Read the results here…reactions from Dodge drivers coming Monday AM.
DODGE BOYS FORCED TO MAKE THEIR OWN LUCK IN LAS VEGAS
LAS VEGAS (Sunday, March 1, 2009) Sometimes, people are lucky and hit the jackpot in Las Vegas. The seven Dodge teams entered in the Shelby 427 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway didnt find the jackpot Sunday, but they didnt leave the 1.5-mile oval empty handed. Although the results fell short of expectations, the teams played the hands dealt them to full potential.
Kurt Busch put the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger on the front row beside his younger brother, Kyle. Busch ran in the top five until lap 107 when he encountered an engine issue, losing a cylinder. From there, crew chief Pat Tryson and his team played their hand to perfection just to keep Busch in the competition. Busch was running at the finish in the 23rd spot.
Well take it after running on seven cylinders most of the race, Busch said. We like the car that we had in California and the Miller Lite Dodge felt great running up front again today here in Las Vegas. I felt like I had a car capable of winning the race. We just ran into a tough break that didnt allow us to run the entire race on full power. We found a weak link today, but well put our heads together and fix it and push as hard as we can next week in Atlanta.
Handling was the key on the 1.5-mile track and the No. 2 Dodge was able to run high or low the first 150 miles.
We had a good handling car, said Tryson. We just broke something in the valve train. We made the most out of what we had considering some teams in the same situation finished a lot worse than we did. We didnt take too big of a hit in points, so well head to Atlanta and continue to give Kurt the best car we can.
Kasey Kahne just missed a top-10 finish in the No. 9 Budweiser Dodge. Kahne moved into the top 10 with 60 laps remaining and ran with the leaders the final 90 miles.
It so easy to get behind when things arent going exactly right, said Kahne. As a team, the guys did a great job getting the best finish. Were getting better. We still have some work to do. To come out of here with an 11th-place finish is good because we really worked hard trying to get our car better all day. Kenny (Francis, crew chief) stayed with it all day, making our Budweiser Dodge better and better. Well take the points and move on to Atlanta.
Sam Hornish Jr. finished 16th and David Stremme was 18th. Both ran in the top 10 early in the race.
Hornish had a strong run going in the No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge before a loose left rear tire forced an unscheduled pit stop. Combined with a green-flag pit cycle that was interrupted by a caution, Hornish went a lap down late in the race, but managed to get back with the lead group with 15 circuits remaining. Only 17 cars finished on the lead lap.
The Mobil 1 Dodge was pretty darn stout most of the day, said Hornish. When we were trying to get our lap back, we had a set of tires that made the car too tight, but we were able to hold our position and get the lucky dog. On the last couple of restarts, we tried to tape up the front of the car and get a little more down force, but that made it way too loose. Were pretty happy to get 16th out of it and move on to next weekend. Were definitely showing improvement. To have as many problems as we had today and still finish 16th, it shows that we were pretty quick.
Stremme had to overcome several obstacles during the 285-lap race. First, an air gun malfunctioned during a green-flag pit stop. Then he was hit from behind and sent into a spin on lap 95. Finally, the No. 12 Penske Racing Dodge had just completed a stop during a green-flag cycle when the yellow came out before the cycle was completed. Stremme ended up a lap down.
I thought that we had a top-10 car all day, said crew chief Roy McCauley. Once you lose track position in a race, its hard to get it back. David was patient each time and worked his way back up through the field.
Teammates Elliott Sadler, Reed Sorenson and AJ Allmendinger had a variety of problems during the afternoon. Sadler was caught up in two mishaps in the first 10 laps of the race while Sorenson had a brush with the backstretch wall. For Allmendinger, handling was the issue.
It was a tough day for the Stanley Dodge, said Sadler. It wasnt 10 laps into the race and I was already caught up in two wrecks. The second one got us pretty good, causing major damage to the front end. It was just racing fate today, a little bad luck.
The DODGE BOYS
Driver Team Finished
Kasey Kahne No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger 11th
Sam Hornish Jr. No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger 16th
David Stremme No. 12 Penske Racing Dodge Charger 18th
Kurt Busch No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger 23rd
Elliott Sadler No. 19 Stanley Dodge Charger 29th
AJ Allmendinger No. 10 Harrahs Dodge Charger 33rd
Reed Sorenson No. 43 Valvoline Dodge Charger 34th
Driver Rank Starts Points Behind Wins Poles T5s T10s
Kurt Busch 7 3 393 -66 0 0 1 2
Elliott Sadler 16 3 324 -135 0 0 1 1
AJ Allmendinger 21 3 305 -154 0 0 1 1
Reed Sorenson 25 3 299 -160 0 0 0 1
Kasey Kahne 13 3 336 -121 0 0 0 0
David Stremme 23 3 302 -157 0 0 0 0
Sam Hornish Jr. 28 3 299 -183 0 0 0 0
NASCAR SPRINT CUP
(After 3 of 36 Races)
1. Jeff Gordon 459
2. Clint Bowyer -18
3. Matt Kenseth -40
4. Greg Biffle -40
5. David Reutimann -51
6. Kyle Busch -54
7. Kurt Busch -66
8. Tony Stewart -80
9. Carl Edwards -82
10. Bobby Labonte -99
11. Kevin Harvick -108
12. Michael Waltrip -113
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Source: Chrysler Media Services Release, Motorsports