Weekend Preview: Kahne Gaining on Top 12; Looks to Repeat at Pocono

RELEASE

LONG POND, Pa. (June 4, 2009) – The unique triangular 2.5-mile configuration of Pocono Raceway will host the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this weekend. The Pocono 500 is the 14th of 36 scheduled point races in the Sprint Cup Series.

This weekend also represents the second-half dash to the coveted Race to The Chase in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The top 12 drivers in the point standings after 26 races will compete for the championship and the Sprint Cup in the final 10 races of the season.

Kurt Bush (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) is the only Dodge driver currently in the top-12 in the driver point standings. Busch currently sits fourth, only 91 points behind series leader Tony Stewart. The 2004 Sprint Cup champion, Busch has two career Pocono wins.

A berth in The Chase is still within grasp of Petty Motorsports’ Kasey Kahne. The defending event champion, Kahne’s sixth place finish last week at Dover gained him one spot in the driver standings. He’s now 14th, just 66 points behind the 12th and final Chase spot currently held by Mark Martin.

Driver Standings after Race 14 of 26 towards the Race to the Chase
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
14. Kasey Kahne 1,501

Seven Dodge teams are entered in the Pocono 500 seeking to give Dodge its 203rd NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory. All seven drivers are assured berths as they are in the top 35 in car owner points. Dodge has earned five wins at Pocono Raceway,

Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) considers the next several races on the NSCS schedule the ‘summer grind’ because of the mental and physical fatigue that sets in on teams this time of the year. In the first 13 races, Busch has one win, four top-five and seven top-10 finishes. He has led a total of 332 laps, distributed among seven races.

“It’s a period of the schedule where if you can mount a good charge – if you can thrive while many of the teams are burning out – it certainly can pay big dividends down the stretch,” said Busch. “It can separate the men from the boys, that’s for sure. With the great cars we’re putting out there week in and week out, we’re really looking forward to all the races this summer and we’re optimistic about being competitive in all of them.”

Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger) earned his ninth-career NASCAR win at Pocono at last year’s spring event. Kahne lead 69 of 200 laps en route to his first-career win at Pocono. He holds the track qualifying record with a time of 52.164 seconds at 172.533 mph set in 2004.

“Pocono is one of our better tracks,” Kahne said. “I feel like we have as good a shot to win as anybody this weekend. I think we have a great team and we’ve made some gains in the past few weeks. We’ve been running well and have had some great races, some tough races. We still have a shot to make the Chase and have some good race tracks coming up for us.”

Other Notes:
• Sam Hornish Jr. (No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger) advanced four positions in the 2009 Cup Series driver standings after a 13th-place finish at Dover International Speedway last weekend. Hornish currently sits 26th.
• Reed Sorenson (No. 43 Valvoline Engine Guarantee Dodge Charger) hopes to build off his strong qualifying effort (fourth) last weekend at Dover. Sorenson had a top-12 car until an extended stay under a green flag pit stop late in the race dropped the Georgia native out of contention.

What You Need To Know
The Race: Pocono 500
The Place: Pocono Raceway
The Date: Sunday, June 7
The Time: 2 p.m. (ET)
The Track: 2.5-mile triangle
The Distance: 500 miles/200 laps
Television: TNT, 2:00 p.m. (ET)

2009 Dodge Motorsports Driver Statistics
Driver Rank Points Behind Starts Poles Wins Top 5s Top 10s Earnings
Kurt Bush 4 1762 -91 13 0 1 4 7 $1,983,110
Kasey Kahne 14 1501 -352 13 0 – 1 4 $2,051,710
Reed Sorenson 25 1259 -594 13 0 0 0 1 $1,883,380
Sam Hornish Jr. 26 1237 -616 13 0 0 0 2 $1,740,210
Elliott Sadler 27 1216 -637 13 0 0 1 1 $1,678,710
David Stremme 29 1206 -647 13 0 0 1 2 $1,814,110
AJ Allmendinger 30 1202 -651 13 0 0 1 2 $1,864,810

Dodge Weekend Motorsports on TV
(All Times Eastern)

Friday, June 5
12:00 p.m. – Sprint Cup Practice at Pocono (SPEED)
3:00 p.m. – NASCAR Live (SPEED)
3:30 p.m. – Sprint Cup Pole Qualifying (SPEED)
7:30 p.m. – NASCAR Now (ESPN2)
7:30 p.m. – Trackside at Pocono (SPEED)
11:30 p.m. – Trackside at Pocono [repeat] (SPEED)

Saturday, June 6
10:00 a.m. – Sprint Cup Practice (SPEED)
11:00 a.m. – Final Sprint Cup Practice (SPEED)
12:30 p.m. – Trackside at Pocono (SPEED)
7:00 p.m. – Nationwide Series Countdown (ESPN2)
7:30 p.m. – Nationwide Series ‘Federated Auto Parts 300’ at Nashville (ESPN2)

Sunday, June 7
10:00 a.m. – NASCAR Now (ESPN2)
10:30 a.m. – NASCAR RaceDay (SPEED)
12:30 p.m. – NASCAR on TNT Live (TNT)
1:00 p.m. – Countdown to Green (TNT)
2:00 p.m. – Sprint Cup ‘Pocono 500’ (TNT)
7:00 p.m. – SPEED Report (SPEED)
8:00 p.m. — NASCAR Victory Lane (SPEED)
9:00 p.m. – Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain (SPEED)
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