Weekend Recap: Busch, Kahne Earn Top 10s at Dover; Dodge Places Four in Top 20


DOVER, Del., (May 31, 2009) – The one-mile concrete oval of Dover International Speedway served up a mild impersonation of its ‘Monster Mile’ nickname at Sunday’s Autism Speaks 400. Notorious for chewing up race cars and frustrating drivers, Dover was mild-mannered and well-behaved.

With heavy over-night rain showers, Dodge drivers were greeted by a green racing surface with limited rubber build up, forcing crew chiefs and drivers to chase an unknown race track. NASCAR issued a mandatory competition yellow flag on lap 30 to allow teams and Goodyear to examine potentially aggressive tire wear. In total, NASCAR issued 10 caution flags for 43 laps, including seven for debris on the racing surface.

Leading the Dodge Boys’ charge were Kurt Busch and Kasey Kahne, both earning top-10 finishes.

Busch’s fifth-place finish may have been the most impressive of any car on the race track. Despite starting 19th, Busch worked his way up to third place by lap 45. Busch was victimized by poor timing when a scheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 117 backfired after a yellow flag was issued by NASCAR for debris on the race track. The end result was a loss of 17 positions that left Busch 21st. By lap 364, Busch and crew-chief Pat Tryson had raced their way to within one-second of the race leader, and eventual event winner Jimmie Johnson, when the 10th and final caution flew slowing the Miller Lite Dodge’s charge. Busch would finish fifth.

“It was a good day for the Miller Lite Dodge, ” said Busch. “This place is always tough and to come out of here with a fifth-place finish is really awesome. I think that we can hold our heads high and be proud of our effort. Just before the second-to-last caution (for debris) came out, I thought that our Miller Lite Dodge was the fastest car on the race track.”

The Richard Petty Motorsports charge was led by Kahne who put his Budweiser Dodge on the outside pole during Friday qualifying. In total, RPM earned four of the top-10 starting spots (Kahne 2nd, Reed Sorenson 4th, AJ Allmendinger 7th and Elliott Sadler 10th).

Using the powerful Dodge R6 engine for the first time, Kahne remained inside the top 10 until an untimely caution on Lap 117 while the No. 9 was on pit road for a green-flag pit stop pushed him back to 21st. Despite the setback, the hard-charging Kahne rebounded to finish sixth.

“It was a good day for our Budweiser Dodge, ” said Kahne. “(Greg) Biffle and I were battling all day and it was fun. He ended up second, and we ended up sixth. It was a good race for us. The new motor had plenty of power which made the car fun to drive. We were good on pit stops and the car handled well. We were just so loose all day, especially on short runs. Our Dodge was great on long runs, but the race had so many debris cautions that it was crazy. As soon as we would get racing, a debris caution would come out and really take the pace away from the race. For our Budweiser Dodge team, it was a really good day. We’ve made some really big gains the last few weeks.”

Sorenson (No. 43 Air Force Dodge Charger) qualified his Dodge Charger a season-best fourth and was constantly inside the top 15 in the race. Sorenson leveraged his starting position to lead four laps. A pit road incident late in the race cost Sorenson eight positions. He finished 19th.

“It was cool to lead those laps at the start (of the race), ” said Sorenson. “I’m glad we got to do that for the Air Force guys that were here this weekend. We had a pretty good day. When I could run my line, I could really get a good drive off the corner. That was a tough race, but we are getting there. I thought we might get a top 10 finish, but we got the (air) hose caught on the splitter on that stop with about 70 to go and lost some spots. I think it also messed up the car. The Richard Petty Motorsport guys are working hard and that’s showing on the track. I hope the way we ran creates some momentum we can take to Pocono with us next weekend and run even better.”

Today’s race at Dover International Speedway was the 13th stop and halfway mark for teams attempting to qualify for one of the 12 positions in the 2009 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup over the final 10 races.


Driver Team Finished

Kurt Busch No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger 5th
Kasey Kahne No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger 6th
Sam Hornish Jr. No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger 13th
Reed Sorenson No. 43 Air Force Dodge Charger 19th
Elliott Sadler No. 19 Stanley Tools Dodge Charger 27th
AJ Allmendinger N0. 44 Auto Value Dodge Charger 29th
David Stremme No. 12 Penske Racing Dodge Charger 31st

Driver Rank Starts Points Behind Wins Poles T5s T10s
Kurt Busch 4 13 1762 -91 1 0 4 7
Kasey Kahne 14 13 1501 -352 0 0 1 4
Reed Sorenson 25 13 1259 -594 0 0 0 1
Sam Hornish Jr. 26 13 1237 -616 0 0 0 2
Elliott Sadler 27 13 1216 -637 0 0 0 2
David Stremme 29 13 1206 -647 0 0 0 0
AJ Allmendinger 30 13 1202 -651 0 0 1 2

(After 13 of 36 Races)

1. Tony Stewart 1, 853 –
2. Jeff Gordon 1, 807
3. Jimmie Johnson 1, 789
4. Kurt Busch 1, 634
5. Ryan Newman 1, 680
6. Kyle Busch 1, 634
7. Denny Hamlin 1, 630
8. Matt Kenseth 1, 625
9. Greg Biffle 1, 618
10. Jeff Burton 1, 587
11. Carl Edwards 1, 582
12. Mark Martin 1, 567

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series moves to Pocono Raceway next week for the Pocono 500. Dodge driver Kasey Kahne is the defending event champion. The green-flag drops at approximately 2:15 p.m. on Sunday, June 6.

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