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Busch, Kahne get ready for ‘Monster Mile’

Posted Thursday, Sep 24, 2009, 4:58 pm in Employee News

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series visits Dover (Del.) International Speedway this weekend for the AAA 400, the second race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Expect the unexpected this Sunday. Dover (Del.) International Speedway is a 1-mile, variable-banked, all-concrete track that is aptly named “The Monster Mile” for its abuse on brakes, tires and racecars. The turns are banked 18-20 degrees.

Dover is known for close-quarter racing at speeds in excess of 160 mph. Mistakes are costly. Single-car mishaps often turn into multi-car crashes.

Dodge has five wins at Dover (Richard Petty two, Ryan Newman three) and has claimed the pole seven of the last 12 times qualifying has taken place. The pole winners were Ryan Newman (four), Jeremy Mayfield (two) and Rusty Wallace (one).

Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) looks to use the momentum of a sixth-place finish last week at New Hampshire to keep pace with point’s leader Mark Martin. Busch is 65 points behind the leader with nine races remaining in the Chase.

In the five fall Chase events at Dover, Busch has two top-fives. In 18 starts at Dover, Busch has three top-five and five top-10 finishes.

Busch enters this weekend’s AAA 400 still looking for his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup win at Dover International Speedway. However, he thinks his victory drought on the Monster Mile could come to an end on Sunday.

“I’m super optimistic about our chances heading back to Dover for this weekend’s race,” Busch said. “We’ve really been looking forward to this race since our last visit back in the spring. We finished fifth in that race, but we feel like we probably had a car capable of winning. We had to play catch–up for much of that race and weren’t able to show how strong our car was until almost the very end of the race.”

Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger) looks to rebound this week after a disappointing finish at New Hampshire.

Kahne had engine issues that ended his day early and a finish of 38th. That dropped him to 12th in the Chase standings.

“I think Dover is great, Kahne said. “I used to like it a little more when the tire would fall off (lose grip) and you could move all over the race track. It doesn’t seem like we run quite as high these days. But it’s definitely a good track, a tough track and a fairly long race. It’s a little bit demanding. The Monster Mile is difficult, so anything can happen there.”

All seven Dodge teams are assured starting berths in the event in Sunday’s race.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase Standings:
(After first of 10 races)
1. Mark Martin, 5,230
2. Jimmie Johnson, 5,195
3. Denny Hamlin, 5,195
4. Juan Pablo Montoya, 5,175
5. Kurt Busch, 5,165
6. Tony Stewart, 5,156
7. Ryan Newman, 5,151
8. Brian Vickers, 5,140
9. Greg Biffle, 5,138
10. Jeff Gordon, 5,128
11. Carl Edwards, 5,117
12. Kasey Kahne, 5,069

Other notes:

Sam Hornish Jr. (No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger) has three top-15 finishes this season in short track competition. Hornish earned his first top-10 of the year with a ninth-place effort at Phoenix and he followed that up with a sixth-place showing at Richmond. He was 13th at The Monster Mile in June.

Reed Sorenson (No. 43 Valvoline Dodge Charger) led laps 29-32 at Dover in May, the first of the season for the No. 43 Dodge. He was 10th with 100 laps remaining. He led for 39 laps in this race in 2006.

Elliott Sadler (No. 19 Best Buy/Geek Squad Dodge Charger) is tied with Tony Stewart for the longest active non-DNF streak (50 races) among drivers that have competed in every race. Teammate Reed Sorenson now has the longest overall streak at 53 races, but did not compete at Infineon last season.

Richard Petty Motorsports qualified all four of its cars in the top 10 at Dover in the spring race.

What you need to know:
The Race: AAA 400
The Place: Dover International Speedway (1-mile oval)
The Date: Sunday, Sept. 27
The Time: 2 p.m. EDT
Distance: 400 laps/400 miles
TV: ABC, 1 p.m. EDT

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Discussion Starter #2
NASCAR looses Spirit Sponsors

Jack Daniel's, Jim Beam lose their NASCAR spirits, race out of their deals

Sep 25th 2009 at 2:20PM

NASCAR may have a blue-collar image, but it's an expensive sport. Not only is there the cost of the racing cars, but there's the payroll needed for the experienced staff required to maintain them. With all the overhead, sponsorship doesn't come cheap. Yet attendance and TV ratings are down, making it tough for NASCAR to prove its value.

Two whiskey brands, Jack Daniel's and Jim Beam, announced this week that they're discontinuing their NASCAR sponsorships. Jack Daniel's, owned by Brown Forman (BF.B), cited a "re-evaluation" prompted by the recession, while Jim Beam, owend by Beam Global Spirits & Wine, a subsidiary of Fortune Brands (FO), made its decision after an "extensive review" of its marketing strategy.

With their departure, NASCAR retains just one spirits sponsor: Canadian whiskey distiller Crown Royal.

Many companies increasingly scrutinize what they get in return for their marketing spending, says Basia Wojcik, who specializes in sports marketing at the Marketing Arm in Dallas. "People are being conservative, and watching where every penny goes," she says.

NASCAR confirms this: "In recessionary times, every marketer is weighing every single dollar that they're spending," spokesman Andrew Giangola says. Despite the departures of Jack Daniel's, which sponsored Richard Childress Racing's No. 07 team, and Jim Beam, which sponsored Robby Gordon Motorsports, NASCAR has signed on new sponsors including Guitar Hero and

A sport with a working-class fan-base is not immune to economic woes. As the average NASCAR fan travels at least 250 miles to attend a race, rising gas and hotel costs have put a big dent in attendance. The average audience this year has been about 110,000, down from about 120,000 last year, Giangola says. Ratings have slipped, too. For the season's first 10 races, ratings on Fox declined about 12 percent, according to Nielsen Media Research. The Daytona 500 drew 16 million viewers this year, compared with 17.8 million last year.

As a result, NASCAR has sought to trim costs, cutting somewhere between 600 to 800 team members during the winter, and banning tests between races, which saves about $1 million per car. This lower overhead has helped some teams offer sponsorships for, say, $8 million instead of $10 million, Giangola says.

LINK:Jack Daniel's, Jim Beam lose their NASCAR spirits, race out of their deals -- DailyFinance

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Discussion Starter #3


DOVER, Del. (Sunday, Sept. 27, 2009) – Kurt Busch and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team backed up a sixth-place finish at New Hampshire last week in the first of 10 races in the Chase for the Championship with a sterling effort Sunday at Dover International Speedway, finishing fifth in the AAA 400.

The performance moves Busch up one spot to fourth in the Chase standings, just 70 points behind leader Mark Martin.

AJ Allmendinger and Kasey Kahne also drove Dodge Chargers to top-10 finishes in the 400-lap event on the one-mile, high-banked concrete oval. Allmendinger was seventh in the No. 44 Super 8 Dodge while Kahne was right behind in eight in the No. 9 Budweiser Dodge. It was Allmendinger’s best finish since a seventh at Infineon, 12 races ago.

Busch started 16th, but had moved to 10th by lap 15. From there, the No. 2 Dodge was never out of the top 10. Busch led twice for 99 laps and his over-the-wall crew performed flawlessly on pit road.

“It was a really good run for our Miller Lite Dodge,” Busch said. “We put it up front most of the day and put ourselves in position (to win). A couple of guys were quicker than us at the end. We wanted to come and get tires (during the last caution). It’s a tough call. You want to go for the win, but at the same time, you’ve got to get a good solid finish. So, we decided to stay out and hang on. I’m proud of my guys. We had excellent pit stops. It was a nice solid day for us. The track got rubbered in and when it did, we were tight on corner exit. Tight on corner exit slows the car on the straightaway. If we can tweak that, we’ll be after them. The Miller Lite Dodge was solid. I felt like we had a nice rhythm today. All in all, a good run for our Dodge.”

Kahne’s Dodge started sixth and raced in the top five early before handling issues dropped the No. 9 outside the top 15. Crew Chief Kenny Francis and the crew found the remedy to put Kahne in position to rally back. He moved from 16th to eighth in the final 40 laps.

“Our Budweiser Dodge was pretty decent today,” said Kahne. “We battled all day and I’m proud of all my guys for their effort. We struggled a bit with the splitter hitting the ground. Kenny (Francis, crew chief) and the guys dug all day trying to get us a top-10 finish and we did. We struggled a bit on pit lane today which is unusual for our Budweiser guys. We didn’t pick up as many spots in the Chase that we would have liked, but we performed well and didn’t lose any ground. There’s plenty of racing left in the Chase and we’re going to give the guys in front of us everything we’ve got.”

Allmendinger started 19th, but once he worked his way into the top 15 by lap 60, he never fell out. A late stop for four tires provided the catalyst for a top-10 finish.

“Our Super 8 Dodge was really good today,” said Allmendinger. “I thought everyone on the 44 team was awesome today. Hopefully, we can run strong like this in the final eight races to show everyone what kind of team that we have. It was a smooth day. The conditions were tough today. At one point, it felt like the water was seeping up through the racetrack, it was so slick out there. We just kept fighting. With 25 laps to go, we just took a guess at what changes we wanted to make and it seemed to work. We were just a little bit loose all day. I’m just proud of everybody.”

The race was stopped for just over 23 minutes following a six-car mishap on lap 31. None of the drivers were injured including rookie Joey Logano whose race car rolled seven times before coming to stop. There were a total of nine cautions for 38 laps.

Driver Team Finished
Kurt Busch No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge 5th
AJ Allmendinger No. 44 Super 8 Dodge 7th
Kasey Kahne No. 9 Budweiser Dodge 8th
Sam Hornish Jr. No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge 26th
David Stremme No. 12 Penske Racing Dodge 29th
Elliott Sadler No. 19 Geek Squad Dodge 30th
Reed Sorenson No. 43 Valvoline Dodge 35th

Driver Rank Starts Points Behind Wins Poles T5s T10s
Kurt Busch 4 28 5400 -75 1 0 8 16
Kasey Kahne 12 28 5211 -189 2 0 5 11
AJ Allmendinger 24 28 2689 -2711 0 0 1 4
Elliott Sadler 25 28 2631 -2769 0 0 1 4
Sam Hornish Jr. 27 28 2571 -2829 0 0 1 3
Reed Sorenson 28 28 2503 -2897 0 0 0 1
David Stremme 31 28 2444 -2956 0 0 0 0

(Second Of 10 Races In The Chase)
Pos. Driver Points Behind
1. Mark Martin 5,400 –
2. Jimmie Johnson 5,390 -10
3. Juan P. Montoya 5,335 -65
4. Kurt Busch 5,325 -75
5. Tony Stewart 5,294 -106
6. Denny Hamlin 5,292 -108
7. Ryan Newman 5,290 -110
8. Jeff Gordon 5,278 -122
9. Greg Biffle 5,262 -138
10. Brian Vickers 5,249 -151
11. Carl Edwards 5,247 -153
12. Kasey Kahne 5,211 -189
AAA 400 Results
Dover International Speedway
Sunday, Sept. 27, 2009
Race 28 of 36
1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Mark Martin
3. Matt Kenseth
4. Juan Pablo Montoya
5. Kurt Busch
6. Jeff Gordon
7. AJ Allmendinger
8. Kasey Kahne
9. Tony Stewart
10. Ryan Newman
(Other Dodge Drivers)
26. Sam Hornish Jr.
29. David Stremme
30. Elliott Sadler
35. Reed Sorenson
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