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Richmond International Raceway

Date Series Driver Speed

9/6/97 Sprint Cup Race Dale Jarrett 109.00
5/15/04 Sprint Cup Qualifying Brian Vickers 129.983
4/29/11 Nationwide Race Denny Hamlin 108.00
5/14/04 Nationwide Qualifying Kyle Busch 129.348
9/4/03 Camping World Truck Race Tony Stewart 91.00
9/8/05 Camping World Truck Qualifying David Starr 126.648

Track Facts
Richmond International Raceway

Location: Richmond, VA
Banking/Turns: Oval
Distance: 0.75 miles
Shape: Oval

Most Cup Wins (since 1975)

Darrell Waltrip: 6
Rusty Wallace: 6

Race Capsule
Richmond International Raceway

Virginia 529 College Savings 250

What: Race 27 of 34 on Nationwide circuit
Where: Richmond International Raceway, Richmond, VA
When: September 9, 2011 7:43 pm EDT ESPN2
Laps: 250
Track Length: 0.75 miles
Race Length: 188.00 miles
Purse: $1,219,615

Date Race Name Pole Winner Race Winner Make Purse

4/29/11 BUBBA burger 250 Carl Edwards Denny Hamlin Toyota $1,030,524
9/10/10 Virginia 529 College Savings 250 Kevin Harvick Kevin Harvick Chevrolet $1,201,859
4/30/10 BUBBA burger 250 Kyle Busch Brad Keselowski Dodge $1,187,017
9/11/09 Virginia 529 College Savings 250 Denny Hamlin Carl Edwards Ford $1,154,651
5/1/09 Lipton Tea 250 Matt Kenseth Kyle Busch Toyota $1,140,516
9/7/08 Emerson Radio 250 Joey Logano Carl Edwards Ford $1,159,182
5/2/08 Lipton Tea 250 Kasey Kahne Denny Hamlin Toyota $1,145,047
9/7/07 Emerson Radio 250 Kyle Busch Kyle Busch Chevrolet $1,123,290
5/4/07 Circuit City 250 Denny Hamlin Clint Bowyer Chevrolet $1,109,432

Race Capsule
Richmond International Raceway

Wonderful Pistachios 400

What: Race 26 of 36 on Sprint Cup circuit
Where: Richmond International Raceway, Richmond, VA
When: September 10, 2011 7:43 pm EDT ABC
Laps: 400
Track Length: 0.75 miles
Race Length: 300.00 miles

Sprint Cup
Date Race Name Pole Winner Race Winner Make Purse

4/30/11 Crown Royal Presents The Matthew & Daniel Hansen 400 Juan Pablo Montoya Kyle Busch Toyota $4,991,887
5/1/10 Crown Royal Presents The Heath Calhoun 400 Kyle Busch Kyle Busch Toyota $5,034,763
9/11/10 Air Guard 400 Carl Edwards Denny Hamlin Toyota $5,052,458
5/2/09 Crown Royal Presents the Russ Friedman 400 Brian Vickers Kyle Busch Toyota $5,176,906
9/12/09 Chevy Rock & Roll 400 Mark Martin Denny Hamlin Toyota $5,196,568
5/3/08 Crown Royal Presents the Dan Lowry 400 Denny Hamlin Clint Bowyer Chevrolet $5,137,427
9/7/08 Chevy Rock & Roll 400 Kyle Busch Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet $5,157,089
5/6/07 Crown Royal Presents the Jim Stewart 400 Jeff Gordon Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet $5,032,994
9/8/07 Chevy Rock & Roll 400 Jimmie Johnson Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet $5,057,510

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Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes – NSCS Race Advance – Richmond
Published on September 7, 2011 by Official Release

Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes

NSCS Race Advance

Wonderful Pistachios 400

Richmond International Raceway

Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011


. Kurt Busch clinched his sixth appearance in the Chase for the Sprint Cup with a fourth-place finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Busch is the 2004 NSCS champion.

. Brad Keselowski clinched a wild card spot in the Chase with a sixth-place finish at Atlanta, his 10th top-10 this season. Keselowski will be making his first career Chase appearance.

. The last time two Penske Racing Dodges qualified for the Chase to the Sprint Cup was in 2005 with Rusty Wallace and Ryan Newman.


. Dodge has 17 Sprint Cup wins at Richmond including three since the manufacturer returned to NASCAR’s premier series in 2001.

. Lee Petty drove a Dodge to victory in the first NASCAR race at Richmond in 1953.

. Dodge winners in addition to Petty include Buck Baker, David Pearson, Cotton Owens, Bobby Allison, Richard Petty, Dave Marcis, Neil Bonnett, Ryan Newman, Jeremy Mayfield and Kasey Kahne.

. Kurt Busch won the fall event at RIR in 2005 before joining Penske Racing.


. Dodge’s Brad Keselowski No. 2 Dodge has an average finish of 3.25 in the last five Sprint Cup Series races. Keselowski has tallied six consecutive top-10 finishes.


. Race 1: Kurt Busch won the Bud Shootout and a Gatorade Duel during Speedweeks.

. Races 12-15: Dodge earned four consecutive poles.

. Race 13: Brad Keselowski won at Kansas; first Dodge win of the season.

. Race 16: Busch dominated at Infineon for first win of the season and first road-course victory of his career.

. Race 21: Keselowski, racing with a broken left ankle, earned his second win of the season at Pocono Raceway.

. Race 23: Keselowski moved up to 12th in Cup driver standings. . Race 24: Keselowski won his third race of the season. Moved up to 11th in points. Current No. 1 wild card driver.

. Race 25: Busch and Keselowski clinched spots in the Chase.

DID YOU KNOW? . Dodge has qualified at least one driver for the Chase for the Sprint Cup for the third consecutive season. . Penske Racing is the only NASCAR Sprint Cup team to lock all their drivers into the Chase. . Dodge’s Kurt Busch is the only Chase driver that has remained inside the top 10 in the driver standings all season. The lowest he’s been in the top 10 in the first 25 races was ninth following Dover.

THE DODGE BOYS . Dodge has 211 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories. . Dodge’s most recent win came at Bristol Motor Speedway. Brad Keselowski led 89 of the 500 laps en route to victory. The victory was the fourth for Dodge in 2011. . Dodge teams have posted 51 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: 1st (Kansas, Pocono & Michigan) Finish: 1st (Infineon) . Brad Keselowski Start: 1st (Charlotte) Finish: 1st (Kansas, Pocono, Bristol) . Robby Gordon Start: 30th (Daytona) Finish: 16th (Daytona)

DODGE MOTORSPORTS QUOTE OF THE WEEK “I’ve lived my whole life wanting to have a shot at a Cup championship and here I am. I’ve got a legitimate shot at it.” Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger R/T

FROM THE ENGINEER “As we approach the last race before the Chase to the NASCAR Sprint Cup begins, and both Penske Dodges are already locked into the playoffs, you would think teams might be able to take a breather. Not so. There’s still plenty of opportunity at Richmond and everyone will be trying hard to get the last bit of advantage they can. A race win pays bonus points and so that would be job one, but if there are some setup ideas that the teams have been reluctant to try during their fight just to get in the Chase, now might be the time to roll them out. The team may not be able to engineer a win this week, but could still benefit greatly in the Chase from some nuggets they could dig up at Richmond.” Howard Comstock, Dodge Motorsports Engineering

DODGE QUOTES “The thing about racing at Richmond is that it seems like the best cars always come out on top. You have to come in there thinking that the yellow flag will prevail like it normally does and we’ll have some restarts at the end of the race. We usually have a period of long green-flag racing in the middle portion of the race, too. With that in mind, we hope to have our Shell-Pennzoil Dodge capable of running solid during that stretch and still be adjustable enough to be able to really get after it in a short sprint to the finish if it comes down to that and it usually does.

“Because we’re locked in, many might look at it as a ‘throwaway race’ because of the buffer we’ve built. We’re looking at it as an additional opportunity to try some things that we probably wouldn’t have otherwise. It’ll be nice to go into Saturday night’s race without having to be really conservative and worried about keeping up with where this driver is running or where that driver is running.” Kurt Busch, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T

“Richmond is such a great track to have as the cutoff for the Chase. What I mean by that is the short track atmosphere, the ability to run two-wide there. You always have a little pit strategy sprinkled in with what to do, when to pit for your final time or even two tires throughout the race. So, it keeps you on your toes. And any track that does that is a track that can bring in somebody that has that string of luck that evening to get them into the Chase.” Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger R/T

“Richmond is a fast short track that has a lot of challenges. It almost drives like a speedway because the corner speed is very high. It takes the right balance of having the car turn in the center without giving up forward drive off the corner. Fuel mileage and pit strategy come in to play at times so you need to make sure you stay on top of that throughout the race. Richmond is a track where a driver can make a big difference and I feel that plays into our hands with Brad behind the wheel.” Paul Wolfe, crew chief, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger

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Dodge ball: Penske Racing puts both teams in Chase


Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch have to feel that they’re often on their own island in the Sprint Cup Series garage.

They’re the only Dodge drivers racing each week. At times this year, each has struggled while the other has gotten on a hot streak.

But they have proven a two-car team with no other cars in the manufacturer’s camp can still perform at a high level.

They have four wins among them and both will compete in the Chase For The Sprint Cup. And they both had strong runs – Busch fourth, Keselowski sixth – Tuesday at Atlanta.

That’s big because Keselowski and Busch will need each other to perform well during the Chase. They don’t share engines programs with anyone else, and they don’t have anyone purchasing cars from them and giving them additional feedback.

It’s pretty much a two-team battle against the rest of the field. Penske was a three-car operation last year but was scaled back to two when only a limited Nationwide schedule could be funded for Sam Hornish Jr. – a move that doesn’t appear to have had a negative impact on Busch and Keselowski.

“Everyone needs to click on all eight cylinders on our team,” Busch said. “Just our Dodge's right now – Keselowski's in [and] we're in. We're a two-team effort for our Dodges and here we are … running with the big boys.

“We're right in this mix.”

If the Chase started today, Chevrolet would have six drivers in the field while Dodge, Ford and Toyota each have two. The Chase field will be set following the completion of Saturday night’s race at Richmond.

“Dodge gives us incredible support and everything that we ask out of them,” Steve Addington, crew chief for Busch, said. “We really appreciate those guys doing all the work behind the scenes and working with our engineering group to give us what we need to go racing.”

Busch has one victory but also won the Budweiser Shootout and Daytona 500 qualifying race. Keselowski has three wins this year after a slow start.

The two also have won in Nationwide as the lone Dodge-supported team.

“Whether it’s engines, whether it’s tires, I feel like we get the adequate support from Dodge and its been great for us at Penske Racing to carry the banner as the lone Dodge team out on the track,” Busch said. “We’re doing very well with multiple race wins on the Nationwide and on the Cup side and it’s just a continued support effort from both sides being so close to each other because we’re the only ones out there. We have to continue pushing hard.”

Keselowski started the season with one top-10 finish in the first 12 races. But he’s had nine in the last 13, including a current stretch of seven in the last eight. Not only that, he has led laps in eight of the last 10 races.

Keselowski said he’s not going to get greedy and count on making up 23 points on 10th-place Tony Stewart this weekend at Richmond to get one of the top-10 spots and the bonus points for his wins.

He’ll accept starting 11th in the Chase knowing he still has a shot at the title.

“You’ve got to make steps,” Keselowski said. “You can’t just expect it all to happen more than once. We’ve made some big steps.”

Making even more steps depends on Busch, and that’s why Keselowski was glad to see Busch finish fourth Tuesday. Busch had one top-10 finish in the previous five races and had a one top-10 in a seven-race stretch earlier in the year.

“It was a huge day for Kurt and his team,” Keselowski said. “We need both teams to run well in the Chase to have a shot at it.”

Busch said he is ready.

“Now it's go time,” Busch said. “We've got Richmond [this weekend] as a buffer, but we've got 10 weeks ahead of us that are the most important 10 weeks of the season."


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Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes – NNS Race Advance – Richmond
Published on September 8, 2011 by Official Release

Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes

NNS Race Advance

Virginia 529 College Savings 250

Richmond International Raceway

Friday, Sept. 9, 2011

BRAD KESELOWSKI: RED HOT AT RICHMOND · Dodge’s Brad Keselowski has posted five consecutive top-five finishes at Richmond International Raceway in Nationwide Series competition entering Friday night’s race. His win at the 2010 spring event was a dominant performance as the Penske Racing driver led 189 of 252 laps. · In 10 career Nationwide Series starts at Richmond, Keselowski has led 294 laps, more laps led than at any other venue on the current Nationwide schedule.

DODGE NEWS AND NOTES · Dodge has one Nationwide Series win at Richmond – Brad Keselowski – 4/30/2010. · Dodge’s last Nationwide Series win came Aug. 13 at Watkins Glen when Keselowski’s teammate Kurt Busch drove the No. 22 Discount Tire/Ruby Tuesday Dodge Challenger to victory. · Keselowski scored a seventh-place finish last weekend at Atlanta in his return to the Nationwide Series after being sidelined four races by a broken left ankle sustained during a testing accident at Road Atlanta.

BRAD KESELOWSKI – No. 22 Ruby Tuesday Dodge Challenger R/T Career Stats (Richmond): Starts: 10 Wins: 1 Top Fives: 5 Top 10s: 5 Poles: 0 Laps Led: 294 Average Start: 15.7 Average Finish: 15.9

Career Highlights: · Keselowski’s last NASCAR Nationwide Series win came at Lucas Oil Raceway (Indy). · He is the reigning NASCAR Nationwide champion. · Earned Penske Racing its first NASCAR champion last season. · In 2010, set career-bests in wins (6), top five’s (26), top 10s (29) and poles (5).

DID YOU KNOW? · Brad Keselowski set a NASCAR record 102 consecutive Nationwide Series races without a DNF (Did Not Finish) that ended at this year’s season-opening race at Daytona Int’l Speedway.


· Brad Keselowski has two wins and four top 10s in his last five NASCAR Nationwide Series starts. The wins came at Kentucky and Lucas Oil Raceway (Indy).

· In 160 career Nationwide starts, Keselowski has 14 wins, 67 top fives, 96 top 10s, and 10 poles.

· Dodge has 37 wins in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

FROM THE CREW CHIEF “Richmond is a track that suits Brad’s aggressive driving style. If your car is working like you want, you can really charge the corners because they are so wide and sweeping. Just like any short track, we’ll make sure we keep forward bite in the car all night. Brad has been impressive at Richmond over the last couple of years, both in the Nationwide Series and in the Cup Series.” Todd Gordon, crew chief, No. 22 Ruby Tuesday Dodge

FROM THE DRIVER “I feel as though I have a good understanding of what I need to run well at Richmond and that makes it easy to communicate that to my crew chief and team. As a result, we’ve been able to put together some good finishes at Richmond. To me, it’s the ultimate short track. There is a reason that most drivers put it right at the top of their list of favorite tracks. It’s night racing, under the lights, which is similar to what most of us grew up doing. You can run side-by-side and rub fenders and do all of the things that the fans want to see. It’s just an exciting race track and I feel like we can put the Ruby Tuesday Dodge in Victory Lane this weekend.”

Brad Keselowski, No. 22 Ruby Tuesday Dodge Challenger RT

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Riding a Wave: Penske Racing’s Keselowski is on Quite a Roll
by Pete Misiak
September 9, 2011 10:30 AM

It must be pretty nice to be Brad Keselowski these days.

The 27-year-old Rochester Hills, Mich., native (left) and current NASCAR sensation seemingly has the motorsports world by the tail pipe. He’s coming off an amazing showing in August, capturing the checkered flag at Pocono on Aug. 7 and at Bristol on Aug. 28.

In between, he finished second at Watkins Glen and third the following week at Michigan International Speedway.

The National Sports Academy has nominated him as August’s male Athlete of the Month.

And, he’s had all that success while recovering from a violent accident that left him with a broken ankle.

But that appears to be the only blip on Keselowski’s radar screen these days.

After battling to a sixth-place finish in the rain-delayed Advocare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway Tuesday, Keselowski secured a spot, along with Penske Racing teammate Kurt Busch, in NASCAR’s second season – “The Chase for the Sprint Cup.”

Keselowski, driving his No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger R/T, only needed a 16th-place finish in Atlanta to secure his first appearance in the NASCAR playoff, and now a long-standing dream is about to come true.

“It’s amazing,” Keselowski said. “I was thinking about it this week. I’ve lived my whole life wanting to have a shot at a Cup championship and here I am. I’ve got a legitimate shot at it.

“I’ve got a team that’s firing on all eight, so to speak, and now a Chase berth here today. It’s a very amazing feeling."

Keselowski, however, has some work to do before he and Busch join the 10 other elite drivers who will qualify for the Chase. On Saturday in Richmond, he will compete in the last “regular season” Sprint Cup race, and the Nationwide Series event tonight.

You see, it turns out Keselowski is quite the success on the Nationwide circuit, too.

He has two wins and four top-10 finishes in his last five Nationwide starts while driving the No. 22 Discount Tire/Ruby Tuesday Dodge Challenger R/T (right). The top finishes came at Kentucky and Lucas Oil Raceway (Indianapolis). And, he’s also the reigning Nationwide champion.

With the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup on the horizon, some drivers might ease up and prepare for the upcoming playoff, but Keselowski sees this weekend as an opportunity too good to pass up. He’s posted five consecutive top-five finishes at Richmond International Raceway in Nationwide Series competition entering tonight’s race. In 10 career Nationwide Series starts at Richmond, Keselowski has led 294 laps, more laps led than at any other venue on the current Nationwide schedule.

“Richmond is a track that suits Brad’s aggressive driving style,” said Keselowski’s crew chief Todd Gordon. “If your car is working like you want, you can really charge the corners because they are so wide and sweeping. Just like any short track, we’ll make sure we keep forward bite in the car all night. Brad has been impressive at Richmond over the last couple of years, both in the Nationwide Series and in the Cup Series.”

And, as Keselowski gives his all this weekend, he’s determined to ride his August hot streak into September, as he eyes his ultimate prize while competing against NASCAR’s finest.

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Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes - Keys To Success - Richmond 2
September 9, 2011 , RICHMOND, Va. - Friday, Sept. 9, 2011

Dodge Motorsports PR
Wonderful Pistachios 400
Richard International Raceway
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

KEYS FOR SUCCESS: Wonderful Pistachios 400

RICHMOND, Va., (Friday, Sept. 9, 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, Howard Comstock, Dodge Motorsports engineering - provides the keys for Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race.

Track: Richmond International Raceway (Race 26 of 36 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series)

Race: Wonderful Pistachios 400 (400 laps / 300 miles)

Trivia Question: What six drivers have represented Dodge in the Chase to the NASCAR Sprint Cup since 2004? (Answer Below)

HOWARD COMSTOCK (Dodge Motorsports)

Brake Easy: “Brake management will be key. Some places you worry about tire management, at Richmond it’s brake management. If you run as hard as you can for 400 laps, you’ll have no brakes at the end of the race. There’s no way that you can win if you use the brakes as hard as you want to use them every lap. Brake rotors will get to 1,000, 1,200, 1,300 hundred degrees at Richmond. If the car isn’t handling well the driver tends to use the brakes to make it turn and that’s a problem because it speeds up the brake wear. That will cause big trouble.”

Track Position: “We all get tired of talking about track position, but it will be as big here as anywhere. It’s not impossible to pass here, but you have to be (that) much better to get by another car. It’s hard to pass on the outside. You have to pass on the bottom and to make that happen, your car must be able to run down low. Drivers will find every way that they can to make track position work for them.”

Fuel Mileage: “This race last year only had three cautions. We don’t think that fuel economy will be a problem, but there is building potential for it to be because of the lack of cautions.”

Trivia Question Answer: Six. Jeremy Mayfield, Rusty Wallace, Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski.

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NASCAR Qualifying
Last Updated: Friday, Sep 9, 2011 6:48 pm, EDT
Wonderful Pistachios 400
Field Set Richmond International Raceway

Order Driver (No.) Car Qualifying Speed

1 David Reutimann (00) Toyota 127.383
2 Jamie McMurray (1) Chevrolet 127.334
3 Jimmie Johnson (48) Chevrolet 127.214
4 Mark Martin (5) Chevrolet 127.083
5 Clint Bowyer (33) Chevrolet 127.011
6 Jeff Burton (31) Chevrolet 126.993
7 Kevin Harvick (29) Chevrolet 126.778
8 Carl Edwards (99) Ford 126.707
9 A J Allmendinger (43) Ford 126.695
10 Juan Pablo Montoya (42) Chevrolet 126.683
11 Kurt Busch (22) Dodge 126.665
12 Kasey Kahne (4) Toyota 126.624
13 Kyle Busch (18) Toyota 126.612
14 Greg Biffle (16) Ford 126.606
15 Paul Menard (27) Chevrolet 126.464
16 Joey Logano (20) Toyota 126.446
17 Jeff Gordon (24) Chevrolet 126.369
18 Ryan Newman (39) Chevrolet 126.369
19 Brad Keselowski (2) Dodge 126.274
20 David Ragan (6) Ford 126.245
21 Landon Cassill (51) Chevrolet 126.245
22 Tony Stewart (14) Chevrolet 126.210
23 Regan Smith (78) Chevrolet 126.186
24 Brian Vickers (83) Toyota 126.151
25 Matt Kenseth (17) Ford 126.092
26 David Stremme (30) Chevrolet 126.068
27 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) Chevrolet 126.021
28 Denny Hamlin (11) Toyota 125.986
29 Martin Truex Jr. (56) Toyota 125.839
30 Casey Mears (13) Toyota 125.716
31 Michael McDowell (66) Toyota 125.587
32 Bobby Labonte (47) Toyota 125.506
33 Marcos Ambrose (9) Ford 125.430
34 Dave Blaney (135) Chevrolet 125.430
35 Travis Kvapil (38) Ford 125.232
36 David Gilliland (34) Ford 125.139
37 Robby Gordon (7) Dodge 124.913
38 Andy Lally (71) Ford 124.706
39 Joe Nemechek (87) Toyota 124.602
40 Stephen Leicht (36) Chevrolet 124.596
41 Scott Speed (46) Ford 124.321
42 Mike Bliss (32) Ford 123.825
43 J.J. Yeley (55) Ford 124.235
44 Mike Skinner (60) DNQ 123.192
45 Erik Darnell (37) DNQ 121.962
46 T.J. Bell (150) DNQ 121.348

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NASCAR Qualifying
Last Updated: Friday, Sep 9, 2011 4:59 pm, EDT
Virginia 529 College Savings 250
Status: Field Set Richmond International Raceway

Order Driver (No.) Car Qualifying Speed

1 Brad Keselowski (22) Dodge 123.757
2 Carl Edwards (60) Ford 123.170
3 Kyle Busch (18) Toyota 123.113
4 Trevor Bayne (16) Ford 123.040
5 Kenny Wallace (09) Ford 123.029
6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (6) Ford 122.861
7 Steve Wallace (66) Toyota 122.738
8 Elliott Sadler (2) Chevrolet 122.594
9 Jamie McMurray (1) Chevrolet 122.577
10 Ryan Truex (20) Toyota 122.505
11 Jason Leffler (38) Toyota 122.505
12 Brian Scott (11) Toyota 122.449
13 Kevin Harvick (33) Chevrolet 122.421
14 David Stremme (70) Chevrolet 122.410
15 Joe Nemechek (87) Chevrolet 122.327
16 Aric Almirola (88) Chevrolet 122.216
17 Reed Sorenson (32) Toyota 122.039
18 Mike Bliss (19) Chevrolet 121.518
19 Mark Green (49) Chevrolet 120.849
20 Eric McClure (14) Toyota 120.768
21 Josh Wise (40) Chevrolet 120.692
22 Justin Allgaier (31) Chevrolet 120.687
23 Jeff Green (44) Chevrolet 120.670
24 Mike Wallace (01) Chevrolet 120.310
25 Johnny Chapman (141) Chevrolet 119.995
26 Michael Annett (62) Toyota 119.803
27 Ricky Carmichael (30) Chevrolet 119.776
28 Jeremy Clements (51) Dodge 119.745
29 Brian Keselowski (147) Toyota 119.437
30 Matt Carter (171) Chevrolet 119.421
31 Scott Riggs (103) Toyota 119.316
32 Danica Patrick (7) Chevrolet 119.195
33 Chase Miller (146) Dodge 119.163
34 Dennis Setzer (248) Chevrolet 119.095
35 Blake Koch (81) Ford 118.535
36 Carl Long (175) Chevrolet 118.255
37 Derrike Cope (28) Chevrolet 118.245
38 Timmy Hill (15) Toyota 118.157
39 Robert Richardson Jr. (23) Chevrolet 117.060
40 Kevin Lepage (52) Ford 116.530
41 Morgan Shepherd (89) Chevrolet 116.404
42 Luis Martinez Jr. (39) Dodge 115.543
43 Tim Andrews (142) Dodge 117.827

44 Fain Skinner (104) DNQ 117.488
45 T.J. Bell (150) DNQ 116.954
46 Casey Roderick (108) DNQ 116.888
47 Jake Crum (174) DNQ 116.565
48 John Jackson (172) DNQ 116.264
49 Jennifer Jo Cobb (113) DNQ 113.265

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Friday, Sept. 9, 2011

Dodge Motorsports PR

Richmond Int’l Raceway

Wonderful Pistachios 400

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Final NSCS Qualifying Quotes

KURT BUSCH (No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T) Qualified 11th “We had to get through tech and we had to rush that thing through and then strap my belts on and get out there and just try to do the best we could. The car has been real tight in qualifying trim and it stayed that way. Might have left a little out there being on the tight side of things but all in all a good run with our Shell/Pennzoil Dodge.”

WAS IT NERVE RACKING WAITING ON YOUR CAR AND THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN YOU HAVE TO HOP IN IT AND GO? “The way the tech area is setup with this tent and that tent, with wheelbase gauges and weight gauges and there’s about 6,000 people in the infield with all these pit passes and the crew guys have to dodge everybody trying to get the car through tech.”

WHEN YOU CAME OUT HERE YOU DIDN’T HAVE A CAR. “We were just late getting through tech, whether it was wheelbase or a weight distribution problem. Had to go back and forth with the different measurements and so we got it through. It was last minute. Jumped out there and went for it. It was a good run with our Shell/Pennzoil Dodge. The pole right now is a 1.29 and we ran a .31 so you always wish you could get those hundredths [of a second] back but that’s why Sprint Cup racing is so competitive.

YOU PICKED UP A BUNCH FROM PRACTICE TO QUALIFYING. WHAT DOES THAT DO FOR YOUR CONFIDENCE AND THE TEAM’S CONFIDENCE ENTERING THE RACE TOMORROW? “We’ve been on the tight side for qualifying practice and we still stayed there and then in race trim our car starts out tight and then heads way to the loose side so we still have our work cut out for us.”

ARE YOU A LITTLE ENCOURAGED BY THE GAIN? “It’s good to pick up but where you win this race if your car is good from lap 20 to 60 of a fuel run.”

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE TROUBLE GOING THROUGH INSPECTION, WOULD IT HAVE BEEN EASIER OR BETTER ON YOU? “Sometimes you’ve just got to jump in there and let ‘er rip. It may have helped us.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger R/T) Qualified 19th “It was just a little off, not sure where. Need to be a little better than that. We’ve been a little off this whole weekend here just getting our cars where they need to be so we’ll just have to keep working on it.”

HAS THE CAR BEEN TIGHT OR LOOSE? “No, we just can’t get our cars to turn. We’ll just have to go back to the drawing board.”

ROBBY GORDON (No. 7 SPEED Energy Dodge Charger R/T) Qualified 37th “We’re in so that was good. We saw some improvement with the car in practice today, tried a bunch of stuff and got pointed in the right direction on tire pressures. At the end of the day, the car drove the best it’s been so far.”

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NASCAR Results
Last Updated: Friday, Sep 9, 2011 10:40 pm, EDT
Virginia 529 College Savings 250
Status: Final Richmond International Raceway

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

1 Kyle Busch (18) Toyota 47/4 250 74 $33,725 Chart
2 Carl Edwards (60) Ford 44/2 250 160 $36,125 Chart
3 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (6) Ford 41/0 250 0 $31,268 Chart
4 Ryan Truex (20) Toyota 40/0 250 0 $24,043 Chart
5 Kenny Wallace (09) Toyota 39/0 250 0 $24,693 Chart
6 Elliott Sadler (2) Chevrolet 38/0 250 0 $24,043 Chart
7 Aric Almirola (88) Chevrolet 37/0 250 0 $21,753 Chart
8 Reed Sorenson (32) Chevrolet 36/0 250 0 $23,913 Chart
9 Justin Allgaier (31) Chevrolet 35/0 250 0 $21,293 Chart
10 Joe Nemechek (87) Toyota 34/0 250 0 $23,843 Chart
11 Michael Annett (62) Toyota 33/0 250 0 $20,993 Chart
12 Mike Bliss (19) Chevrolet 32/0 250 0 $21,668 Chart
13 David Stremme (70) Chevrolet 31/0 250 0 $21,318 Chart
14 Jeremy Clements (51) Chevrolet 31/1 250 8 $20,818 Chart
15 Mike Wallace (01) Chevrolet 29/0 250 0 $22,093 Chart
16 Steve Wallace (66) Toyota 28/0 250 0 $20,693 Chart
17 Timmy Hill (15) Ford 27/0 250 0 $21,618 Chart
18 Danica Patrick (7) Chevrolet 26/0 249 0 $20,568 Chart
19 Brad Keselowski (22) Dodge 26/1 249 8 $18,350 Chart
20 Kevin Harvick (33) Chevrolet 24/0 249 0 $14,725 Chart
21 Derrike Cope (28) Chevrolet 23/0 247 0 $20,418 Chart
22 Robert Richardson Jr. (23) Chevrolet 22/0 247 0 $20,318 Chart
23 Kevin Lepage (52) Chevrolet 21/0 246 0 $14,165 Chart
24 Morgan Shepherd (89) Chevrolet 20/0 246 0 $13,650 Chart
25 Luis Martinez Jr. (39) Ford 19/0 246 0 $20,693 Chart
26 Ricky Carmichael (30) Chevrolet 18/0 245 0 $19,968 Chart
27 Blake Koch (81) Dodge 17/0 211 0 $20,318 Chart
28 Trevor Bayne (16) Ford 16/0 209 0 $19,768 Chart
29 Jason Leffler (38) Chevrolet 15/0 178 0 $19,718 Chart
30 Eric McClure (14) Chevrolet 14/0 158 0 $19,918 Chart
31 Jamie McMurray (1) Chevrolet 13/0 155 0 $13,095 Chart
32 Brian Scott (11) Toyota 12/0 145 0 $19,478 Chart
33 Josh Wise (40) Chevrolet 11/0 69 0 $12,950 Chart
34 Johnny Chapman (141) Chevrolet 10/0 42 0 $12,915 Chart
35 Matt Carter (171) Ford 9/0 37 0 $12,865 Chart
36 Jeff Green (44) Chevrolet 8/0 27 0 $12,805 Chart
37 Carl Long (175) Ford 7/0 24 0 $12,745 Chart
38 Tim Andrews (142) Chevrolet 6/0 9 0 $12,665 Chart
39 Dennis Setzer (248) Chevrolet 0/0 9 0 $12,620 Chart
40 Mark Green (49) Chevrolet 4/0 8 0 $12,580 Chart
41 Scott Riggs (103) Chevrolet 3/0 7 0 $12,515 Chart
42 Chase Miller (146) Chevrolet 2/0 4 0 $12,470 Chart
43 Brian Keselowski (147) Chevrolet 1/0 2 0 $12,409 Chart

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Discussion Starter #11
Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes - Kurt Busch Open Interview - Richmond 2
September 9, 2011 , RICHMOND, Va. - Friday, Sept. 9, 2011

Dodge Motorsports PR

Richmond Int’l Raceway
Wonderful Pistachios 400
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Kurt Busch Open Interview

KURT BUSCH (No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T) “It was great for us to not have to worry about the points situation. It’s been a great regular season for us, nice and consistent. We’ve done really well with qualifying. We’ve done well with our consistency. It’s just time to turn up all the other areas of the team, whether it’s pit stops, whether it’s making the car better during the race, whether it’s just the ins and outs of practice and maximizing our time on track. It’s go time. That’s what this point of the season is all about. It’s a great way to reflect on the first portion but now this is the final 10 weeks and there the most important 10 weeks coming up.”

GIVEN THE MAJORITY OF TRACKS IN THE CHASE ARE INTERMEDIATE TRACKS, ARE YOU ENCOURAGED BY YOUR RUN AT ATLANTA? “Atlanta is a different style of track, just how it chews up tires but it is a mile-and-a-half and the majority of the Chase races fit into those mile-and-a-halfs. I think the way the Chase shapes up this year we should have a good seven out of 10 tracks. The three I’m worried about are Martinsville, Talladega and the new Phoenix International Raceway. That’s going to be a big wild card out there.”

WHERE ARE YOU GUYS AT AS A TEAM RIGHT NOW? HOW CONFIDENT ARE YOU COMPARED TO YEARS PAST WITH PENSKE AT THIS POINT OF THE SEASON? “I feel like we have an A minus in most areas. We can polish up and be better. Right now there’s a couple of teams that are better than us but I would say that we’re one of the programs that have a legitimate shot at running good each and every week through these 10 weeks.”

THIS WEEKEND IS THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11. CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT YOU WERE DOING THAT DAY AND YOUR MEMORIES AND THE THOUGHTS OF THE TRIBUTES THAT ARE GOING ON THIS WEEKEND? “Obviously a day that changed a lot in the history of our country. For me I was at a short track doing a test in South Carolina and we did a long run in the morning and we were going to change the brakes over. As the crew was changing the brakes on the car I went into the hauler to grab a bite to eat for breakfast and turned on the TV and what I thought I was watching was just a what if this could happen tomorrow or a possible documentary on what is this and how can it happen and it was actually real. And I told the guys ‘You guys got to come in here and check this out.’ And it was just a surreal moment of what was happening that morning to see us attacked in that fashion make you feel very vulnerable. Quite a few things have changed since that date and it’s great to see the support from all of these race teams, from all the Americans pulling together as one and then hoisting up the red,white and blue as the pride and joy. Since that moment, I think we’ve been a country that’s been more aligned and in showing more allegiance to our country since that date.”

WHAT KIND OF ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR TONY STEWART AND HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THE AGGRAVATION OF THE MEDIA? “Really? That’s what you’re asking? [laughter]. I’m supposed to give Tony Stewart advice? Let’s go to the next question [smiles].”

HAS THERE BEEN A LOT OF TALK WITHIN THE PENSKE CAMP TO 'WIN ONE FOR ROGER' THIS YEAR? "Not really between me and Brad, but for the company. We all know that we're here to bring the Captain his first Sprint Cup championship. For Brad to have brought the championship home in the Nationwide Series (last year), that's showing that we're moving the needle in the right direction. We've got a great program with our two Dodges. We find ourselves in position to run through these next 10 weeks up front and we want to do that. The two of us pushing each other harder, we have to keep it into perspective, but I think that we can make each other stronger by pushing each other."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW LONG IT TOOK YOU MENTALLY TO RECOVER FROM WINNING THE CHAMPIONSHIP? "It's definitely going to come down to what we hope is a five or six car battle going into Homestead. That's what we had back in 2004. There were four or five guys that had a legitimate shot. So much of the weight with this points system is now put onto Homestead. You can have a horrible day at Homestead and drop from leading the points to fifth. Obviously, that's a huge blow because you've put yourself in position for nine weeks, you've got to come up to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, which is going to be Homestead.

"When I finished my speech in New York, I almost felt my body shutting down. I was actually sick for four or five days afterwards, just with fatigue. The mental fatigue. Waking up every morning at 6 a.m. in New York, running all day long. Of course everyone wants to go to the parties and have a good time. Afterwards, writing a speech, just being in that position was an experience that I'll never forget. But it wears you down. That's part of it. Right now you look forward at these next 10 weeks and you hope that these 10 weeks go like the feel of 10 days. If these 10 weeks turn into a 10-months-of-a-feel, then the Chase hasn't gone your way."

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Discussion Starter #12
Wonderful Pistachios 400
Status: Final Richmond International Raceway

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

1 Kevin Harvick (29) Chevrolet 48/5 400 202 $256,736 Chart

2 Carl Edwards (99) Ford 43/1 400 113 $196,266 Chart
3 Jeff Gordon (24) Chevrolet 42/1 400 7 $165,536 Chart
4 David Ragan (6) Ford 40/0 400 0 $125,125 Chart
5 Kurt Busch (22) Dodge 39/0 400 0 $144,325 Chart
6 Kyle Busch (18) Toyota 38/0 400 0 $137,066 Chart
7 Tony Stewart (14) Chevrolet 37/0 400 0 $131,658 Chart
8 Ryan Newman (39) Chevrolet 36/0 400 0 $121,400 Chart
9 Denny Hamlin (11) Toyota 35/0 400 0 $131,125 Chart
10 Mark Martin (5) Chevrolet 34/0 400 0 $89,750 Chart
11 A J Allmendinger (43) Ford 33/0 400 0 $117,621 Chart
12 Brad Keselowski (2) Dodge 32/0 400 0 $104,708 Chart
13 Greg Biffle (16) Ford 32/1 400 6 $92,125 Chart
14 Jamie McMurray (1) Chevrolet 31/1 400 19 $115,914 Chart
15 Juan Pablo Montoya (42) Chevrolet 29/0 400 0 $112,783 Chart
16 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) Chevrolet 28/0 400 0 $82,375 Chart
17 Casey Mears (13) Toyota 27/0 400 0 $75,075 Chart
18 Regan Smith (78) Chevrolet 26/0 400 0 $100,170 Chart
19 Dave Blaney (135) Chevrolet 25/0 400 0 $69,700 Chart
20 Bobby Labonte (47) Toyota 24/0 400 0 $100,895 Chart
21 Marcos Ambrose (9) Ford 23/0 399 0 $103,116 Chart
22 Clint Bowyer (33) Chevrolet 22/0 399 0 $113,383 Chart
23 Matt Kenseth (17) Ford 22/1 399 15 $110,886 Chart
24 Stephen Leicht (36) Chevrolet 20/0 399 0 $88,558 Chart
25 Landon Cassill (51) Chevrolet 19/0 399 0 $86,833 Chart
26 David Reutimann (00) Toyota 18/0 399 0 $105,608 Chart
27 David Gilliland (34) Ford 17/0 397 0 $84,333 Chart
28 Travis Kvapil (38) Ford 16/0 394 0 $80,997 Chart
29 Jeff Burton (31) Chevrolet 15/0 393 0 $79,225 Chart
30 Martin Truex Jr. (56) Toyota 14/0 391 0 $79,600 Chart
31 Jimmie Johnson (48) Chevrolet 14/1 362 38 $121,911 Chart
32 Andy Lally (71) Ford 12/0 357 0 $79,825 Chart
33 Brian Vickers (83) Toyota 11/0 328 0 $94,914 Chart
34 Paul Menard (27) Chevrolet 10/0 319 0 $76,525 Chart
35 Joey Logano (20) Toyota 9/0 296 0 $76,425 Chart
36 Mike Bliss (32) Ford 8/0 198 0 $67,275 Chart
37 Robby Gordon (7) Dodge 7/0 51 0 $67,150 Chart
38 Kasey Kahne (4) Toyota 6/0 50 0 $75,025 Chart
39 Michael McDowell (66) Toyota 5/0 46 0 $66,900 Chart
40 David Stremme (30) Chevrolet 4/0 42 0 $66,775 Chart
41 Joe Nemechek (87) Toyota 3/0 24 0 $66,625 Chart
42 J.J. Yeley (55) Ford 2/0 22 0 $66,500 Chart
43 Scott Speed (46) Ford 1/0 7 0 $66,860 Chart

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Discussion Starter #13
Harvick wins Richmond, now tops Chase standings

By JENNA FRYER, AP Auto Racing Writer 58 minutes ago

RICHMOND, Va. (AP)—Kevin Harvick stormed into the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship by winning at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night.

The victory moved him into a tie with rival Kyle Busch at the top of the championship standings.

The 10-race Chase begins next Sunday at Chicago with a field NASCAR likely considers close to perfect. The 12-driver field will include Dale Earnhardt Jr., who will race for the championship for the first time since 2008.

Also in the Chase are former series champions Kurt Busch, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth and Jeff Gordon. Carl Edwards, Ryan Newman and five-time defending champion Jimmie Johnson claimed the top 10 spots in the field.

The two wild cards, a wrinkle added to the Chase format this year, went to Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin. Keselowski made the field with a spectacular summer, winning two races to put himself in contention, and Hamlin earned his spot by turning around his season when everything was on the line.

Hamlin, who nearly knocked off Johnson last year, has now made the Chase every year he’s been eligible and earned his spot Saturday night with a spectacular comeback from an accident on the eighth lap of the race.

Earnhardt was involved in the same wreck, and although his car suffered less damage than Hamlin’s, his recovery was difficult and NASCAR’s most popular driver was frustrated during long stretches of the race. With so much pressure on Earnhardt to make the Chase, he had to race with one eye on Keselowski, who would have knocked Earnhardt out of the field if he had climbed into the top 10 in the standings.

So as Earnhardt was mired back in the field, and Keselowski made a furious charge to the front, the tension was tremendous on his radio. Crew chief Steve Letarte begged the driver to stay focused, but Earnhardt seemed dubious.

“I can’t think of the big picture because I really can’t see it,” he sighed.

But Keselowski faded to a 12th-place finish and Earnhardt, who got the free pass back onto the lead lap three times in the race, finished 16th.

Harvick, meanwhile, snapped out of his summer slump to put himself in solid position to win his first Cup championship. He was passed by Gordon with 22 laps to go, but a caution by Harvick teammate Paul Menard with 16 laps left sent everybody to pit road.

Harvick beat Gordon back onto the track, and restarted in the lead with 12 laps to go. He then had to hold off a hard-charging Edwards over the final few laps to get the victory.


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Discussion Starter #14
Sprint Cup

Rank (+/-) Drivers Total Pts Behind Starts Poles Wins Top 5 Top 10 DNF Winnings

1 +5 Kevin Harvick 2012 Leader 26 0 4 7 13 1 $4,706,934
2 - Kyle Busch 2012 Leader 26 2 4 13 16 3 $4,896,379

3 +2 Jeff Gordon 2009 3 26 1 3 10 14 2 $4,570,424
4 - Matt Kenseth 2006 6 26 1 2 7 14 2 $4,565,074
5 -4 Carl Edwards 2003 9 26 2 1 12 17 0 $6,511,154
6 -1 Kurt Busch 2003 9 26 3 1 7 14 2 $4,582,251
7 +2 Ryan Newman 2003 9 26 2 1 8 13 0 $4,030,948
8 -4 Jimmie Johnson 2003 9 26 1 1 11 17 1 $4,657,999
9 +2 Brad Keselowski 2000 12 26 1 3 6 10 1 $3,807,289
10 +2 Denny Hamlin 2000 12 26 0 1 4 10 2 $4,113,568
11 -2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2000 12 26 1 0 3 9 2 $3,159,538
12 -2 Tony Stewart 2000 12 26 0 0 3 11 1 $4,171,916

13 - A J Allmendinger 731 1281 26 0 0 1 6 1 $3,574,964
14 - Clint Bowyer 719 1293 26 0 0 3 9 5 $4,152,796
15 - Greg Biffle 713 1299 26 1 0 1 7 1 $3,198,078
16 +3 Mark Martin 694 1318 26 1 0 2 8 3 $2,935,833
17 -1 Martin Truex Jr. 690 1322 26 0 0 2 8 3 $2,921,763
18 +4 Juan Pablo Montoya 679 1333 26 2 0 2 7 0 $3,830,071
19 +4 David Ragan 677 1335 26 2 1 4 7 4 $3,295,763
20 +1 Marcos Ambrose 673 1339 26 0 1 4 8 0 $3,567,879
21 -4 Kasey Kahne 673 1339 26 2 0 3 8 4 $3,264,662
22 -4 Joey Logano 671 1341 26 2 0 4 6 2 $2,975,113
23 -3 Paul Menard 667 1345 26 0 1 4 7 2 $2,948,913
24 - Jeff Burton 618 1394 26 0 0 0 1 3 $2,762,351
25 - Jamie McMurray 610 1402 26 1 0 2 4 3 $3,660,852
26 - Regan Smith 589 1423 26 0 1 2 4 2 $3,523,608
27 - Brian Vickers 571 1441 26 0 0 1 5 1 $3,173,512
28 - David Reutimann 556 1456 26 1 0 1 2 2 $3,297,836
29 - Bobby Labonte 539 1473 26 0 0 1 2 3 $3,478,953
30 - David Gilliland 446 1566 26 0 0 1 2 5 $3,101,135
31 - Casey Mears 387 1625 25 0 0 0 0 5 $2,076,333
32 - Dave Blaney 349 1663 25 0 0 0 0 6 $2,370,275
33 - Andy Lally 333 1679 23 0 0 0 0 1 $2,277,793
34 - Robby Gordon 236 1776 20 0 0 0 0 9 $1,921,916
35 - Tony Raines 129 1883 12 0 0 0 0 5 $932,125
36 - J.J. Yeley 103 1909 21 0 0 0 0 19 $1,780,227
37 - Bill Elliott 100 1912 5 0 0 0 0 0 $663,887
38 - Terry Labonte 92 1920 7 0 0 0 0 3 $882,627
39 +1 Michael McDowell 91 1921 22 0 0 0 0 20 $1,708,980
40 -1 Ken Schrader 87 1925 6 0 0 0 0 0 $516,432
41 - David Stremme 53 1959 11 0 0 0 0 9 $826,595
42 - Boris Said 38 1974 2 0 0 0 0 0 $194,730
43 - Stephen Leicht 20 1992 1 0 0 0 0 0 $88,558
44 - Michael Waltrip 20 1992 2 0 0 0 0 1 $396,213
45 -1 Andy Pilgrim 18 1994 1 0 0 0 0 0 $78,475
46 -1 Chris Cook 17 1995 1 0 0 0 0 0 $78,825
47 -1 T.J. Bell 14 1998 4 0 0 0 0 4 $355,750
48 -1 Brian Simo 11 2001 1 0 0 0 0 0 $74,470
49 -1 Geoffrey Bodine 6 2006 1 0 0 0 0 1 $84,300
50 -1 Brian Keselowski 3 2009 1 0 0 0 0 1 $297,338
51 -1 Erik Darnell 2 2010 2 0 0 0 0 2 $133,615
52 -1 Steve Park 2 2010 1 0 0 0 0 1 $78,855

Sprint Cup Series
Latest Race Sep 10
Wonderful Pistachios 400

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Discussion Starter #15
Dodge Motorsports, 2011 NSCS Wonderful Pistachios 400 Post-Race Recaps

Posted By Press Release On September 11, 2011 @ 12:47 am In Press Releases,Sprint Cup Series

Dodge Motorsports

KURT BUSCH [2] (No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T) Finished 5th
“Really a good, hard fought battle. That debris from that early caution cut our right rear tire and you know, we were lucky to obtain a yellow while we were sitting there limping around. To fight back from that and to be in good position all night we had a top-five car with our Shell/Pennzoil Dodge. The last two races we were running strong and to be up front, this is what we need for the next 10 weeks. It’s all a tribute to the guys giving me good pit stops and we’re making good adjustments on the car as we run.”

COMMENT ON THE CONTACT WITH JIMMIE JOHNSON. “We raced down into Turn 1 and I locked up the left front trying to avoid him. When he came back to us, you know, you could see it coming. That’s not something you see from Jimmie Johnson every day so I know we’re in his head. If we’re going to race this way, he’s got to worry that there’s 10 other guys in this Chase, not just the 22.”

DOES THIS CARRY FORWARD TO THE CHASE? “I’m good with where we are. We raced hard; we’ve got good cars that are not too terribly wrecked. But he’s got to learn to race. He’s been able to beat guys the last five years just by out-driving ‘em with what he has for equipment. If he wants to switch equipment let’s see what we can do but I’m going to beat him fair and square with my Penske Dodge.”

YOU ARE REALLY GOOD ON THE MILE-AND-A-HALF TRACKS. “Yeah I feel like our mile-and-a-half program is solid. We’ve got Dover in the mix with that mile and the high banks. You know with the way that this Chase starts out new with Chicago, we’ve got to be good there to start off. Go to Loudon where the Chase normally begin and then worry about some of the trouble spots which could happen at Talladega, Martinsville and then the repave out in Phoenix is going to be very interesting.”

WAS YOUR RUN TONIGHT AN EXAMPLE OF HOW MUCH IMPROVEMENT THIS TEAM HAS MADE OVER THE LAST FEW MONTHS? “Well it’s go-time and we’ve got to get those top-five finishes all throughout the next 10 weeks. If we’re in position we have to capitalize on that. Tonight we were close; caught up on the outside on some restarts. You hope that luck in the future puts you on the inside that way you can make up spots but all in all a solid run for our Shell/Pennzoil Dodge. I feel great the last couple weeks. We just need to carry this the next 10.”

YOU SAID THE OTHER DAY YOU NEEDED 10 GOOD RACES. IS THIS RUN TONIGHT AN EXAMPLE OF THAT? “Absolutely. Guys on pit road, adjustments and having a fast car through practice to get us where we needed to be in the race.”

YOU MADE A LOT OF SETUP CHANGES BEFORE THE RACE STARTED. “Yeah we had to go wholesale ‘cause what we had wasn’t going to be good. It’s nice to change a lot of things and come away with a strong finish.”

WHAT HAPPENED WITH JIMMIE JOHNSON? THERE WERE A COUPLE OF TIMES YOUR CARS CAME TOGETHER. “Well we had 398 other laps and with the way that we raced each other. I got into one hot, locked up my left fronts, slid up into ‘em. And then you could just see the payback coming from a five-time chump. So this is where we stand. Cars that are racing, cars have been wrecked. We have a Chase to start to let’s begin.”

HOW DO YOU FEEL GOING INTO THE CHASE? “I feel great. The team’s strong, solid pit stops tonight, just like last week and we made adjustments on the Shell/Pennzoil Dodge to make it better during the race. Two top-fives back-to-back and I feel solid with what our team had and we just have to work at it for 10 solid weeks. It’s a long 10 weeks but we can be focused ‘cause we’re determined to do it.”

STEVE ADDINGTON (Crew Chief, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T) YOU PUT A DIFFERENT SETUP UNDER THE CAR FOR THE RACE TONIGHT AND RAN WELL. THAT MUST GIVE YOU MOMENTUM ENTERING THE CHASE. “Yeah, it was pretty cool to do that because it would be nothing that he would drive before. We went back and looked at some notes from this old place. This place is still the same ol’ Richmond. We looked at some old notes about what we ran here in the past. Kurt came in and talked to us this morning at the truck and he bought into it and said ‘Let’s do it.’ We threw it at it and had a good result.”

CAN YOU PUT INTO WORDS WHAT MAKING THE CHASE MEANS TO THE TEAM? “It’s a pride thing. To get both Penske Dodge into this Chase is really huge for the organization, huge for Dodge. It’s huge for the guys that work back in that fab shop, work in that paint shop, work in every little department we have. They take pride in working on these cars during the week. We get to come out here and work on ‘em. Everybody sees us but they don’t see those guys putting in that effort back at the shop.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI [4] (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger R/T) Finished 12th
“Early in the season when things weren’t going right we just kept focusing in on the positives and stayed true to the course. We knew that we had fast Dodges. We kept plugging away, not giving up and eventually you’re going to be rewarded for that. We’ve got a little bit of momentum going into the Chase; some strong runs. We weren’t as fast as we wanted to be here tonight. We got a 12-place finish. I think we were a 15th-place car. When the Chase comes, you have to out-finish what you have for a car. We can do that as a team. We just need a little bit more speed. I know all the boys at Penske Racing are
Working on that right now.”

ON MAKING THE CHASE: “It’s an incredible feeling to be in the Chase. What a great sense of accomplishment for this entire Miller Lite Dodge team. This is one big step. We have more steps to go. It’s something to be proud of that’s for sure.”

WHY WAS IT SUCH HARD RACING EARLY TONIGHT? “Guys were really anxious tonight. It was wild. It was kind of nuts out there. It was fun to be a part of, but it was crazy. I’m sure the fans enjoyed it.”

ROGER PENSKE (Founder and Chairman, Penske Corporation)
“It’s a tremendous accomplishment to get both of our Penske Racing Dodges in the Chase this year. I am proud of the entire organization as it was a true team effort in getting to this point. I would also like to thank Shell, Pennzoil, Miller Lite, Dodge and all of our terrific partners for their support. We are looking forward to getting to Chicago and competing for a championship.”

TRAVIS GEISLER (Director Of Competition, Penske Racing) WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO GET BOTH PENSKE DODGES IN THE CHASE? “It’s certainly a great accomplishment. These guys worked so hard all year. To go on the run that the 2 car did in these last six or seven weeks was awesome to get both theses Dodges in the Chase. I’m proud of both of them. It’s been since ’05 that both Penske cars have been in the Chase, so this is a very nice accomplishment. Our relationship with Dodge this year has really pushed this program forward. All of our supporters that stuck with us, it’s pretty awesome. To see both of these drivers in the Chase is great.

ROBBY GORDON (No. 7 SPEED Energy Dodge Charger R/T) Finished 42nd WHAT HAPPENED? “Well they wrecked in front of me and I was basically stopped. I don’t know what Scott Speed was doing but he just ran us over and killed our race car for no reason. That’s the way it goes. We’ll build another Dodge Charger.”

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Discussion Starter #16
Busch must concentrate on racing

Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's/Power of Pride Chevrolet, shakes hands with Kurt Busch, driver of the #22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge
Kurt Busch (left) talks with Jimmie Johnson after the Richmond race.

Sep 11, 2011

Sometimes Kurt Busch just can’t help himself.

So on Sunday, instead of seeing headlines heralding Penske Racing’s resurgence in NASCAR after becoming one of just two organizations to earn Chase for the Sprint Cup berths for both its teams, Busch’s battles on the track with Jimmie Johnson and his postrace clashes with reporters became front-page news.

With comeback top-five finishes at Atlanta Motor Speedway (fourth) and Richmond International Raceway (fifth) the last two weeks following a miserable season-low stretch at Watkins Glen (38th) and Michigan (34th) and a 17th-place showing at Bristol -- one of his best tracks on the tour -- Busch solidified his standing as a championship contender on Saturday night.

But now, when Busch engages in his media availability leading up to the Chase kickoff at Chicagoland Speedway next weekend, he won’t be asked about gaining momentum for a second title run. He won’t be asked how Dodge has turned its program around. And unfortunately, Busch won’t be asked about his philanthropic work across the country.

He’ll only be asked about his feud with Johnson and the subsequent outbursts that occurred during the postrace celebration.

Yes, Kurt Busch should be a contender for the Chase. He has the talent. And after Busch demanded a change in the direction of Penske Racing’s engineering last spring and that wish was granted on May 11, he’s proved his equipment can compete against the best teams in NASCAR.

But if Kurt Busch is ever going to be a factor in this Chase -- or any other --- he will have to get a handle on his emotions.

Personally, I have no problem with Busch wearing a black hat. Every story is more intriguing with a good villain and Busch has never really backed down from that perception.

Without rivalries, sports just wouldn’t matter. And if Busch wants to embrace his “boys have at it” side, I’m all for it. It’s clear there’s no love lost between Busch and Johnson and from a media standpoint, that’s just more page views for us.

But if you want to dump the five-time champion, own up to it. Hell, it would make you a hero with the A.B.J. (Anybody But Jimmie) Club. If you come out and question a driver’s resolve, however, as was the case in the postrace interview (and yes, there’s video to prove it), you must be held accountable.

Here’s Busch’s recall of the on-track incident with Johnson and the comments that followed:

“We raced down into Turn 1 and I locked up the left front trying to avoid him. When he came back to us, you know, you could see it coming. That’s not something you see from Jimmie Johnson every day so I know we’re in his head. If we’re going to race this way, he’s got to worry that there’s 10 other guys in this Chase, not just the 22.”

But when Johnson was asked about Busch’s assumption that he was in the five-time champion’s head, he was interrupted in his answer by the driver of the No. 22 Dodge, who denied his earlier comments

Dale Earnhardt was the master at intimidation. He could rattle a cage better than anyone. He could get into a driver’s head before that competitor realized he was toast. But he never backed down or expressed regret for his actions.

And Earnhardt was also a master with the media. Long before the masses had Internet and years before Twitter was even a thought, Earnhardt had the good sense to manage the media behind the scenes.

Public confrontations with the media never end well. If Busch needed to take a moment after Saturday‘s race, he should have. “No comment” was option two.

But looking for a second confrontation with a reporter when the first one didn’t end well will not endear the most popular public figure -- particularly in a room filled with media.

Certainly, Busch, 33, is dealing with his own mortality. As we age, there’s always the next new hot kid on the block. For Busch, the reality check began not long after his father, Tom, put younger brother Kyle, 26, in a race car. But now the whole world is watching.

At Michigan International Speedway last month, Kyle tied his sibling’s Sprint Cup career win total of 23. And now the younger Busch tops the Chase point standings with 2,012 markers after accumulating four wins in the first 26 races of the year. Kurt remains seventh in points with his sole win at Infineon Raceway.

Then there’s Busch’s Penske Racing teammate Brad Keslowski -- the hottest shoe in NASCAR and a media darling to boot. Keselowski’s three Cup wins earned him the first wild-card position in the Chase and his first invitation to NASCAR’s version of the playoffs. While Busch experienced a mini-summer slump, Keselowski scored two wins with a broken foot and vaulted from 21st to 11th in the standings in four races.

This from a kid who Busch didn’t feel could contribute to building the Penske Racing operation.

But Keselowski has only helped to make Penske Racing stronger, which is an advantage for Busch. For the first time since 2005, the company has two cars in the Chase. The last time Penske qualified two drivers for the postseason Rusty Wallace and Ryan Newman drove for the Captain. This is a major accomplishment for the organization and should not be squandered.

Racing is cyclical. But this is the best opportunity that Busch has had at a second Cup title since moving to Penske Racing in 2006 and assumed the daunting task of replacing the affable Wallace with the Miller sponsorship. While his charge in 2009 was solid, he now has the No. 2 team to rely on for information down the stretch.

Busch and the No. 22 team must find a way to put Saturday night fever behind them and concentrate on the final 10 races of the season. But for Busch to be a true contender, the effort is going to have to start with him.

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