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Oct 24, 2012 - 04:19 PM
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2012 Martinsville II: Dodge NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview
Posted by: newsla on Oct 24, 2012 - 03:58 PM
2012 Martinsville II: Dodge NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview

· Dodge’s Brad Keselowski leads the Chase for the Sprint Cup driver standings by seven points over Jimmie Johnson. He has led the point standings after five of the six Chase races. It’s the first time in the history of the NASCAR playoff format that a Dodge driver has led the Chase standings. Keselowski has an average finish of 5.6 through the first six Chase races.
· In the spring event at Martinsville, Brad Keselowski started seventh, led two laps and had a career-best finish of ninth.
· Dodge drivers have recorded 10 wins at Martinsville Speedway since the track opened in 1949 (Lee Petty, Jim Paschal, Buck Baker, Jack Smith, Bobby Isaac -2, Richard Petty, Dave Marcis and Rusty Wallace).


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· Dodge’s has five victories in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this season – all by Brad Keselowski (Bristol, Talladega, Kentucky, Chicagoland and Dover).
· Dodge seeks its first Sprint Cup Series championship since 1975 (Richard Petty).
· Dodge has 217 wins in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
· Dodge teams have recorded 57 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).
· The last win by a Dodge driver at the .526-mile Martinsville Speedway was in 2004 (Rusty Wallace).

"While the race at Martinsville is considered by most to be one of the ‘wild cards’ of the Chase, teams can't afford to add the chance of component failure to that equation. If anything fails during the race at the half-mile circuit, your hopes for even a reasonable finish are over. Engineers have known for years that the greatest cause of component failures, when we run the tight half-mile track, is the heat created in the engines, transmissions, rear axles, and brakes. To that end, we continue to develop things to combat the heat including special-material heat shields, heat resistant oils and lubricants, heat blocking coatings applied to critical parts, and ever-improving air flow to coolers and at-risk parts. You're always fighting two things at Martinsville: traffic and heat."
Howard Comstock, SRT Motorsports Engineering

· First Dodge NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Win: Lee Petty, 2/1/53, West Palm Beach, Fla., 100 miles, .5-mile track.
· Last Dodge NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Win: Brad Keselowski, 09/30/2012, Dover, 400 miles, 1-mile track

2012 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings
1. Brad Keselowski 2250 7. Tony Stewart -47
2. Jimmie Johnson -7 8. Jeff Gordon -51
3. Denny Hamlin -20 9. Matt Kenseth -55
4. Clint Bowyer -25 10. Kevin Harvick -59
5. Kasey Kahne -30 11. Greg Biffle -62
6. Martin Truex Jr -43 12. Dale Earnhardt Jr -122

· Race 4: Brad Keselowski qualified fifth and led 232 laps en route to his first Sprint Cup win of the season at Bristol.
· Race 10: Keselowski visited victory lane for the second time, avoiding a nine-car mishap with two laps remaining to win at Talladega.
· Race 17: Keselowski claimed his third Cup win of year at Kentucky, leading the final 56 laps.
· Race 18: Sam Hornish Jr. takes over as the driver of the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger for Penske Racing at Daytona.
· Race 25: Keselowski clinches his second consecutive berth in the Chase with a third-place finish at Atlanta.
· Race 27: Keselowski opens the Chase with his fourth win of the season (Chicagoland); leads standings by three points.
· Race 28: Keselowski runs sixth at Loudon; drops to one point behind Chase leader Jimmie Johnson.
· Race 29: Keselowski leads the final 10 laps en route to his second Chase win (Dover); retakes point lead by five.
· Race 30: Keselowski finished seventh at Talladega; extends point lead to 14.
· Race 31: Keselowski leads 139-laps, finishes 11th at Charlotte; lead cut to seven points.
· Race 32: Keselowski maintains a seven-point advantage, finishes eighth at Kansas.

Race Start Finish Laps Led Points
Chicagoland 13 1 76 1st / +3
New Hampshire 15 6 4 2nd / -1
Dover 10 1 14 1st / +5
Talladega 22 7 0 1st/ +14
Charlotte 20 11 139 1st/ +7
Kansas 25 8 0 1st /+7

“Martinsville is just one of those tracks where it seems like there are numerous variables that we've struggled with, and I don't think they're our fault. I look at last year, I think we were running fifth or sixth in the fall and just got caught up in a wreck on a late race restart caused by somebody who retaliated on the track. You don't know how to predict that or I don't feel like there was anything I could do about it.

“And then similar in nature, this past spring where we were running fourth or fifth and had that mishap down in Turn 1.”
Brad Keselowski, No 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger

“We have a brand-new Miller Lite Dodge this weekend and I’m excited about its potential. We were able to test at Rockingham and came away very pleased. One key for me is that we are racing on the same tire we’ve been on for the last two Martinsville races. The left rear tire is very important for forward bite at Martinsville so it’s nice to know we can use some of our older notes. Track position is paramount, so we know we need to qualify well. It’s still Martinsville so anything can happen, but Brad likes racing there and we are a confident team heading into this weekend. We really haven’t gotten the finishes we deserve there in past years. If you keep running in the top five or the top 10, good things will happen. Hopefully that is the case this weekend.”
Paul Wolfe, crew chief, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger

“This is a track that I have definitely been looking forward to returning to. The record book shows that the 22 team had our best finish this season there in the spring race with AJ (Allmendinger) driving. I know a lot of people remember that the race came down to a final restart and we got the best out of the situation. But the fact is that we had a solid top-10 car during the last half of the race. We’re coming in there this weekend with a hundred percent Sam Hornish. This is all the racing that Sam will be doing this week – total focus on the Cup side and our Shell-Pennzoil Dodge. Unlike last weekend at Kansas where there was the new track and an advantage to running both Nationwide and Cup, this is the same old Martinsville. Sam has nothing to concentrate on but the Cup race.”
Todd Gordon, crew chief, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger

· Brad Keselowski Start: 2nd (Bristol)
Finish: 1st (Bristol, Talladega, Kentucky, Chicagoland and Dover)

· Sam Hornish Jr. Start: 8th (Daytona)
Finish: 5th (Watkins Glen)

“Martinsville is another track where our competitiveness is not accurately shown in our statistics there. You can count on there being a lot of beating and banging on every restart at Martinsville and there is always someone trying to get right in there on your inside. I think it’s a track where I have learned better how to race there in each visit.”
Sam Hornish Jr., No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger

· 2004: Ryan Newman and Jeremy Mayfield represented Dodge in the Chase. Newman claimed the pole and led nine laps en route to a third-place finish. Mayfield qualified 11th and finished sixth.
· 2005: Dodge drivers making the elite 10 were Ryan Newman Jeremy Mayfield and Rusty Wallace. Newman finished 10th, Wallace 19th and Mayfield 28th.
· 2006: Kasey Kahne was the only Dodge driver to make the Chase. He started 32nd and finished seventh.
· 2007: Kurt Busch was the lone Dodge representative in the Chase. Busch started 11th and finished 31st.
· 2008: There were no Dodges in the 2008 Chase field.
· 2009: Kurt Busch and Kasey Kahne represented Dodge in the Chase; Busch finished 17th and Kahne was 32nd.
· 2010: Kurt Busch was the only Dodge driver to make the elite 12. He started 29th and finished 16th.
· 2011: Kurt Busch led Dodge with a 14th-place finish; Brad Keselowski was 17th.

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