Auto Club 500
DODGE CHARGER IN 2008
· Dodge Chargers claimed six of the top-eight positions at the season-opening Daytona 500.
· Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch combined to give Dodge its first ever 1-2 finish in the Daytona 500.
· Dodge, which has a storied heritage in auto racing with the Charger, elected to continue the winning tradition that legends David Pearson, Bobby Isaac and Richard Petty established in the 1970s by designating the Charger as the nameplate Dodge teams will use in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2008 and beyond.
· The Dodge Charger has won at least one race in NASCAR’s premier series since it returned in 2005.
· The Dodge Charger has been to victory lane 137 times since 1966. Dodge has 198 wins with all nameplates.
DODGE AT CALIFORNIA
· Kasey Kahne recorded the lone Dodge victory at the two-mile, D-shaped oval in 2006 when he started ninth and led 130 laps en route to his fifth win of the season.
· Kurt Busch swept Bud Pole honors for both races in 2006. He has started from the pole three times and six times in the top four.
· Kasey Kahne (183.150 mph, Lap 3) posted the fastest lap during last year’s Auto Club 500. He led laps 1-20.
· None of the 15 previous races at California Speedway have been won from the pole. Only one has been won from the outside pole.
· Bobby Labonte will be making his 512th start at California. His first career start came in 1991 at Dover. His last win came at Homestead in 2003.
· Elliott Sadler’s last Sprint Cup victory came at Fontana (Sept., 2004).
· Kasey Kahne’s margin of victory of 3.427 seconds in the second race at California Speedway in 2006 is the largest in the last five races. The closest finish in the five was last year’s .338-second margin in the Auto Club 500.
· Kurt Busch will be seeking his third consecutive top-10 finish at Fontana. He has five top-10 finishes in 11 previous outings.
DODGE ROOKIE CONTENDERS
· Sam Hornish Jr. – Finished 15th at the 50th running of the Daytona 500. The three-time IndyCar Series champion and 2006 Indy 500 winner is assured a starting spot in the first five races of the 2008 season in the No. 77 Mobile 1 Dodge Charger. A transfer of points from Penske Racing teammate Kurt Busch has Hornish in the top 35 in owner points.
· Dario Franchitti – Raced his way to a 33rd-place Daytona 500 finish in the No. 40 “All-New Dodge Journey” Dodge Charger. He trails Hornish by one point in the Raybestos rookie standings heading into this weekend’s Auto Club 500.
· Patrick Carpentier – driver of the No. 10 Valvoline Dodge Charger from Gillett Evernham Motorsports failed to qualify for the Daytona 500.
· Raybestos Rookies of the Year Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne have been the top winners in NASCAR’s premier series – Newman had a series-high eight wins in 2003 and Kahne’s six wins were the most in the 2006 season.
· Ryan Newman holds the all-time Raybestos® Rookie record for most poles (6), most top-fives (14) and most top-10s (22).
· Reigning Raybestos Rookie of the Year Juan Pablo Montoya started the 2007 Auto Club 500 in 9th position in route to a 26th-place finish.
· The track qualifying record of 188.425 mph (38.248 sec.) was set in Feb., 2005. The race record of 155.012 mph was set in June, 1997.
· Kurt Busch hold the record for most poles at California Speedway (three).
DID YOU KNOW?
· After Riverside’s closure in 1988, Southern California did not host a NASCAR race from 1988 to 1997 when the new California Speedway was opened in June.
· Roger Penske has 14 Indianapolis 500 wins as a car owner including last year with Dario Franchitti. The Daytona 500 win by Ryan Newman was the first for Penske Racing at Daytona.
Quote of the Week
“While I was babysitting my daughter, I actually watched the whole race all over again. I was really happy how everything went. My hands were sweating with 20 laps remaining and I had already been in it – lived through it – that’s how exciting it was for me.”
Sam Hornish Jr.
No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger