Chevrolet 27/0 57 0 $12,025 Chart
18 Dennis Setzer (70) Dodge 26/0 57 0 $20,793 Chart
19 Justin Allgaier (31) Chevrolet 26/1 56 4 $19,318 Chart
20 Jason Leffler (38) Chevrolet 24/0 56 0 $18,993 Chart
21 Alex Kennedy (23) Dodge 23/0 56 0 $11,725 Chart
22 Aric Almirola (88) Chevrolet 22/0 56 0 $18,153 Chart
23 Max Papis (33) Chevrolet 21/0 55 0 $19,268 Chart
24 Kevin Conway (87) Toyota 20/0 54 0 $18,058 Chart
25 Tim Schendel (52) Chevrolet 19/0 54 0 $12,345 Chart
26 Steve Wallace (66) Toyota 19/1 52 4 $17,953 Chart
27 Eric McClure (14) Chevrolet 17/0 52 0 $18,318 Chart
28 Kenny Wallace (09) Toyota 16/0 49 0 $17,888 Chart
29 Jennifer Jo Cobb (113) Ford 15/0 49 0 $11,385 Chart
30 Doug Harrington (141) Ford 14/0 45 0 $11,640 Chart
31 Trevor Bayne (16) Ford 13/0 36 0 $17,763 Chart
32 Jeremy Clements (51) Chevrolet 12/0 26 0 $17,718 Chart
33 Billy Johnson (60) Ford 11/0 25 0 $17,683 Chart
34 Jason Bowles (164) Toyota 10/0 16 0 $11,195 Chart
35 Morgan Shepherd (89) Chevrolet 9/0 11 0 $11,175 Chart
36 Carl Long (175) Ford 8/0 6 0 $11,155 Chart
37 Charles Lewandoski (40) Chevrolet 7/0 4 0 $11,135 Chart
38 Jeff Green (44) Chevrolet 6/0 3 0 $11,115 Chart
39 Scott Wimmer (103) Dodge 0/0 3 0 $11,075 Chart
40 Chase Miller (146) Chevrolet 4/0 2 0 $10,975 Chart
41 Tim Andrews (142) Chevrolet 3/0 2 0 $10,930 Chart
42 Brett Rowe (55) Chevrolet 2/0 2 0 $10,895 Chart
 

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Dodge Motorsports, 2011 NNS Bucyrus 200 Post-Race Recaps

Posted By Press Release On June 26, 2011 @ 7:01 am In Nationwide Series




JACQUES VILLENEUVE (No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger R/T) Finished 3rd
“My Discount Tire Dodge was really strong today and the whole Penske crew did an amazing job on pit stops. I got caught up on the restart by a rule (stay in lane until you pass the start-finish line) I should have known. I moved before the start-finish. I won’t do that one again. Then, a little bit aggressive on one of the restarts; the track narrows before turn one and I just ran out of road, put the wheels in the grass, played bowling there, took the two cars out and made a few people unhappy.”

TODD GORDON (Crew Chief, No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger R/T)
“I think we had a pretty good car and a pretty good strategy. Unfortunately, it’s part of being a part-time racer in the Nationwide [3] deal, that pull-over inside the 18 car on the restart got us a drive through and kind of buried us in the field. Jacques (Villeneuve) had to be pretty aggressive to get back through the field. It’s just how these road course races go. At the end, there’s usually a stack of cautions. We definitely have a package we can build off with this Discount Tire Dodge and look forward to Montreal with Jacques.”

ANDREW RANGER (No. 53 Waste Management Dodge Challenger) Finished 6th
“It was an amazing, crazy race. The car was just awesome. We started 21st and ended up sixth. It was a really hard race. We took a really strange strategy, we pit early and we came really close on fuel at the end. We finished sixth; we’re really happy. It’s a brand new car. We’re really proud for the Waste Management Dodge team.

“I was worried after the penalty because I came too fast on pit lane. I don’t know why; they said I had too much speed at the entrance of the pit. I told myself it was a long race, a lot of things can happen. Look what happened, we finished sixth. It’s been an awesome weekend for us.”

POST-RACE INTERVIEW IN THE MEDIA CENTER

JACQUES VILLENEUVE
“It’s always a crazy finish. I did my crazy moment before the last restart which was good; I kept my nose clean on the last one. My Discount Tire Dodge today was really fast. I could brake late and carry a lot of speed into the tight corners. The 18 was quicker on the high speed (corners), so he was tough. He was the main competition today. On the restart, I changed (my) line before the start-finish. I knew I couldn’t overtake anyone, but that one just skipped my mind. That’s part of the learning I guess; when you do two races a year, a few things will skip by you. That cost us dearly. I won’t do that again. At that point, I didn’t think we would get back up. The restarts always went well except on the one where I took a few cars out. We were all bunched up and there was a wall on my right, a car on my left and I was on the bumper of the guy in front of me. I think it was the 11. As soon as the pit wall stopped, I pulled to the right because there was asphalt there, but of course it was the pit exit and it (asphalt) narrows down. When I noticed that, I hit the brakes, but everybody else did as well. I had two wheels on the grass and I didn’t’ feel very proud there with those two wheels on the grass. I knew that something bad would happen and took a few cars out. It made a few people angry which is normal. Luckily for us, I could keep on driving. My car was all bent up, but it could still drive well. Then on the following restart, everybody lost it; at that point, everybody kept going off and we just made a lot of places. I really didn’t expect us to finish third today. All in all, it was a very good result with all that went on. We came here to win, so at the end of the day, third is also a bit disappointing.”

YOU TALKED THE OTHER DAY ABOUT BUILDING A CAREER IN NASCAR [4]; ISN’T THERE IMPORTANCE IN NOT MAKING OTHER DRIVERS ANGRY? “You’re racing. You don’t do it on purpose. Well, sometimes you do it on purpose. When I put two wheels in the grass there, I really didn’t want to be there. That wasn’t the goal. When I pulled out from behind the 11, that’s when I realized the track was suddenly narrowing, but everybody started braking at the same place and I couldn’t get back in line. I just had to hope that he would move out at the last minute, but at that point I had put two wheels in the grass and that was it. Luckily for me, I didn’t go off and the car was still drivable. It was wheel-hopping after that. Everybody decided to go crazy after that. The track got cleaner and cleaner and I could still race hard. I’m sorry for those guys. I didn’t want to make them angry or anything. It wasn’t done on purpose.”

YOU GOT TOGETHER WITH MAX PAPIS; COULD YOU DESCRIBE WHAT HAPPENED? “I ran into the 11 when I put two wheels in the grass and Max was there for the ride. I’m not sure where Max was at that point; I hit the 11 and then I got hit from behind as well. Max must have been there somewhere; I’m not sure where.”

YOU WERE HERE TO WIN, BUT A THIRD PLACE AFTER JUST MISSING OUT ON A WIN LAST YEAR; IS THERE SATISFACTION WITH TODAY’S FINISH? “Ultimately, we had a great race and a good showing. It was a fun race. Obviously, when you come to win, you want to win. The 18 would have been tough to beat today. I don’t know what happened to him. I guess he got caught in one of the restarts, I’m not sure. I think we were the two quick cars on the race track today. But you have to keep your nose clean and cannot make mistakes on restarts and stuff like that. Today I did.”

WOULD WE BE HAVING THIS CONVERSATION IF YOU HADN’T MADE THE MISTAKE ON THE RESTART? “I don’t know. I might have been caught up in something else and been worse than third. You never know what else could have happened, but I think it would have been a closer battle. When you’re at the front, it’s easier to stay out of trouble. There’s less cars, there’s less happening. You see where you are on the track on the restart. Starting on the front, it was easy to stay out of trouble.”

CAN YOU RECALL A RACE WITH A SUCH STRANGE ENDING? “Almost every Nationwide race I’ve been in on a road course has been like that. The Glen was OK last year. All the Montreal races I’ve done so far have been crazy. The race here last year was kind of chaotic as well. I think Nationwide racing on a road course is exciting. The cars are fun to drive and the fans like it. It’s too bad there are only three races.”

- Darnell Communications for Dodge Motorsports, Press Release
 

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NASCAR Results

Status: Final

Last Updated: Sunday, Jun 26, 2011 7:28 pm, EDT
Toyota/Save Mart 350

Infineon Raceway



Order Driver (No.) Car Pts/Bonus Laps Laps Led Winnings Lap Progress

1 Kurt Busch (22) Dodge 48/5 110 76 $293,300 Chart
2 Jeff Gordon (24) Chevrolet 42/0 110 0 $234,486 Chart
3 Carl Edwards (99) Ford 41/0 110 0 $204,791 Chart
4 Clint Bowyer (33) Chevrolet 41/1 110 1 $179,508 Chart
5 Marcos Ambrose (9) Ford 39/0 110 0 $141,066 Chart
6 Joey Logano (20) Toyota 39/1 110 5 $131,250 Chart
7 Jimmie Johnson (48) Chevrolet 37/0 110 0 $148,561 Chart
8 Martin Truex Jr. (56) Toyota 36/0 110 0 $104,325 Chart
9 Kevin Harvick (29) Chevrolet 36/1 110 5 $139,111 Chart
10 Brad Keselowski (2) Dodge 34/0 110 0 $117,758 Chart
11 Kyle Busch (18) Toyota 33/0 110 0 $134,491 Chart
12 David Gilliland (34) Ford 33/1 110 1 $105,333 Chart
13 A J Allmendinger (43) Ford 31/0 110 0 $125,511 Chart
14 Matt Kenseth (17) Ford 30/0 110 0 $123,761 Chart
15 Jamie McMurray (1) Chevrolet 29/0 110 0 $122,464 Chart
16 Regan Smith (78) Chevrolet 29/1 110 5 $110,920 Chart
17 Paul Menard (27) Chevrolet 27/0 110 0 $92,400 Chart
18 Robby Gordon (7) Dodge 26/0 110 0 $97,408 Chart
19 Mark Martin (5) Chevrolet 25/0 110 0 $90,625 Chart
20 Kasey Kahne (4) Toyota 24/0 110 0 $101,658 Chart
21 Jeff Burton (31) Chevrolet 23/0 110 0 $90,525 Chart
22 Juan Pablo Montoya (42) Chevrolet 23/1 110 2 $118,533 Chart
23 Greg Biffle (16) Ford 21/0 110 0 $96,275 Chart
24 David Reutimann (00) Toyota 20/0 110 0 $107,533 Chart
25 Ryan Newman (39) Chevrolet 19/0 110 0 $118,700 Chart
26 Andy Pilgrim (46) Chevrolet 18/0 110 0 $78,475 Chart
27 Chris Cook (37) Ford 17/0 110 0 $78,825 Chart
28 Boris Said (51) Chevrolet 16/0 110 0 $86,797 Chart
29 David Ragan (6) Ford 15/0 110 0 $84,625 Chart
30 Michael McDowell (66) 14/0 110 0 $75,475 Chart
31 Dave Blaney (36) Chevrolet 13/0 110 0 $73,800 Chart
32 Terry Labonte (32) Ford 12/0 110 0 $73,630 Chart
33 Brian Simo (181) Ford 11/0 109 0 $74,470 Chart
34 Casey Mears (13) Toyota 10/0 108 0 $73,405 Chart
35 Andy Lally (71) Ford 9/0 104 0 $82,770 Chart
36 Brian Vickers (83) Toyota 8/0 103 0 $100,374 Chart
37 Denny Hamlin (11) Toyota 8/1 99 12 $121,350 Chart
38 Bobby Labonte (47) Toyota 6/0 91 0 $99,255 Chart
39 Tony Stewart (14) Chevrolet 6/1 88 3 $118,208 Chart
40 Joe Nemechek (87) Toyota 4/0 66 0 $72,625 Chart
41 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) Chevrolet 3/0 45 0 $80,450 Chart
42 Mike Skinner (60) Toyota 2/0 10 0 $72,355 Chart
43 P.J. Jones (177) Dodge 1/0 5 0 $72,724 Chart
 

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2011 Sprint Cup Standings Behind

After Today's Race

1. Carl Edwards (99) -
2. Kevin Harvick (29) -25
3. Jimmie Johnson (48) -33
4. Kurt Busch (22) -34
5. Kyle Busch (18) -37
6. Matt Kenseth (17) -52
7. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) -65
8. Clint Bowyer (33) -77
9. Jeff Gordon (24) -93
10. Ryan Newman (39) -98
11. Denny Hamlin (11) -110
12. Tony Stewart (14) -113
 

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Kurt Busch grabs 1st road course victory



ROAD WARRIOR


By JENNA FRYER, AP Auto Racing Writer

SONOMA, Calif. (AP)—Kurt Busch has won the first road course race of his career with a dominating performance at Infineon Raceway.

Busch led a race-high 75 laps and beat Jeff Gordon by almost 4 seconds for his first victory of the season.
Kurt Busch (22) leads Paul Menard through Turn 2 during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race Sunday, June 26, 2011, at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.


It marked a total turnaround for Busch and his Penske Racing team, which struggled mightily last month and made behind-the-scenes personnel changes to adapt.

Carl Edwards finished third Sunday, followed by Clint Bowyer and Marcos Ambrose.

The race featured several on-track flare-ups, most notably Brian Vickers’ payback spin of Tony Stewart. The bump sent Stewart’s car spinning into a stack of tires, and the rear of his Chevrolet came to a rest on top of the stack.
 

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Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes - NSCS Race Final - Infineon
June 26, 2011 , SONOMA, Calif. - Sunday, June 26, 2011

Dodge Motorsports PR
Infineon Raceway
Save Mart 350
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Dodge Post-Race Quotes


KURT BUSCH (No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T) Finished 1ST
“It was an unbelievable setup. Once we got into the groove with this car, it seemed to get better after lap five or six. Our cars have never done that before. I’m real proud of this Dodge team, everybody from Shell and Pennzoil. If that doesn’t inspire you to go get a SRT8 Dodge Charger, I don’t know what will. That was an awesome handling Dodge. I’m so proud of these guys for really stepping up after what we’ve been through. Man, we’ve been on a high these last few weeks.”

SOME DIDN’T THINK YOU COULD DO IT WITH A TWO-STOP STRATEGY? “We just had to conserve our rear tires. That was the main thought. Once we had enough fuel to make it, I started to pick up my pace. I didn’t want guys to think they had a shot at us and I was able to stretch it out.”

“It was an unbelievable day. The one thing I have been pushing hard for all year is when we win with this Shell/Pennzoil Dodge, 22-cents-a-gallon off for everybody that has the Shell Saver Card on Wednesday. So you’ve got to get a Shell Saver Card by Wednesday and save 22-cents a gallon. That’s awesome. So thank you Dodge, Sprint, Coca-Cola, you guys have been great, AAA, Lenox, Discount Tires, Snap-On Tools, a whole group of guys that help us out.”

IT WAS A TOTAL TEAM EFFORT TODAY. “This was an awesome Dodge Charger. My guys really stepped it up. Thanks to my crew, the guys at the shop building the cars and the guys testing for us. We logged a lot of miles in testing. It feels great to bring it home and put our Dodge on top."

YOU GOT THE ROAD COURSE WIN TODAY; CAN YOU GET THAT RESTRICTOR-PLATE WIN AT DAYTONA NEXT WEEK? “That’s been big on my list over the years. I really want to get one of those plate wins. We had a good Speedweeks at Daytona, now I want to go there and get the big July 4th win. Thanks to the fans, this was an awesome ride today. That backward lap brought tears to me; I was all choked up because that’s something cool that deserves to be done.”

HOW IMPORTANT IS THE WIN? “It’s awesome to have that insurance package. We got a win, but we still need to run hard and we've been doing that of late with our fast Penske Dodge."

BUSCH: CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR DOMINANT WIN TODAY? “It was one of those unbelievable days where having a game plan going in – we weren’t questioning it – and it was just old school on how we were going to make it on two stops. With the pace dropping off like we saw in practice, it was going to take one of those perfect efforts to make sure that we maintained out lap time throughout the run to be able to make it on the stops and not be worry about tires as well as the fuel strategy side of it. It was great calculations by the guys. Saving fuel is one thing, but having Shell on the hood is another. When you have those good omens, it’s great to put together a solid effort in the pits, in the strategy department and out on the race track as well. The car drove itself and I have all my guys to thank. Anybody who watched the race today, hopefully they’re inspired by what they saw out of a Dodge Charger to go to the showroom floor and check their SR/T 8 models.”

BUSCH: DID YOU GUYS HAVE A PIT STRATEGY NUMBER OR DID IT JUST PLAY OUT IN THE EARLY PART OF THE RACE? “We had a goal and our fuel strategy from practice gave us the calculations we needed; it showed that we could make it on two stops. A lot of guys said that they couldn’t make it on two stops, so we knew that there were going to be teams pitting on about lap 10, lap 15 to get those fresher tires. So my thought inside the car was to continue to push this car hard and run a lap time that won’t allow those guys with fresh tires to chop off and be able to catch us. It was just one of those feeling. The crew was helping me, I was helping them and the race played out perfectly for us.”

BUSCH: WERE THE REASONS YOU SAID ON FRIDAY ON WHAT YOU NEEDED TO WIN THE SAME TODAY? “You going to give me a hint on what I said? (laughs). It’s a combination of having the right strategy of course and having that forward drive coming off the corner. I think, usually, my thought process is to protect the race car, not get into those big fender rubs or not get into the side of peoples doors and get damage. Ultimately, you have to protect the race car and have that speed and of course, have the right strategy. My crew gave me that today.”

BUSCH: AFTER LAST YEAR’S FINISH AND JEFF GORDON NOT APOLOGIZING, IS WINNING THE BEST REVENGE? “Yeah, and to see that he finished second. It was a definite boost at the end of the end day to see him come home second and to come out on top. To win a road course race and to beat him, he’s one of the best and he always will be. To get a road course win, it’s a big check mark off my list. It’s something that I’ve been working hard at over the years. Just like with the restrictor plates, I’ve struggled to win and close out one of those. It’s just really neat to bring home that “W” and most of all, to have that insurance package now. We have that win heading toward the Chase. And now, we bumped up to fourth in points, but again, it’s a great day for our sponsors. For Shell and Pennzoil and for Dodge, it was a great day. The cool thing is that if you have a Shell Saver Card, you can save 22-cents-a-gallon on gas on Wednesday. So everyone has to go fill their tanks up on Wednesday at the Shell station.”

BUSCH: WHAT WAS THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR CAR TODAY? “I think the best thing about the car was just that it would allow me to do everything at an “A” level. There are times when you can be A-plus on forward drive-off or gear ratios for saving mileage, and then you would have to sacrifice on overall speed. And then you have the turns – turn right or turn left. My car gave me the ability in all areas to do that very well.”

STEVE ADDINGTON (crew chief, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T) CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR STRATEGY TODAY? “We stuck to it. We had a game plan and Kurt said that he was going to get a couple positions there at the start. To gain a couple of positions, I was thinking, alright, we’re starting 11th and we’ll get to seventh, eighth. We drove by them and took the lead. That made it easier on me and my guys to make the decision to go to our lap. We felt like we had the speed in the car to go to our lap and it didn’t matter what anyone else was doing. We were paying attention to what was going on, but we didn’t vary from what we had planned, That has worked out the best for me at road course races – hit those laps that we had planned.”

BUSCH: YOU GAVE YOUR TEAM A GRADE OF B-PLUS ON FRIDAY; WHAT WOULD YOU GRADE YOUR TEAM AFTER TODAY’S PEFORMANCE? “We’ve been on a great run these last few weeks. To bring it on home and get a “W”, yeah, there’s that insurance with the win. We bumped up in points. It’s a matter of just continuing each week to get better. This is a stretch of our season where we hit a road course, a superspeedway, a mile-and-a-half; we’re all over the map. And then, we go to a flat, one-mile track at New Hampshire, which is part of the Chase. So these next few weeks, you have to show your versatility if you want to be a front-runner toward the Chase.”

BUSCH: DID YOU NOTICE ANY OF THE CHAOS AROUND YOU? WHAT DID YOU THINK OF TONY STEWART’S INCIDENT? “It’s funny. I only get to see out my front windshield and that’s the only view that I get as a racer. You get to see replays every now and a then with the Sprint Vision, but I didn’t get to see much of what was going on. I’ve been a part of that chaos in the back over the years. I’ve been hit by guys running fourth or fifth and it gives you a flat tire and you end up coming home 32nd. To have a car like we did today, I had to protect it and I had to bring it on home for a good point’s day. I wanted to get that revenge of a win over those guys. To beat Jeff Gordon on a day like today, it’s that much sweeter.”

BUSCH: YOU TOOK BRAD (KESELOWSKI) AROUND THE TRACK ON FRIDAY. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE LEVEL OF TEAMMWORK THAT YOU HAVE WITH THE 2 TEAM? “It’s a good feeling to know that the two teams are working together as well as they ever have, knowing that Brad is definitely maturing. Seeing him bust off a top 10 at a road course is great. He went around the race track and I pointed out some of the apex points, exit points, shifting points and he absorbed it like a sponge. And that’s what it takes as a veteran of the team, to help the kid that’s coming up through. To have his information help us is exactly what has helped both teams get stronger.”

ADDINGTON: “Paul (Wolfe, crew chief, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger R/T) has got great ideas. We sit down in each other's offices for long periods of time and talk about the direction we need to go in. We go to lunch every single day of the week except maybe one and we talk about what direction we need to work in, what we need to work on, to make it better. You have to push for stuff. You go in there with a list that's this long; you have to pick out the major hitters to what we need to go fast right now. That's what we've done. It's great to have a guy over there that is a racer and wants to make our race cars better along with me. That's been the big key, we push for things that we need to go fast right now.”

BUSCH: CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE MORE ABOUT RETRIBUTION AND HOW NASCAR HAS TOLD DRIVER TO HANDLE IT? “Yeah, I mean, it's great that you don't have to look over your shoulder and have NASCAR come down on you with a big fine or a penalty when you want to rough it up on the track. This sport was based off of guys roughing each other up. That's that good old short‑track racing that we see, the good old door-slamming, bumper-to-bumper racing. It’s the heritage of our sport. Times had gotten interesting in the '90s and 2000s on driver etiquette, what you had to do to race. I'm an old-school kind of guy. I laugh and joke with my friends saying, I should have grew up in the '80s; I would have been a much better guy, because I'm not politically correct.”

BUSCH: CAN YOU TALK ABOUT RACING HERE IN THE SOUTHWEST SERIES AND WHAT THIS RACE WIN MEANS TO YOU? “Thank you for asking me that question. I love the grass‑roots racing, and the way that Infineon has supported that. Back in the days when I ran the Southwest Tour race, that is the Saturday support race, teams and crew chiefs and driver/owners are watching to see what's going on out on the track, who is passing where. I raced here '98, placed third, and won it in '99. I always knew I could win on a road course. It took me a few years to get it together on the Cup side. Even in 2002, I might have had a top‑five finish when I was with Roush Racing. I've always loved road racing. I've just struggled to put it together at the end of the race, whether it's run‑ins with other drivers or running out of fuel. But I've even had the chance to stand on the podium at Daytona during the Grand American Rolex Series 24‑Hour race. I love road racing. It's fun. I've done drag racing. I definitely want to stick with the NASCAR side of it as long as I can.”

BUSCH: WHAT IS YOUR RECOLLECTION OF LAST YEARS INCIDENT WITH THE 24 CAR? “My recollection was a flat right rear tire. I have an in‑car camera from somebody else that proves he drove straight through us. That's last year. We got him back at Martinsville in October. It wasn't my normal style to pay somebody back like that. I just usually race somebody a lot harder when they step over the line. He and I have always had a great relationship where we're genuine racers with each other. I respect him. He's third on our all‑time (win) list. He's a four‑time champion. I'm not going to get sideways with a guy like that, but I'm going to let him know he can't walk all over me.”

BUSCH: CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT IT’S LIKE TO CROSS THE FINISH LINE AS THE WINNNER OF A NASCAR RACE? “It's a great sense of satisfaction. All the hard work from the guys back at the race shop is where it starts. The times that we've tested; the execution here at the race track this weekend. You see it all come together. You know when you have a shot at victory, you have to block those moments out and get that car to the victory line. To get the checkered flag, do some doughnuts, to drive in reverse around this road course; I got choked up. It was a great feeling to know that I've won on a road course.”

BUSCH: WERE YOU SURPRISED THAT JEFF GORDON CAME TO CONGRATULATE YOU IN VICTOY LANE? “Yeah, it was nice for Jeff to come up to Victory Lane. It's nice and convenient from pit road to walk by and say hi. It was just one of those moments where it's like, hey, we do respect each other. To have a dominant car, he knew it would be tough for him to catch us today. And to have that good of a car, that's where you feed off the crew. Hey, I'm going to go out there early, I told Steve, and try to gain some positions. We were still unsure if we were going to make it on a two‑stop strategy. But with the lap times that we could run, we could maintain pace above those guys doing the short pit. We've seen that a lot this year. Steve can jump in and say some things about it. Guys are short pitting and gaining a lot of track position.”

ADDINGTON: “That was the key. When he got the lead from the 11 car, we set the pace and I was watching the car on TV, we weren't jumping curbs and stuff like that. We're not absolutely pushing the car to the limit, that’s what I was thinking to myself. I just felt, we'll do our thing. These guys are pitting. It makes you nervous. You're stomach gets all knotted up. You feel like you're getting behind. I felt like the car was good enough if we did get caught behind after what he did at the beginning of the race, as smooth as he drove that car all day long, we could get it back if we gave up anything.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger R/T) Finished 10th
“We brought home a 10th. We had a really good Miller Lite Dodge this whole week. I'm really proud of my guys. To finish 10th on a road course is nothing to be disappointed about. I thought for a minute there we were going to get a top five; we just fell off a little bit at the end. I got caught up with all the traffic but still came out of here with a top 10. It's something I'm very proud of."

WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE 42? “I don’t take any pride in all that stuff, but at some point you have to run your own deal. It was pretty obvious that it was eat or be eaten and I wasn't going to be eaten."

ROBBY GORDON (No. 7 SPEED Energy Dodge Charger R/T) Finished 18th
"I just got wrecked by (Joey) Logano. It is what it is. We were on track for exactly what we wanted to do. There was a big difference in tires and that was disappointing. They brought two date codes and we got the wrong one for qualifying. We had a strong run. We lost track position, fought back, and then lost when the 20 punted us."
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Brad Keselowski Interview: Switching Teams Was Like Losing An Entire Year



By Jeff Gluck - Motorsports Editor



Jun 29, 2011 - Our series of weekly NASCAR driver interviews continues this week with Brad Keselowski, who drives for Penske Racing in both the Sprint Cup Series and the Nationwide Series, where he won last year's championship. We spoke with Keselowski at Sonoma, where he finished 10th.

SBN: Who is the most underrated driver in NASCAR?

Penske Racing crewman standing nearby: Him.

BK: Oh, look at that. He's got a bonus and he doesn't even know it yet. Hmm...underrated. Is it wrong that I've read your posts before?

SBN: Nah. Some of the drivers' PR reps ask for the questions beforehand so they can prepare, so you're good.

BK: Well, because (someone) answered Matt Kenseth and I have to agree. It was one of those where I read it and I thought, 'You know what? He's right.'

He's won a Cup championship, he's won a Daytona 500, he's won a fair amount of races. Done some cool stuff. He doesn't really have the outgoing (fan base) like how Boris Said has the 'Said Heads.' I think he's the most under-hyped driver in NASCAR.

SBN: What's the one race that bugs you the most because you didn't win it but feel like you should have?

BK: Man, the mood I'm in right now, I really don't have an answer. Because I'm looking forward, and I find when you let that stuff eat at you, it kills your ability to move forward. So I honestly cannot answer with any race. I don't even have them in my memory, I really don't.

I could look at last week (at Michigan) and say, 'Ah, I messed up a little bit here or a little bit there,' but I can't say it was a race I was going to win. And I really don't lose any sleep over races I feel like I should have won.

I know there's been a few – I'd say a lot more on the Nationwide side – but I don't keep them in my memory bank, because I feel like it's bad for me.

SBN: How fast do they go out of your memory?

BK: It takes about a week, I'd say. Yeah.

SBN: If you could form your own four-car Sprint Cup Series team – you and three other guys – who would you want on your team? And you can't pick Kurt Busch or anyone you're currently affiliated with.

BK: I don't see how you could look at Hendrick and not pick their drivers. Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) is going to bring money, popularity and attention – all those things your team needs to thrive. Jimmie (Johnson), because he's going to bring the drive, determination and focus.

This is drivers only, not crew people?

SBN: Well, this is just a fantasy question, so you can include their crews if you want.

BK: I would pick select people to run it as well. I'd definitely take Chad Knaus with Jimmie. The question is, who would be the third driver?

I'd pick Joey (Logano). I get along with him, for one. And I know that he's still growing and developing – just like me – so I think that the two of us could feed off of each other.

I'd pick crew chiefs, too. I'd keep my crew chief, Paul Wolfe. Then I'd take Brian Pattie (from Earnhardt Ganassi Racing) and put him with Joey. I'd stick with Stevie (Letarte) for Dale.

So I'd have all the personalities covered. I'd have a guy who is currently successful – Jimmie; I'd have a guy who runs good, brings money and sponsorship – Dale; and then have a younger guy I could feed off.

That would be the perfect scenario if I couldn't have Kurt. And that's the rules, right?

SBN: That's the rule.

BK: OK.

SBN: What driver did you most want to model yourself after when you were growing up?

BK: Well, there wasn't one driver who I wanted to be just like. I liked Kyle Petty – I was a huge Kyle Petty fan. He had the whole cool-looking paint scheme – which fed into it – and he had the long hair and somewhat of a rebel attitude. I thought that was cool.

As far as the rest? There's some stuff off of Dale (Jr.) because he guided my career – I took some stuff from him, as far as fan interaction and so forth. And certainly how to drive a restrictor-plate track.

Definitely took some stuff from Jeff (Gordon) and Jimmie. Took some small driving things from Jeff, some professionalism things from both of them. Took some different skills from Mark (Martin).

From a passion standpoint, I took some things from Dale Sr. What I liked about him – and I think it shows up in me sometimes – is the idea that nothing is going to stop me. No matter what it is, I'm going to dig through it and I'm not going to take it. That doesn't mean I am him or ever want to pretend to be him, but that's certainly something I took from his persona.

I haven't really given you one driver and said, 'I want to be like that guy.' But there isn't one guy.

And let's be honest: There are no perfect people out there. One of the biggest pet peeves in my life is people who pretend to be perfect. Because I just don't believe it's possible. And usually it's the people who pretend to be perfect who always have the big holes, big fallacies. So I don't pretend by any means that I'm perfect or anyone I look up to is perfect, but I think I take something from a lot of different people.

SBN: So does Kyle Petty know that you were a fan of his?

BK: I think so. I'm not sure. I've never talked to him about it.

SBN: It seems like everyone tries to make a quick escape from the track to the airport after the races, so ––

BK: I don't.

SBN: You don't?

BK: Nope. I have a strict policy that I don't do that. I come to the racetrack to race, and if I'm worried about going home and how I'm getting out of here, then I'm not worried about doing my job.

I'm here to race. There are people busting their asses for me to do all this, and to make their living, and I'm going to reward them back by spending hours figuring out an exit strategy to leave the track 10 minutes early? That's absolute bullshit, and it's unfair to every guy who puts in an extra hour of work on my car. So I don't do that.

SBN: So do you get caught in traffic a lot then?

BK: No, I usually go back to my motorhome. I rewind the race in my head, find peace with it, figure out what I could do better. By the time that's all said and done, it's so late that there's really no traffic to speak of.

SBN: Who is somebody famous you'd like to meet but haven't met yet?

BK: See, that's a tough question, because there's some natural divides there: You've got cool people – living or not – and really hot chicks.

SBN: Well, just give us one from each category then.

BK: That's fair. If I had to pick one non-living cool person, I'd pick Abraham Lincoln. That's pretty easy. Living cool person? I'll kind of bounce around on this one. It's hard for me to pick someone who is an entertainer, because I already have that in my life. So I'd probably just say the President. And I don't pick one – like Obama or Bush – but just whoever is the President at that time.

SBN: What do you mean that you already 'have that in your life' when it comes to entertainers? Because you're in an entertainment field?

BK: Yeah, exactly. Have you ever seen the movie Comedian? It's one of my favorites. Jerry Seinfeld tells a story in there, and I'm going to tell the story real quick.

Seinfeld tells a story about this musician who is walking down the street, and it's wintertime. It's cold, snow on the ground. Empty, barren streets. And he's walking with his instrument on his back, clothes are tattered, dirty – the quintessential no-money entertainer. For every big rock star, there are 100 of these guys, you know?

So this guy is walking down the road to go find his next job somewhere. It's Christmas Day, and eventually he gets cold and hungry. He says, 'You know what? I'm going to stop. Maybe somebody will give me something to eat.' He walks by this house and up the driveway, steps in a water puddle on the way. So he's cold, wet, gotta pee, he's hungry.

He goes up to this house and he looks inside the window and there's a family gathered around the Christmas tree. A father, a mother, their two kids. They're opening presents with smiles as big as can be: 'Hee hee! It's Christmas day!'

And he stops and goes, 'Wow! Sucks to be them!' And he turns around and leaves.

That's an entertainer. That's an entertainer's life. So to me, someone who has that same life (as I have) is not really that fascinating. You know?

But if I had to pick in that category, I'd pick Jerry Seinfeld.

SBN: Well, if you did have a life, you could meet a hot chick. So who would be your selection for that category?

BK: Jennifer Love Hewitt. She's kind of getting a little past her prime, I understand that. But I always had this big crush on her when I was younger. I just wanted to meet her once.

Dale Jr. and I were talking about this exact topic once – it was an 'enjoying the sponsor' conversation. This same exact topic came up: 'Who would you want to meet?'

I said, 'Jennifer Love Hewitt,' and he said, 'Oh, I met her!' I really about punched him in the face. That was that moment.

He said, 'Yeah, I had the same crush on her.' I said, 'No fucking way, man! You're kidding, right? What'd you say!? What'd you do!?' He said, 'I didn't say a word to her.'

I'm like, 'What!? You didn't say a word? Nothing?' He said, 'Naw, man. I just won the (Nationwide) championship, I was at the banquet, and people were like, 'Hey, meet this person, meet that person.' It was one of those settings where you see someone, but you don't really meet someone. You just shake their hand and say hi.'

Once he said that, I understood why he didn't say anything to her.

That's kind of one of the worst parts about this deal. I see a lot of people, but I don't really meet a lot of people. Whether that's fans or celebrities.

SBN: That's cool Jennifer Love Hewitt was at at NASCAR banquet though.

BK: Yeah, it was in San Francisco or something. You should ask him about it sometime. Tell him, 'Brad said to ask you about Jennifer Love Hewitt in San Francisco.' He'll probably give you that look, like... (Keselowski does an Earnhardt Jr. impression by cocking his head to the right, squinting, taking off his hat and clawing at his hair). Dude, if your hair itches that bad, shave it! (Laughs hysterically)

SBN: Last year, there were two types of seasons – Jamie McMurray won some huge races but missed the Chase; Jeff Gordon didn't win any races but made the Chase and contended for the title. Which would you rather have?

BK: McMurray.

SBN: You'd rather win the races.

BK: Hell yeah. They were the biggest races of the year. And at some point, this sport comes down to winning. Always has, always should, always will.

SBN: Where does your motivation to win come from? Personal pride? For the team? Why do you want to win so badly?

BK: The motivation, for me, isn't one thing. It's a combination of things. People ask me why I chose racing. I look at Jeff and Jimmie – two really cool dudes, right? I'd say both of them, they would have been the best at whatever they chose to do. If they wanted to be lawyers, they could have been really good lawyers. They could have been really good politicians.

I don't know if I'm necessarily that way. I got into racing because it was the thing that I could wake up in the morning and be excited to do. The excitement comes from trying to find that advantage and trying to fuel the fire and prove to myself why I'm on this planet.

Winning and being a part of that is the ultimate way of justifying that. Otherwise, you're just riding on this big rock, circulating the sun, not really doing anything.

Maybe I could have been a good lawyer. I don't know. I don't think I could have been a good ice skater or whatever.

SBN: Yikes. That wasn't a pretty picture I got just now.

BK: You're thinking figure skater. I was thinking speed skater.

SBN: Oh, OK. Glad you cleared that up.

BK: Yeah, I thought it was an important one to clear up.

Anyway, racing is what makes me get up in the morning and go, 'Fuck yeah!' Trying to work on a piece or find an advantage on something.

That's the deal, man: Finding something that gives you the passion to want to get up out of bed in the morning – and really, really want to exist. Racing has the ability to do that for me. And winning is the ultimate culmination of that feeling.

SBN: How much does your personality differ inside of the car and outside of it?

BK: I don't know. It just kind of depends on what mood I'm in; I'm a pretty moody person. My mood varies a lot, but I don't think my personality is any different inside the car than when I get out of the car.

SBN: If you could switch lives with another athlete – you could take over their whole life – who would you want to be?

BK: Tom Brady. I think that would be a good one. Played for University of Michigan, has Super Bowl rings, dated top models. He's pretty much got the life.

SBN: A lot of people hate him though.

BK: He's never done anything to be hated, other than whatever team he plays for. He's never thrown a ball at a referee or driven 200 mph, coked out of his mind – any of those things people do that should be disrespected.

SBN: Right. But some people think he's a little too perfect.

BK: Is he too perfect? Hell, he's got an illegitimate kid. Which, by the way, if there was a girl to have an illegitimate kid with, I can understand that one. It's like, 'Sorry, supermodel girlfriend! I slipped up with this hot actress who makes millions of dollars. Bad night.' (Laughs) Darn, I hope I make that mistake. Even his mistakes are the perfect mistakes!

SBN: If you could take a year away from NASCAR and come back knowing you had a ride guaranteed – like Brian Vickers, except without the health problems – would you want to do that?

BK: Well, I don't think that's possible to begin with. It's like living in a fairy tale. Vickers got to do that in some way, but look at it now – his team is folding up and going out of business. That's an example of why it's not possible.

But let's say it was perfectly possible, perfectly feasible. I guess it depends on when you ask me. Ask me after I've won a race, then hell no. Ask me after a dry spell, then yeah. I think that answer changes based on who you are and where you're at.

I don't think I would want to, though, for no other reason than the equity you'd lose in your team.

I've said this to Roger (Penske), and I'll say it to you: I feel like I'm just now back to where I was at the end of '09 as a driver. Going through all the team switching processes was like being a college football player who switched schools and lost a whole year.

So I know that in a perfect situation, if I were to skip a year and come back to a team, it means I would lose another year. And I wouldn't want to do that.

SBN: When you retire someday, what do you want your retirement story to say about you? What do you want your legacy in the sport to be?

BK: I don't know. I don't really get into that stuff. Retirement just seems like such a tragedy to me. Maybe that's youth. I don't really get into those things.

Let's say I was fortunate someday to win enough races, to win championships and be eligible to be in the Hall of Fame. Where I'm at right now in my life, I wouldn't appreciate it. So I don't know how I'd feel 30 years from now.

SBN: Sounds like you don't really enjoy looking back.

BK: No. I really don't. I don't take any joy in looking back. I don't keep any trophies in my house. The only trophy I have in my house right now – aside from my Iowa trophy, which is solely because it has a clock on it – is my (Nationwide Series) Most Popular Driver trophy. I just don't like looking back; I don't take any pleasure in it.

SBN: Let's say you're going to win the championship. Would you rather have it clinched after Phoenix, or would you rather win it on Turn 4 at Homestead on the last lap of the season?

BK: I'd want to have that thing clinched three weeks ahead of time. Every racetrack we'd go to, we'd have a party. And it'd be awesome. We'd stay out late on Saturday night before the race and go, 'Eh, what's the worst that could happen tomorrow?' We'd have a big celebration in each town.

Screw the drama, man. I can find drama. That ain't hard to find. I could hang out with Tom Brady and maybe one of his girlfriends.



 
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