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June 28, 2010

Mustang kicks way into NASCAR racing

The Ford Mustang is making its NASCAR track debut Friday night.

The pony car will compete at the Subway Jalapeno 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series at Daytona. There will be at least one Dodge Challenger in the field, as well.

To sweeten the pot, Ford Motor Co. said Monday that any Ford driver who wins Friday will be rewarded with a 2011 Mustang GT.

"Mustang and its debut in NASCAR is undoubtedly a huge story for fans and enthusiasts, and we want to make its debut a little more special for our drivers competing in the race," said Jamie Allison, director of Ford North America Motorsports. "With a win, they have a chance to put their name down next to some of the Mustang racing legends."

LINK: Mustang kicks way into NASCAR racing | | The Detroit News

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Dodge Challenger Returns To Competition At Daytona International Speedway

June 28, 2010

“Challenger Will Make First Appearance In NASCAR Competition Since The 1980s”

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (Monday, July 28, 2010) – The Dodge Challenger returns to NASCAR competition this weekend for the first time since the 1980s. Penske Racing’s Brad Keselowski and Justin Allgaier will drive Dodge Challengers in Friday night’s Subway 250 at Daytona International Speedway (DIS), the first of four races this season for the new-generation race car in the Nationwide Series. Full integration is planned for 2011.

The Dodge Challenger race cars carry the distinctive front-end styling of the production Challenger. It was the same almost 30 years ago; the Challenger had its own identity.

Virginian James “Chubby” Arrington fielded Dodge race cars throughout the 1980s, including the Challenger with such drivers as Satch Worley, Joe Thurman and Jimmy Hensley. Worley finished 15th in Arrington’s No. 29 Dodge Challenger in the Late Model Sportsman (now Nationwide) event at Daytona in February 1983.

Arrington, a driver himself in the 1960s before focusing on ownership, gave his Challenger a unique look by necessity. “We were running a little low on funds and just about everybody that worked on the car would bring something to the shop to help out with the race car. One of the boys who worked in the school system, he brought some yellow paint. That’s how the yellow paint scheme got started.”

Arrington’s Challenger was painted yellow, but they certainly weren’t slow. The lone Dodge in the field at most races, Arrington’s drivers raced hard and up front.

It will be no different this weekend at the “World Center of Speed” as both Keselowski and Allgaier have been hard-charging since the teams unloaded for the season opener in February. In 16 starts at the wheel of the No. 22 Dodge from Penske Racing, Keselowski has three poles, three wins and a string of 15 straight top-10 finishes, 13 of which were top fives. The only finish outside the top 10 was a 13th in that first race at DIS. Keselowski currently has a 247-point advantage over Carl Edwards in the season standings.

Allgaier picked up his first career win in the Nationwide Series earlier this year at Bristol along with five top-five and nine top-10 finishes. He is currently third in the point standings, best among Nationwide regulars.

When Arrington needed a race car, he was off to the junk yard looking for a wrecked Challenger, which the team would strip down and rebuild for the track. While it wasn’t always easy to find a Challenger, that didn’t sway his loyalty to the Dodge brand. “I just liked being different,” he said. “Most of the time I had the only Dodge at the track. That’s kind of the way it is now, just two or three Dodges, but they are running up front. That’s the way we were with the Challenger. They knew we were there.”

Although he retired in the mid-1990s, there’s been plenty of activity in the Rocky Mount shop. Arrington and his son, Arnie, have recently restored a 1974 Dodge Challenger. .”We had the build sheet, put it back exactly the way it was,” he said. “We did add a few extras to make it a little streamline, but could put it back to stock without any problem. That was the last year Dodge built the car, 1974, the last of the hot rods. It’s light blue, a real pretty car.”

The Nationwide Series will be on the track Wednesday at 1 p.m. for a four-hour practice session. Two more practice sessions are scheduled for Thursday with qualifying Friday at 1:05 p.m. The 100-lap, 200-mile race is set for 8 p.m. Friday night.

Dodge has several special events scheduled during the weekend:

Concert at Daytona Dodge – The New York City-based rock band Atomic Tom will perform at Daytona Dodge on Thursday. The concert begins at 7:15 p.m. The group’s first single was “Take Me Out” and their upcoming debut album includes “We Were Never Meant To Be” and “The Moment”. Daytona Dodge Chrysler Jeep is located at 1450 North Tomoka Farms Road. Beach 92.7 FM will be on remote at Daytona Dodge from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday.

Dodge Challenger Owners – More than 50 Dodge Challenger owners will be the guest of Dodge during the weekend including the concert at Daytona Dodge on Thursday night and the racing activities at DIS on Friday and Saturday. The owners will be staying in the Daytona Beach area, and the cars can be seen as they move around the city throughout the weekend.

Dodge Trackside Display – The Dodge Interactive Display will be open throughout the racing weekend featuring a variety of Dodge Challengers and activities for the fans, including visits by the Dodge drivers. The display is located just outside turn four at DIS.

About Chrysler Group LLC

Chrysler Group LLC, formed in 2009 from a global strategic alliance with Fiat Group, produces Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram and Mopar brand vehicles and products. With the resources, technology and worldwide distribution network required to compete effectively on a global scale; the alliance builds on Chrysler’s culture of innovation –first established by Walter P. Chrysler in 1925 – and Fiat’s complementary technology.

Headquartered in Auburn Hills, Mich., Chrysler Group LLC’s product lineup features some of the world’s most recognizable vehicles, including the Chrysler Town & Country, Jeep Wrangler, Dodge Challenger and Ram 1500. Fiat will contribute world-class technology, platforms and powertrains for small and medium-sized cars, allowing Chrysler Group LLC to offer an expanded product line including environmentally friendly vehicles.

- Dodge Motorsports Press Release

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Dodge Brand Amplifies High-performance Action Around Daytona

* Dodge will host more than 100 Dodge Challenger owners and their vehicles during the weekend when Dodge Challenger returns to NASCAR competition in Nationwide Series after an almost 30 year absence

* Interactive trackside Dodge display features various activities, giveaways and driver autograph sessions

* Rock band Atomic Tom to perform on Thursday, July 1, at Daytona Dodge

Auburn Hills, Mich. , Jun 29, 2010 -

Before Friday night’s highly anticipated return of the Dodge Challenger to NASCAR Nationwide Series’ competition after almost 30 years, the Dodge brand will play a key role in providing Challenger owners and fans with a wide array of pre-race action and activities in and around Daytona International Speedway.

“Our new Dodge Challenger race car brings true brand identity back to NASCAR, so now the spotlight is going to be shared between the new car and our two star drivers from Penske Racing,” said Ralph Gilles, President and CEO, Dodge Brand. “We’ve been looking forward to this race weekend for quite some time, and our loyal owners and fans are going to have a lot of opportunities to celebrate the return of the Dodge Challenger.”

Leading off all the action during race week will be the performance by New York City-based rock band Atomic Tom at Daytona Dodge on Thursday, July 1. The group’s first single was “Take Me Out,” and its upcoming debut album includes “We Were Never Meant To Be” and “The Moment.” The concert will begin at 7:15 p.m. EDT at Daytona Dodge, 1450 North Tomoka Farms Road. WBHQ-FM – Beach 92.7 FM also will be on remote at Daytona Dodge from 6-8 p.m.

Dodge Motorsports also will offer a full onslaught of activities located at the brand’s trackside display area just outside Turn 4 at Daytona International Speedway, including:

* Dodge Pit Crew Challenge where fans can compete head to head or against the time clock to see who can perform a quickest simulated tire change
* Driver autograph sessions on Friday, July 2, and Saturday, July 3. Kurt Busch, Sam Hornish Jr. and Justin Allgaier are scheduled to attend. Fans should check with onsite display staff for actual appearance times
* Online E-Shots offers fans a chance to have a downloadable photo taken next to the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge show car
* Dodge Challenger Chase to Win Sweepstakes where fans can enter to win a new Dodge Challenger R/T
* An opportunity for fans to enter to win a day (of their choice) at the SRT Track Experience, which visits 20 premier race tracks around the country. One lucky fan will win a day consisting of four driving modules that test the limits of select SRT vehicles in a safe and controlled environment
* Vote for your favorite color Dodge Challenger: What color will win? Plum Crazy Purple? TorRed? Detonator Yellow? HEMI® Orange? Fans who vote will get a limited-edition Dodge bandana. Votes will be tallied throughout the weekend so watch the leader board for the winning color
* Play race trivia and "Spin to Win" for various prizes
* Fans can also check out all the Dodge Life and Dodge Motorsports merchandise and get a chance to see, up close and personal, the full line-up of exciting 2010 model Dodge vehicles

Hours of operation for the Dodge Motorsports display at Daytona International Speedway are: Friday, July 1, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, July 2, from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

About Dodge
Dodge is a full line of cars, SUVs and MPVs that are agile, daring, sensible and inventive. The product line includes the Dodge Caliber, Dodge Avenger, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger, Dodge Grand Caravan, Dodge Journey, Dodge Nitro and Dodge Viper SRT10.

Dodge introduced two new vehicles for the 2009 model year: the all-new 2009 Dodge Journey, the brand’s first crossover vehicle and the 2009 Dodge Challenger, a modern-day American muscle car. Dodge also celebrated the 25th anniversary of the minivan during the 2009 model year. With more than 65 minivan-firsts introduced since 1983 and more than 12 million Dodge and Chrysler minivans sold, Chrysler Group LLC has solidified its leadership in the segment. J.D. Power and Associates further acknowledged this leadership by naming the Dodge Grand Caravan the Most Dependable Van for 2009. The 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan continues to set the mark in the minivan segment with unsurpassed fuel economy of 17 city / 25 highway mpg and minivan-first innovations including the segment’s only Stow ‘n Go® and Swivel ‘n Go® seating and storage systems. The 2010 Dodge Journey and 2010 Dodge Avenger (with ESC) also earned the 2009 Top Safety Pick rating from the IIHS.

Also in 2008, the Dodge Journey entered key volume markets outside North America, joining the Dodge Avenger, Nitro and Caliber. Dodge Caliber was the highest sales volume vehicle for the company outside North America in 2008.

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Daytona International Speedway

Daytona International Speedway

Date Series Driver Speed
2/17/80 Sprint Cup Race Buddy Baker 178.00
2/14/10 Sprint Cup Qualifying Mark Martin 191.188
7/4/08 Nationwide Race Denny Hamlin 156.00
2/17/01 Nationwide Qualifying Joe Nemechek 186.966
2/17/06 Camping World Truck Race Mark Martin 147.00
2/13/04 Camping World Truck Qualifying Terry Cook 183.643

Nationwide Series
Upcoming Race Jul 2
Subway Jalapeno 250 Powered By Coca-Cola
Friday 8 PM ESPN

Track Facts
Daytona International Speedway

Location: Daytona Beach, FL
Banking/Turns: Superspeedway
Distance: 2.50 miles
Shape: Superspeedway

Date Race Name Pole Winner Race Winner Make Purse

2/13/10 DRIVE4COPD 300 Kyle Busch Tony Stewart Chevrolet $2,740,505
7/3/09 Subway Jalapeno 250 Powered By Coca-Cola Clint Bowyer Clint Bowyer Chevrolet $1,568,584
2/14/09 Camping World 300 Kevin Harvick Tony Stewart Chevrolet $2,649,171
7/4/08 Winn-Dixie 250 Powered by Coca-Cola Bryan Clauson Denny Hamlin Toyota $1,573,115
2/16/08 Camping World 300 presented by Chevrolet Tony Stewart Tony Stewart Toyota $2,640,772
7/7/07 Winn-Dixie 250 Jason Leffler Kyle Busch Chevrolet $1,552,701
2/17/07 Orbitz 300 Aric Almirola Kevin Harvick Chevrolet $2,596,288
6/30/06 Winn-Dixie 250 J.J. Yeley Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet $1,519,269
2/18/06 Hershey's Kissables 300 J.J. Yeley Tony Stewart Chevrolet $2,629,362

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Dodge Unveils NASCAR Challenger

Dodge Unveils NASCAR Challenger Ahead of Friday Nights Nationwide Race
June 30, 2010,

With Ford recently drawing back the curtain on its NASCAR Mustang for this weekend’s Nationwide Series race, Dodge has followed suit with one seriously retro-looking racer. In addition to the Penske Racing car, Dodge will host over 100 Challenger owners, put on a rock concert and provide plenty of other activities at its display area outside Turn 4 at Daytona International Speedway.

“Our new Dodge Challenger race car brings true brand identity back to NASCAR, so now the spotlight is going to be shared between the new car and our two star drivers from Penske Racing,” said Dodge Brand President Ralph Gilles. “We’ve been looking forward to this race weekend for quite some time, and our loyal owners and fans are going to have a lot of opportunities to celebrate the return of the Dodge Challenger.”

At Daytona fans will have a chance to win a new Challenger R/T as well as an SRT Track Experience, plus they can get signed autographs from Kurt Busch, Sam Hornish Jr. and Justin Allgaier.

GALLERY: Dodge Challenger NASCAR Racer

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Dodge Motorsports NNS Race Advance - Subway Jalapeno 250 - Daytona International Speedway

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. , Jun 30, 2010 - For Immediate Release
Dodge Motorsports NNS Race Advance
Subway Jalapeno 250
Daytona International Speedway
Friday, July 2, 2010

Dodge in 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series
With 16 races completed in the 2010 season, Penske Racing’s two NASCAR Nationwide Series entries have combined for four poles, four wins, 18 top-five and 24 top-10 finishes. Penske Dodges have an average starting position of 11.2, an average finish of 7.3, have completed 5,977 of 5,998 laps contested, and have been atop the leaderboard for 702 laps.

JUSTIN ALLGAIER – No. 12 Verizon Wireless Dodge

• Allgaier earned his first NASCAR Nationwide Series win this year at Bristol Motor Speedway, leading a 1-2 finish for Penske Racing and Dodge.
• Allgaier has earned one pole this season (Nashville).
• In three previous NASCAR Nationwide Series starts at Daytona International Speedway, Allgaier has one top-five and two top-10 finishes.
• Allgaier is currently ranked third in the championship point standings, 440 markers behind leader and Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski, and 193 points behind second-place contender Carl Edwards.

BRAD KESELOWSKI – No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge

• After 16 races, Keselowski and the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge team currently lead the Nationwide Series driver point standings by 247 points over Carl Edwards.
• Keselowski earned back-to-back wins at Talladega and Richmond earlier this season.
• Keselowski leads the Nationwide Series in top-five finishes (13), top-10 finishes (15) and laps completed. He has completed all 2,999 laps contested this season and has led the field for 586 circuits.
• Keselowski extended his NASCAR Nationwide Series record of 83 consecutive races without a DNF (Did Not Finish) at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last week.

• Friday night’s Nationwide Series race marks the first time that a Dodge Challenger has competed in NASCAR competition since the early 1980s. Virginian James “Chubby” Arrington fielded Dodge race cars in the late 1970s and 1980s with several drivers, including Satch Worley, who finished 15th in Arrington’s No. 29 Dodge Challenger at Daytona (February, 1983) in what is now known as the Nationwide Series.

• Dodge will host more than 100 Dodge Challenger owners and their vehicles during the weekend when Dodge Challenger returns to NASCAR competition in Nationwide Series after an almost 30 year absence.

* Parker Kligerman will drive a third car from Penske Racing this weekend, the No. 26 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger.

“Bringing back the pony car, especially the Dodge Challenger and the way that it looks, it has a mean and aggressive look to it. One of the biggest complaints when the Cup car came out was how big and boxy they looked. NASCAR’s done a great job of going back in and trying to fix some of the things that they didn’t like about the original car. The cool part for me is that I get to drive a car that the average fan can go down and buy at the dealership. Short of bolting a spoiler and fin on the back window, it is very similar to the production Challenger.”
Justin Allgaier, No. 12 Verizon Wireless Challenger

“I’m really excited to debut the new Dodge Challenger this weekend. I think the fans are going to enjoy the character that these new cars are going to bring to the Nationwide Series. If you took the spoiler off this car, it looks just like one you can buy in any Dodge showroom in America. My dad and uncle raced Challengers back in the 70s, so this is something that really hits home for me. Those cars were some of the coolest race cars ever and I think this new Challenger is right up there with them.
Brad Keselowski, No. 22 Discount Tire Challenger

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Dodge Motorsports - NASCAR Nationwide Series Teleconference - Ralph Gilles and Jamie Allison

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. , Jul 1, 2010 -

Courtesy of NASCAR

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everybody. Welcome to today's NASCAR teleconference, which is in advance of Friday night's historic NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway, the Subway Jalapeño 250 Powered by Coca-Cola will mark the debut of the new car in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

This is a project that's been three-plus years in the making and it finally gets to the track for its first official points race. The new car will race three more times this year at various-sized tracks, and that will be Michigan, Richmond and Charlotte before being fully integrated into the series next year. Competitive balance, safety and creating an identity for the series are the key goals of the new car, and fans and drivers alike are buzzing about that identity which now includes the Dodge Challenger, the Ford Mustang in addition to the sporty looks of Chevy's Impala and Toyota's Camry.

And this afternoon we are joined by two men who can attest to the specifics of that new car identity, Jamie Allison, Ford's director of North American motorsports, and Ralph Gilles, president and CEO of Dodge.
Jamie and Ralph, thanks so much for joining us today. This is a somewhat unprecedented appearance by two different manufacturers together, but you're both really excited about the introduction of the NASCAR Nationwide Series new car, and specifically, your models, and how those models look so much like what those of us who are not NASCAR drivers drive on the road today. Can you both talk about that? Jamie first, and then Ralph.

JAMIE ALLISON: Thank you for that introduction. You used the word "historic." We are using seismic but any way you slice it, this is a major event of its own right. From Mustang's perspective, Mustang has been involved in all forms of motorsports from land speed records to drag racing to sports car racing and recently in drifting, and now we are adding to it, stock car racing. There have been nine million Mustangs sold since 1964, and I consider every one of those a potential fan for watching Mustang make its appearance in Nationwide. So we are very thrilled and excited, working with NASCAR to return some of the brand identity into the cars that are raced in comparison to the cars that we sell. So we are very thrilled and excited. It will be a fantastic race and looking forward to the event at Daytona.

THE MODERATOR: Ralph, what about from Dodge's perspective?

RALPH GILLES: Hats off to the NASCAR and Nationwide series managers and for making it look easy. I think it looks easy when it's all said and done; but three years in the making, lots of collaboration behind the scenes to make sure the parity was there, a lot of aerodynamic tunnel work, spent a lot of time, working and making sure with Ford that we are all Even Steven, so that we can have fun and not ever lose this advantage we now have. As a carmaker, we are happy. For us, it's the return of Challenger. We have been absent almost two decades from racing. My hat's off to Ford for such a prolific racing program. For us, it's a big deal. We like the fact that our customers are connecting. We are already seeing some very good noise, or I guess, feedback or excitement, so to speak on the social media side of things, so it's pretty cool. It's exciting.

THE MODERATOR: Can both of you talk about the process that has gone on over this three-year period to get to this stage over at the track today? The teams are going through the very first inspection process with the new car, and with the three-year process in the making, and our series director Joe Balash has consistently spoken about how the manufacturers have been so integral in making sure that we get to this point in addition to working with our teams.
So Ralph, if you would start off a bit and give us a little background on what the manufacturers have done to assist in getting the Nationwide Series new car to this stage.

RALPH GILLES: In our case, working with Roger's teams, Penske and our engineers. No. 1, it's very rare that we get a relatively clean slate like this. We wanted to make sure we addressed a lot of issues. A lot of it is also cost management. There's a lot of things that we are -- not redundant, unfortunately a lot of unique things on our Saturday and Sunday program. So there's a lot more consolidation and a lot of safety advancements that have come from the Sunday series are now in the Nationwide Series.

We are pretty excited to see some of these very, very diver-centric safety moves, moving the seat further to the middle of the car, balancing the car a little better, longer wheel base. A lot of lessons learned that make the car safer but easier -- I shouldn't say easier but more appropriate to racing at that level at that speed; so we are very happy with that.
It also helps Roger's team, and ultimately, all of the competitors, save a lot of costs. They don't have to develop now triplicate stuff or duplicate stuff. That's No. 1. But most of the work, I have to admit, went into aero; a lot of wind tunnel time, and keep in mind, we only have one full-size wind tunnel. So we had to squeeze it in between normal production work, so it's very critical. Probably got more attention than any other racing program we have ever done because of the aero; it's so critical when you are trying to get such a distinct front end, but yet not to have any loss in parity.
So that's really where most of the focus was. The rest of the stuff was pretty black-and-tackle, safety-oriented stuff.

THE MODERATOR: How about from's perspective?
JAMIE ALLISON: I want to echo everything Ralph mentioned in terms of making sure as we include in the brand identity to the car, not to compromise its ability to be competitive on the track, because not only now will you have a Dodge versus a Challenger going against each other, but also, they are going to have to compete with the two other cars that are basically -- have basically remained unchanged. Competitiveness was very key, emphasis on aero. Also, I'm sure, and within Dodge, because I've seen the Dodge car and it looks just fantastic, clearly, there was -- at Ford we did a lot of work with the brand team to make sure that the car is recognizable as a Mustang as is the Challenger recognizable, Challenger. So the inclusion of the brand team, the integration of the brand cues, to make sure that the car, when you see it go around the turns, that it's recognizable as a Mustang is the added element on top of what Ralph mentioned in terms of the competitiveness of the car.

Q. Can you talk about whether you're starting any sort of show car program with these cars and when do you think you'll be able to implement them in TV advertising?
JAMIE ALLISON: We already have a show car working with Conway, who is one of the sponsors in the Nationwide Series, and we have -- when we have taken the car out on shows, there have been people who have come out to literally stand next to it and take a picture with it. Something that we have not seen when we have taken the traditional NASCAR Car of Tomorrow. So clearly, there is a lot of interest, a lot of piqued interest in seeing what the car looks like and a lot with the affiliation that it's a Mustang in an historic entry in NASCAR. Yes, we have a show car program, yes people are interested and yes it's working.

RALPH GILLES: We have had the very same experience over here at the Challenger. We have a show car, as well. We debuted it last year, showed it mostly to the media not, so much the public; but very, very positive feedback. And one image that leaked out and went crazy on the Internet, a lot of it -- especially the existing fans for Challenger really celebrated a lot and there was a lot of debate and discussion about, is this really going to happen. They couldn't believe that Nationwide NASCAR would look this way.
I think the conversation out there is fantastic to see what Ford and Dodge are doing out there, it's great.

Q. Jamie has been positive about the reaction for Mustang fans and based on that reaction, Ford is looking at possibly taking the Mustang to Cup as their brand a new years down the road. Is Dodge considering the same possibility, based off the buzz that you were talking about from fans? Is there a lot of positive buzz, and would you ever consider running the Challenger in Cup based off of that?

RALPH GILLES: I think the Challenger, the look of the Challenger is part and parcel with what happens with the Sprint Cup Series. It would be up to NASCAR, because that's another game altogether is to go to the Sunday race. We have to really change the rules there. So part of the experiment here; it's obviously a public experiment. We have four races this year and an entire season next year. I have always said this to my friends at NASCAR; that eventually the fans will kind of tell us what to do. I think the excitement will be very loud and clear, and then we'll have to see what happens.
But in the meantime, I'm enjoying -- I'm lucky that I have two very nice muscle cars in my portfolio. So I enjoy two avenues for which to promote them, so I couldn't be happier.

Q. We heard Kevin Harvick speak this morning and as a Nationwide owner, he thinks that bringing in the pony cars will even out the playing field. I was told that after Saturday's race there were a couple of Ford drivers that went to the truck, I won't say complaining, but perhaps lobbying against the Toyotas. Is it your contention that starting from scratch, everybody is, you know, kind of at square one and going on from there?

JAMIE ALLISON: To answer your question, I think the question centers more on performance and engine -- I think NASCAR has taken out and noted (ph) to the various engine manufacturers in Nationwide, and that effort is going to prove itself out in terms of appropriate parity around horsepower and performance.
So I don't think the fact that we are bringing in a Mustang bodied entry in a Challenger is re-opening a clean slate of paper. The bodies have changed, but my understanding is the chassis are still carryover and the engine is still carryover. So the competitiveness of the various entries in the current state is being evaluated, independent of what they look like.

RALPH GILLES: It's always tough to talk about this kind of stuff, but I'm curious to see what happens. That's kind of why there's only four races. We need to kind of see how everything plays out, and there will be a lot of discussion, a lot of post-race analysis to find out what's going on.
So we really, really won't know until the end of Saturday night. So we'll have to see what happens.

Q. I saw you on Wind Tunnel and we saw you on the airport yesterday and couldn't catch you, I guess you were coming back from Charlotte. Can you address what was going on at New Hampshire on the Cup side? You almost had -- obviously you saw some advancement with Kasey Kahne and Allmendinger running well on the RPM side, but Roush still seems to be out to lunch. Is there some sort of hope for that organization in the short term?

JAMIE ALLISON: Well, I'll see you in Daytona (Laughter). We can talk in more detail.
I think for this call, you know, let's talk about Mustang and Challenger and the exciting opportunity that's going to be instituted for Nationwide, and the progression of what's going on in Cup and team opportunities, I mean, on one end, we really have a lot of collaboration that's going on between our two teams in NASCAR, and the fruits of that effort will pay fruits later. But for this car, let's focus maybe more on Mustang and Challenger. But I'll talk to you in person when I see you in Daytona. We'll catch up there.

Q. It used to be Ford versus Chevy versus Toyota from fans who would battle it out over their favorite manufacturer, and you know, it seemed like that died down a little bit. Do you think these cars this weekend in the Nationwide Series and what you are talking about competitively with the different look rises that up again, and maybe you can talk about that, both of you?

RALPH GILLES: I'll take that one on. Yes, and I hope that's what happens.
I've said it already: I think the drivers have taken quite a bit of limelight, and there's nothing wrong with that. They are great personalities, and we are finding the drivers, they are almost superstars amongst themselves, and it would be nice to get the cars get a little limelight again and then start talking about branding. Over the years, the cars have become somewhat of a template, and it's hard to argue with some of the fans shifting the interest towards the drivers.
But I remember being the kid, even recently the movie, the cars movie, re-introduced this idea of having branding, very obvious and branding on the cars. You could recognize them as old cars and whatnot. So there's something really cool about being able to identify the car that you may want to drive or your dad may drive or whatever. I think it's very powerful and it's what the whole industry was invented for in the first place was to market vehicles.

JAMIE ALLISON: I'll add to that. This is the case where the cars are going to be the stars. We all buy cars. We are all -- one from another, tend to affiliate with our cars. I'm a Mustang kind of guy, and when I drive a Mustang, when I bought my first Mustang there was a deep emotional connection that I have with that car.
And I think many of the fans feel the same way is that when you see a Mustang or Challenger going around Daytona, it's a different type of connection that you have with it, because either your friends or neighbor or somebody you know has a Mustang and you can relate to it versus what has transpired over the years of taking away that brand identity that people could relate to. So, you know, we have gone through an era where obviously it was a manufacturer's battle, and then gone to an era where the drivers were the stars, and now we are entering an era where the cars are the stars, and I think it's good for the sport. We will see how it turns out here in the next few races and into next year.

Q. When do you think the drivers started becoming the stars?

RALPH GILLES: There's one guy with a mustache who really did the whole thing. (Laughter).

JAMIE ALLISON: Yeah, and obviously once the brand identity was removed from what's on the track, naturally as human beings, we all gravitate to kind of attaching ourselves to something, and the something that we are attaching ourselves to was these heros, these cars, the man with the mustache, going out and meeting everybody, it's a natural progression of identifying with somebody when you can no longer identify with the car.

RALPH GILLES: And I think over the time just like some superstars are identified by some of the cars that were in their movies, there's room for both. I think the drivers and the cars can coexist beautifully as a team.
And I know my guy on Sunday, Kurt, he races Challengers privately a hobby, so he's really a Mopar guy through and through. There's some good back stories behind, this too, and we hope to develop that as time goes on.

JAMIE ALLISON: I agree, Ralph, that's a good addition, it could be cars and drivers as stars in a good way.

Q. The old adage used to be sell on Monday, win on Sunday, how will you guys measure success with this new car, and how will you track what kind of a bump you get from this, and obviously, the techniques for doing that are much more advanced these days but how will you know what you're doing is working?

JAMIE ALLISON: Today what we do, we do track from the race on Sunday, hopefully win on Sunday and sell on Monday, and a lot of that activity shifts itself into the activity off the track in terms of being able to display data capture and match that to sales. So we have a pretty prolific methods of tracking our participation in the sport to actual sales of our products. I think this adds another dimension. We have legions of fans who have followed the nine million things that have been born at Ford. We have a lot of clubs, and so does Challenger. There's a lot of clubs out there. We have a total of around 40,000 club members that are a part of a specific club or another, and all of a sudden, they are rising up, affiliating with what we have done here, putting the car in NASCAR. We will measure success in terms of affiliation. We will measure success in terms of hand-raisers. We will measure success in terms of all of the social media chatter that we'll take on and all of the PR, so there's other levels of metrics that will rise up because of this occurrence, because the actual selling of being affiliated with the sport is already taking place through our other metrics.

RALPH GILLES: I will build on that; we are doing the very same things as Jamie, and on top of that we recently spiffed up our motorsports site and watching the lower funnel activity really closely, and there will be a spike after the race. And we will watch this weekend very carefully. The other thing is merchandising. We have created some new merchandising to go with Challenger, and we will see if sales pick up. There's definitely a love affair starting to build. And then listen to our dealers, talk to our dealers and get some feedback, if they saw any action or commentary about the races. It's a brand new thing in a way so we are going to have to find new ways to measure it.

THE MODERATOR: Jamie, Ralph, thanks again for your time today, some very insightful conversation and we appreciate you taking the time and we are all looking very, very forward to Friday's night race and the first official appearance for the NASCAR Nationwide Series new cars on the track. So congratulations on your pieces and best of luck to both of you out there on Friday night and again on Saturday with the Cup race.

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Discussion Starter #8
Earnhardt drives No. 3 to Daytona victory

Earnhardt drives No. 3 to Daytona victory

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP)—It had been 85 points races since Dale Earnhardt Jr. made it to Victory Lane.

The end of the drought finally came at Daytona International Speedway, in the famed No. 3 car, in race that honored his late father and stirred emotions to even the most stoic NASCAR fan.

Earnhardt raced to his first victory since 2008 on Friday night, driving a tribute car to his father in the Nationwide Series race. It was Earnhardt’s first points win since his Sprint Cup Series victory at Michigan in 2008, and his first Nationwide win since Michigan in 2006.

His celebration was subdued.

“I was just relieved,” he said. “Victory Lane’s like when you’re a little kid and you’ve got a tree house or you and your buddies got a clubhouse in the woods. That’s what Victory Lane is to me, and I like going there. You miss it really bad, but you know it’s there and you can get back there again if you try really hard.

“It’s not gone, but it’s very difficult to get into. Every time I win, I just soak it up like a sponge.”

Earnhardt took the lead on pit road under caution with 26 laps to go Friday night in the Nationwide race. Running a No. 3 Chevrolet with a Wrangler paint scheme to honor his father’s induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Earnhardt brought his loyal fans to their feet for the final sprint to the checkered flag.

“I was so worried that I wasn’t going to win, because nothing but winning was good enough,” Earnhardt said. “If you didn’t win, what a waste of time. I worked hard to try to win it, not only for Daddy, I am proud of him going into the Hall of Fame, and he would be proud of this, I’m sure.

“Just all his fans. He had so many great fans. Not just mine. This is for his fans. Hopefully, they enjoyed this.”

Paul Menard’s wreck with four laps to go put the outcome in jeopardy, and Earnhardt, the leader, decided not to pit under the caution. On old tires, he had to hold off Joey Logano and a slew of Cup regulars.

Tony Eury Jr., Earnhardt’s cousin and crew chief, was overcome with emotion as Earnhardt crossed the finish line.

“We lost everything here,” Eury said softly. “To come back with that number and do this, it means everything.”

Dale Earnhardt was killed in a last-lap accident in the 2001 Daytona 500.

Earnhardt Jr. agreed to drive the No. 3, his father’s famed number, with the Wrangler paint scheme that the elder Earnhardt made famous and drove to one of his seven Cup championships. The promotion celebrated last month’s inaugural Hall of Fame induction ceremony and was a collaboration with Richard Childress, who owns the rights to the No. 3 and was Earnhardt’s car owner, Earnhardt’s widow, Teresa, and JR Motorsports.

“I was so worried that I wasn’t going to win,” Earnhardt said in Victory Lane. “Nothing but a win was good enough. It’s emotional, I’m proud of myself, I’m proud of what I’ve done with this group. It was trying emotionally to put it together.”

It was Earnhardt’s third time driving the No. 3 since his father’s death, and he said this week he wouldn’t do it again—which he reiterated from Victory Lane.

“This is it. No more 3 for me,” he said.

Logano, who pushed Earnhardt on the final restart, finished second in a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and considered in the closing laps how unpopular beating Earnhardt would have been.

“I probably gained a lot of fans tonight by pushing the 3 to victory, but I’d much rather be in Victory Lane,” Logano said. “It’s cool to see the 3 in Victory Lane at Daytona. It’s really neat. A lot of people thought they would never see that again.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was third in a Ford for Roush-Fenway Racing. Brad Keselowski was fourth in a revamped Dodge Challenger for Penske Racing, while Kevin Harvick—the driver who replaced Earnhardt following his death—was fifth in a Chevrolet from Kevin Harvick Inc.

Defending race winner Clint Bowyer was sixth and was followed by Kyle Busch and Ryan Newman. Brian Ickler and Steve Arpin, driving a JR Motorsports car, rounded out the top 10.

The race was the first of four this season for revamped Nationwide Series cars—NASCAR’s attempt to give the second-tier series its own identity. Ford brought back the Mustang and Dodge rolled out a Challenger, while Toyota stuck with its Camry and Chevrolet an Impala. The cars will be fully integrated in 2011.


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Discussion Starter #9
NASCAR Results

Status: Final

Last Updated: Saturday, Jul 3, 2010 2:41 am, EDT
Subway Jalapeno 250 Powered By Coca-Cola

Daytona International Speedway

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

1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) Chevrolet 195/10 102 33 $85,370 Chart
2 Joey Logano (20) Toyota 175/5 102 1 $58,625 Chart
3 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (6) Ford 165/0 102 0 $52,818 Chart
4 Brad Keselowski (12) Dodge 165/5 102 16 $35,875 Chart
5 Kevin Harvick (29) Chevrolet 160/5 102 3 $30,675 Chart
6 Clint Bowyer (33) Chevrolet 155/5 102 17 $29,175 Chart
7 Kyle Busch (18) Toyota 151/5 102 19 $29,460 Chart
8 Ryan Newman (39) Chevrolet 142/0 102 0 $25,970 Chart
9 Brian Ickler (16) Ford 138/0 102 0 $30,193 Chart
10 Steve Arpin (7) Chevrolet 134/0 102 0 $30,418 Chart
11 Carl Edwards (99) Ford 135/5 102 2 $22,500 Chart
12 Michael Annett (15) Toyota 127/0 102 0 $28,418 Chart
13 Parker Kligerman (26) Dodge 124/0 102 0 $23,925 Chart
14 Jason Leffler () Toyota 121/0 102 0 $27,768 Chart
15 Steve Wallace (66) Toyota 118/0 102 0 $27,493 Chart
16 Joe Nemechek (87) Chevrolet 115/0 102 0 $27,393 Chart
17 Justin Allgaier (12) Dodge 117/5 102 11 $26,968 Chart
18 Tayler Malsam (10) Toyota 109/0 102 0 $28,843 Chart
19 Mike Bliss (71) Chevrolet 106/0 102 0 $26,518 Chart
20 Jason Keller (35) Chevrolet 103/0 102 0 $27,543 Chart
21 Greg Sacks (88) Chevrolet 100/0 102 0 $26,268 Chart
22 Reed Sorenson (83) Toyota 97/0 102 0 $26,143 Chart
23 David Starr () Chevrolet 94/0 102 0 $19,925 Chart
24 Tony Raines (36) Chevrolet 91/0 102 0 $25,868 Chart
25 Ken Schrader (82) Ford 88/0 102 0 $26,193 Chart
26 Shelby Howard (70) Chevrolet 85/0 102 0 $19,150 Chart
27 Trevor Bayne (99) Toyota 82/0 102 0 $25,868 Chart
28 Paul Menard (98) Ford 79/0 102 0 $18,850 Chart
29 Brendan Gaughan () Toyota 76/0 102 0 $25,193 Chart
30 Brian Scott (11) Toyota 73/0 101 0 $25,368 Chart
31 Kenny Wallace () Chevrolet 70/0 101 0 $24,938 Chart
32 Robert Richardson Jr. (37) Chevrolet 67/0 101 0 $24,803 Chart
33 Danny Efland (107) Chevrolet 64/0 101 0 $18,225 Chart
34 Mike Wallace (192) Chevrolet 61/0 101 0 $24,583 Chart
35 Michael McDowell (55) Dodge 58/0 101 0 $24,478 Chart
36 Eric McClure () Ford 55/0 98 0 $24,443 Chart
37 Jeremy Clements (104) Chevrolet 52/0 90 0 $17,940 Chart
38 Derrike Cope (175) Dodge 49/0 77 0 $17,885 Chart
39 Kevin Lepage () Toyota 46/0 77 0 $17,845 Chart
40 Morgan Shepherd () Chevrolet 43/0 17 0 $17,805 Chart
41 Mark Green (49) Chevrolet 40/0 10 0 $17,750 Chart
42 Johnny Chapman (43) Chevrolet 37/0 5 0 $24,168 Chart
43 Jennifer Jo Cobb (27) Ford 34/0 5 0 $24,098 Chart

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Discussion Starter #10
Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes - NNS Final Qualifying - Daytoan

Dodge Challenger's Sweep Front Row in NNS Qualifying

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. , Jul 2, 2010 -

BRAD KESELOWSKI (No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger) Starts First
“Man, what a fast car. I’m really proud of everyone who helps put this Nationwide Discount Tire Dodge Challenger together. It’s an awesome race car. Our car is really fast and it’s a total team effort.”

TAKE ME THROUGH YOUR LAP? “We’re just trying to maximize what you can do with the car; maximize speed by hitting your shifts and hold your line. I was able to do that in qualifying. Having a fast car always makes the driver look good. Our Discount Tire Dodge is fast.”

WHAT DIFFERENCE DO YOU FEEL IN THE DRAFT WITH THE NEW CAR? “It’s a little less predictable. It can be a little stronger in some areas and a little weaker in others. Just a little harder to predict.”

DID YOU NOTICE THE PATCH BETWEEN TURNS 1 AND 2? “I didn’t notice it. Maybe we will in the race, but as of now, it’s a non-issue.”

HAVE YOU HAD A CHANCE TO DRAFT WITH THE NEW CAR? “I did a little bit with Justin (Allgaier), but not a lot. We spent most of the time in single-car runs and we’re really fast. We didn’t want to risk anything.”

PARKER KLIGERMAN (NO. 26 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger) Starts Second
“We had a great 26 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger for qualifying. A big day for Dodge to have the Challenger out here; the best looking car by far in the Nationwide Series. To go out there and put two of them on the front row is great for Penske. Our cars are fast. I’m happy to be here. I want to thank Paul Wolfe (crew chief, No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger) for helping us out as much as they have this weekend.”

“I don’t have a lot of experience with it. I’ve done two ARCA races and the Talladega (NNS) race that I did pretty well. I’ve got my rookie stripe and I have to show people that they can trust me when we’re drafting. The first half of the race will be a little bit of a learning curve, but I think that I’ll settle in and race with these guys really hard all race.”

JUSTIN ALLGAIER (No. 12 Verizon Tire Wireless Dodge Challenger) Starts Fourth
“Our Verizon Wireless Dodge was great. The Dodge Challenger is really fast. We’re really looking forward to the race tonight. This is the first time with these new cars and we’re going to have a great qualifying spot. The guys have worked really hard to prep these new cars and the results are showing early. We’re looking for a good points night later on. Our Dodge’s look really strong. We just need to stay out of trouble.”

THE NEW NATIONWIDE CARS LOOK GREAT? “NASCAR has done a great job working with the manufacturers. I’m a little bit biased because I think that our Dodge Challenger looks the best. Coming out with the pony cars and the Dodge Challenger was a great hit not only for the drivers and the teams, but for the fans. I think the fans now can relate to the win on Saturday, buy on Monday concept like it was 20 04 30 years ago. We feel like we have a great product and a race car that people are going to love to watch race and hopefully go out and buy.”

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Discussion Starter #11
Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes - Race Final - Daytona International Speedway

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. , Jul 2, 2010 -

BRAD KESELOWSKI (No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger) Finished 4th
"It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun too. The Discount Tire Dodge Challenger was really fast. We needed just a little different situation at the end of the race. I think I had a shot at him, but Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) did a good job on the restart. If I could have restarted on the bottom, I think I might have had a shot at him. It just didn’t quite work out, but I’m happy with a solid four-place day and happy for Dale to get a win here. Good for him. We’ll keep plugging away, knocking down these top-five finishes. That’s a good day. The car was just fast. We had a fast car, crazy fast. I’m really proud of everyone at Penske Racing for that. They’re a handful, but a handful for everyone. If you like a lot of work, they’re fun to drive. It was a solid day, no complaints. If it wasn’t the best car out there today, it was certainly close. We just didn’t have the right circumstances on that last restart, being on the outside and Kevin (Harvick) spinning the tires. It was a strong top-five finish. We’ll take it.

“The tires just wore out. Kevin (Harvick) was spinning his tires. Dale was spinning his tires and you just don’t want to run into anybody and cause a big wreck and ruin our day. We came home with a solid finish. I feel like we had one of the best cars here. We just didn’t catch the right breaks to put our Dodge Challenger in victory lane. I’m really proud of everyone at Penske Racing.”

PAUL WOLFE (Crew Chief, No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger)
"Overall, it’s been a great week down here in Daytona with the new Challenger. To come out here and qualify with Challengers on the front row and have such a strong car as we did in the race, it was really exciting. It just shows all the hard work that everybody has put into this. Dodge has taken it serious and we love that. Hopefully, we can keep moving forward with this new car and bring home a win. It’s a new car. We’re just learning it. The long run made it a handful for a lot of the drivers. Overall, we’re real pleased with the weekend.”

PARKER KLIGERMAN (NO. 26 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger) Finished 13th
“It was a great day for the 26 Discount Tire Dodge today. We started the day great in qualifying and we didn’t have a lot of time in practice with this being a new car. I started off the race OK. I ran in the top five for a while and kind of fell back on the long run. I got real loose which is a by-product of not having a lot of track time. We ran from 15th to 20th most of the race. At the end of the race, we took a gamble by not pitting and it was so close to working out for us. I thought that we had a shot at a top-five. We were sitting in second there for a while and just got moved back and couldn’t get the track position back. Thank you to Dodge and Discount Tire. The Dodge Challenger performed great. It’s an awesome race car.”

“It was awesome. It was fast. It was great in the draft. You can tell there on the track, because it’s fast and it looks cool.”

JUSTIN ALLGAIER (No. 12 Verizon Tire Wireless Dodge Challenger) Finished 17th
“The race was great. The Verizon Challenger was awesome. My team did a great job in preparing this new car and giving me a great race car right off the hauler. We gave up a little bit in qualifying to have a good race car. We would have loved to have Penske 1-2-3 in the first race of the Nationwide new car. A great day up until the rear bumper cover coming loose. Once it came loose, the car just got way too loose. Unfortunately, we lost a lot of track position. I felt like we had the car to beat all night. I knew that I could make a good run to get up to the leaders and felt like if we could have gotten a little help that we would make a run all the way up to the front. It’s frustrating, but it happens in this sport. We feel like we have a great handle on the new car and the new Challenger. We’re going to be in great shape going back to Michigan when we race this Challenger again.”

“It was as a handful, that’s for sure. Once we got it all pushed back down, it was OK. The last thing that I wanted to do was cause a big wreck, but I knew that I couldn’t afford to pit under green. We caught a break getting a late caution and the Verizon Wireless Dodge guys did an amazing job repairing the bumper and getting us back out on track. I was a bit leery; I’m not going to lie. Once we got the car fixed, the Challenger was as stable as it was with the bumper cover attached. I could have picked up a couple more spots, but I checked up when the last-lap wreck happened, that cost us a few spots. It was a great comeback for us. I’m proud of all my guys for giving me a great car and all the effort that went into building this new Dodge Challenger.”
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