Richmond Track Tough Challenge for Dodge Sprint Cup Teams


Richmond International Raceway proved to be a difficult challenge for the three Dodge teams this past Saturday night.  The trio ran into problems early in the 400-lap Sprint Cup event and never recovered.


The first half of the race was fast with only two cautions the first 237 laps.  The next 100 laps turned into typical short-track racing with plenty of fender banging and mishaps that produced six cautions.  The final 86 laps were caution free.


Tire wear, handling issues and mishaps were among the culprits that plagued the Dodge Boys.  Kurt Busch finished outside the top 20 for the first time this season in nine events.  He was 22nd, best among the trio.  Robby Gordon was 35th and Brad Keselowski finished 36th.


Keselowski qualified best among the Dodge drivers.  He started seventh in the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger and ran in the top 10 early in the race.  Following each pit stop, his Charger was among the fastest for 20-30 laps, but fell off the pace quickly as the laps mounted.


“We had an awesome race car on short runs all night, but not on the long runs and that’s what we faced the first half of the race, ” said Keselowski.  “You’ve got to have a car that does both and we just didn’t have it tonight.  Coming into the race, we felt we could run strong and we did.  We qualified well and did well on short runs, but we were way off on the long-run stuff.”


Busch had a disappointing qualifying effort and had to start at the rear of the field in the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger.  Tire wear and a couple of mishaps had Busch stuck in the middle of the field, a deficit he could not overcome.


“It was a very frustrating, long night for us, ” said Busch.  “We put ourselves behind in qualifying and had to start 36th.  Once the race went green, our car just wore through tires by 40 laps into a run.  We never could get back on the lead lap and just when I thought that our car was getting better, we get collected when the 42 and 39 got together.  We probably had the strongest car running laps down at the end, but when you get more than one lap down, your day is pretty much done.  That was certainly the case for us here tonight.  We just weren’t very good tonight.”


During the Nationwide race on Friday, our Dodge teams fared much better as Keselowsk and Hornish posted Top-10 Finishes.



  • Mopar_Dodge_91
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    This was a disappointing race for the Dodge camp. Keselowski was doing fine at the start of the race. But at midpoint, when the track started to change, he just fell off. And Robby Gordon was a FAIL that race.

    We need more support in the Dodge camp…

  • Posted May 3, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Amen brother, nothing really more to add, other than I’m embarrassed to be a DODGE/NASCAR fan this year..  Either get serious about winning races or get out of the sport, right DODGE?

  • HEMIhead
    Posted May 3, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Kurt had a wicked, awesome start to the season, but had a lot of bad luck and bad handling set ups. I hope they get it worked out and start to gain some ground soon. 
    Kurt is still 6th in points, so it’s not that bad. He’s had 1 top 5, and 5 top 10’s. When you look at Biffle, Hamlin, or Burton, that’s pretty good. These are all drivers that have lots of other “sister” cars on the track to share info and pair up with on the track. I would hope in the future Dodge will have more teams in Nascar for us Mopar guys to cheer for, but I haven’t given up on the Penske cars yet this season. Keselowski has had much bad luck also on the track, getting caught up in other peoples wrecks. Hopefully luck will come his way soon. I usually notice teams being either good at the first half of the season or the end, but not really that consistent the whole season. Even JJ being a champ has had runs of bad races. Just hold on Mopar fans, don’t lose faith yet!

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