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Tag:Dover International Speedway
Posted on: January 4, 2012 11:17 am
Edited on: January 4, 2012 11:18 am
 

5-Hour Energy returns as Dover sponsor

Posted by Pete Pistone

From News Release

DOVER, Del. – Dover International Speedway and 5-hour ENERGY® are proud to announce that they have renewed their partnership into the future, with 5-hour ENERGY serving as the title sponsor for the June 2, 2012 “5-hour ENERGY 200” NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the Monster Mile.
 
  Race fans who visit the track on race weekend will have the chance to try 5-hour ENERGY while enjoying the action on the track, as brand representatives will be stationed throughout the Speedway and Dover Downs Hotel & Casino passing out complimentary samples.
 
  “We are pleased to extend our partnership with Dover International Speedway and Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. The staff does a great job in helping us achieve our marketing objectives and expose new consumers to the benefits of 5-hour ENERGY. We look forward to another great 5-hour ENERGY 200,” said Rise Meguiar, vice president of sales for Living Essentials, makers of 5-hour ENERGY.
 
  The extension at Dover International Speedway is just another step in a growing NASCAR presence for 5-hour ENERGY, as the company was the sponsor for the 2011 spring NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the Monster Mile. In addition, 5-hour ENERGY will have a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series presence next year as the primary sponsor for the Michael Waltrip Racing No. 15 Toyota, driven by Clint Bowyer.
 
  “We’re happy to extend our partnership with 5-hour ENERGY,” said Denis McGlynn, president and CEO of Dover Motorsports, Inc. “Our unique location in the heart of the mid-Atlantic region, which features the largest sporting venue in the area, a 500-room hotel and full-service casino, provides 5-hour ENERGY with the opportunity to interact with hundreds of thousands of existing and potential customers.”

 

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Posted on: January 1, 2012 2:11 pm
 

Dover plans wider grandstand seats

Posted by Pete Pistone

From News Release

In an ongoing effort to provide fans with the most exciting and enjoyable race experience in NASCAR, Dover International Speedway is pleased to announce a seat-widening plan for the track’s grandstands beginning in 2012.

The multi-year process, which will take place throughout the entire outdoor grandstands, will begin in all seating sections located in Turns 2 and 3. Additional widening of seats toward Turns 1 and 4 and the frontstretch will begin after the conclusion of the 2012 season. When the process is complete, all seats will have increased from 18” to 22” in size throughout the venue.

“Year to year, we’re always exploring ways to improve the experience for fans who attend our races at the Monster Mile,” said Denis McGlynn, president and CEO of Dover Motorsports, Inc. “Because many seats have already been renewed by our most loyal fans, we don’t want to displace them in an effort to make this change in one fell swoop. We’ll do our best to widen seats this year, and complete the process by 2014. “By widening our seats we are responding to suggestions from our fans and allowing them to enjoy the race in a far more comfortable setting.”

When the process is complete by 2014, Dover’s new seating capacity will be 113,000. Dover’s race weekends in 2012 are June 1-3, 2012 and Sept. 28-30, 2012. 

 
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Posted on: October 4, 2011 2:54 pm
 

Dover Sprint Cup TV ratings rise

Posted by Pete Pistone

From News Release

ESPN's live telecast of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway on Sunday, Oct. 2, earned a 3.0 household coverage rating, averaging 4,093,000 viewers, according to the Nielsen Company. The rating was up from the 2.8 rating for last year's Dover race, which also aired on ESPN. Telecasts of both Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup races that have been run as scheduled so far this season have seen increased ratings. The opening race of the Chase at Chicagoland Speedway was rained out on its original date and run on a Monday. ESPN2's live telecast of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Dover on Saturday, Oct. 1, earned a 1.1 household coverage rating, averaging 1,443,000 viewers. The 2010 race earned a 1.2 rating.
 
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Posted on: October 3, 2011 2:54 pm
Edited on: October 3, 2011 2:55 pm
 

Charting the Chase: Dover

By Pete Pistone

A quick look at how the Chase for the Sprint Cup drivers fared in Sunday’s AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway.  

Kevin Harvick (Dover: Tenth) – A fast car early faded some but Harvick was able to get back to the front of the field and knock down a tenth place finish to climb back on top the championship standings.  

Chase Chatter: “But we felt like we had been solid over the last couple of years – not to win the race but solid enough to get decent finishes and get out of here.”

Carl Edwards (Dover: Third) – Picked a bad time to get his first pit road speeding violation of the season. Edwards may have been the guy to beat Sunday but was pegged for speeding on pit road and sent down a lap. He got back to the lead lap via the “Lucky Dog” and drove hard to come out with a third and a piece of the point lead. 

Chase Chatter: “I’ll lay in bed and my wife is going yell at me and tell me to get over it and that’s just how it goes.” 

Tony Stewart (Dover: 25th) – Stewart was worried about Dover and now we know why. Had nothing pretty much all weekend and limped home outside the top twenty, lucky enough to fall only nine points out of the Chase lead after his hot start.  

Chase Chatter: “Well, we’ve got seven weeks to worry about it. So we’ll see.”  

Kurt Busch (Dover: First) – A statement win for Busch to get back into the Chase hunt and send a message to arch rival Jimmie Johnson in the process. Busch suddenly finds himself back in the title contender group after one of the most impressive efforts of his recent Sprint Cup career.  

Chase Chatter: “(Crew chief Steve Addington)… was in the zone today. It helped me stay in the zone out on the race track and when you can feed off each other, that's when wins can happen.”   

Jimmie Johnson (Dover: Second) – Was somehow written off by more than a few when he came into the weekend 29 points out of the Chase lead. His second place finish Sunday took him from tenth to fifth in one fell swoop and was the second biggest statement of the weekend behind Busch’s trip to victory lane. 

Chase Chatter:  ““I did a really good job, up until those last two [restarts]." 

Brad Keselowski (Dover: 20th) – Lost some of his magic Sunday afternoon with an overall non-competitive day that ended nineteen spots behind teammate Busch. Not out of the title hunt by any means but needs a bounce back quickly to not completely lose momentum.

Chase Chatter: “That’s a kick in the butt. I guess I didn’t have the golden horseshoe today.” 

Matt Kenseth (Dover: Fifth) – Not a happy camper after crew chief Jimmy Fennig’s decision to take four and not two tires o n the final pit stop of the day. Was still able to drive through a large group of cars for the fifth place finish but perhaps with better track position, Kenseth could have swept Dover in 2011.

Chase Chatter: “We needed four tires to get the adjustment in it, but with the way these conditions are when you come out back there you know you’re not gonna have a chance.” 

Kyle Busch (Dover: Sixth) – Still not where they’d like to be, but a better day at Dover for the Joe Gibbs Racing team. Ran near the front of the field most of the afternoon but could never really mount a charge to challenge for the lead or win. 

Chase Chatter: "I was just barely hanging on the last 30 laps of the race." 

Jeff Gordon (Dover: 12th) – Could have been a lot worse for Gordon who rallied hard for the twelfth place finish. However he took the biggest tumble in the standings falling from fifth to ninth and desparately needs a confidnce-building roon this weekend in Kansas.

Chase Chatter: “Every time we have a finish like this it means we’ve got to perform that much better in the next couple of races.” 

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Dover: 23rd) – Earnhardt’s issues started early with a broken sway bar mount that sent him to pit road for repairs and back to 38th place before 20 laps had been run. He was able to charge back through the field as high as 16th but a loose wheel and vibration ended his opportunity to contend.

Chase Chatter: “That's all I can say. I've had a lot of (blank) happen to me over the years, good and bad. [I’ve] just kinda got to roll with the punches.”  

Ryan Newman (Dover: 25th) - Like teammate Stewart, not much a factor all weekend from the minute the No. 39 Chevrolet rolled off the hauler. A giant 41 points out of the lead pretty much seals Newman’s championship fate.

Chase Chatter: “We have to put this weekend behind us and move on. We're a much better team than where we finished today." 

Denny Hamlin (Dover: 18th) – Admitted earlier in the week of working with a sports psychologust to deal with the frustration and disappointment of 2011. A mostly forgettable day Sunday in Delaware added to the year’s woes.

Chase Chatter: "No matter what we did, really it stayed tight all day."

 
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Posted on: October 3, 2011 11:54 am
 

Around the Circuit: weekend web wrap

Posted by Pete Pistone

News, notes and nuggets from around the World Wide Web in the aftermath of the weekend's racing at Dover International Speedway:


USA TODAY - "Kurt Busch Out Duels Rival Jimmie Johnson for Dover Win"   


CHARLOTTE OBSERVER - "Conventional Chase Wisdom? Out the Window" 


SCENE DAILY - "Kurt Busch Beats Jimmie Johnson to Shake Up Chase Standings"  


PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER - "Kurt Busch Keeps Jimmie Johnson at Bay"  


TORONTO SUN - "Trio Back in Thick of Chase"  


VIRGINIA PILOT - "Kurt Busch Trumps the Field"     


 
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Posted on: October 2, 2011 8:53 pm
 

Kurt Busch, Steve Addington post Dover comments

Posted by Pete Pistone

KURT BUSCH:  It was a great race today for us for our Shell-Pennzoil Dodge.  To just miss out on the pole was kind of a bummer, but to take the lead early on and to lead laps and set the tone.          

We have been in that position before where we can lead early on and the car feels great with a fresh racetrack and as the race progresses, we start losing a little bit of the handle, but, today we fought hard.  Found some things, and I've got to thank the guy to my left, Steve Addington, for the right changes, the right time, the right sequence of two tires versus four.  He was in the zone today.  It helped me stay in the zone out on the racetrack and when you can feed off each other, that's when wins can happen and it reminded me a lot of what we did at Sonoma earlier this year.           

Late in the race today, the last hundred laps, our car was right there for us, right where we needed it to be, maybe a little on the tight side.  But restarts, with two restarts to go, I was on the outside of the 48 car.  We had great position from pit road.          

My guys on pit road did a phenomenal job to be consistent, to be smooth, and to put us out there where we needed to be.  And I was able to wrestle the lead away from the 48 car and got to his high side and took the lead.  And then with the final pit stop, Steve was thinking four, I was thinking four, but we switched to two tires, and that was the perfect call.           

We beat Johnson out of the pits, had the inside lane on the final restart and we just took it to him.  I knew we needed to get that jump on the restart and we never looked back.           

So a great day for our Shell-Pennzoil Dodge.  Wednesday, it's called Wednesdays, everybody gets 22 cents a gallon off on fuel if they have a Shell Saver card.           

KERRY THARP:  Your first win at Dover, too.  Talk about a special win here at the Monster Mile, winning at a track like that.           

KURT BUSCH:  Well, it's such an intense place.  It's hard to get the perfect handle on the race car.  A driver has to compensate quite a bit here, especially with the racetrack rubbering in.  To be able to conquer the Monster Mile, to now have that monstrous trophy now on the trophy shelf, I felt like I was missing something over the years.           

And to make my first start here ten years ago or 11 years ago in 2000, it's been an amazing journey.  I didn't think it would take this long to get to victory lane, especially when I won my first-ever Truck race here.  But this is a tough racetrack.  And when you're racing the best of the best, you have to be perfect, you have to have a good team, and I've just got to thank Penske Racing for continuing to provide us with the top-quality cars it takes.           

KERRY THARP:  Steve Addington, congratulations today on this win, team win, pit crew was exceptional; and as Kurt alluded to, you guys made the right calls at the right time.  Talk about how that all just unfolded here today for you.           

STEVE ADDINGTON:  I feel like from the past races -- watching Kurt over the years here, he's been really fast and I felt pretty good going in here the way that we went through practice and the adjustments we made from practice to qualifying, and to go out and qualify second, so close to the pole, and then to make the adjustments to go in the race that we did.           

I felt like that we learned a lot from practice this week, and that was the big key.  But we knew he could come in here and win at Dover; it was just us giving him the pieces to do it.           

Q.  Were those last two restarts, how much of your drag racing -- because your reaction time was so good, and you just pulled away from him so quickly, and it was the difference.  How much did you kind of rely on your instincts that you've picked up through your drag racing?            

KURT BUSCH:  You know, the drag racing is a lot of fun, and there's a lot of technique in what you have to do to get your tires warm and to feel the traction when you're coming up through the gears.          

And it's important.  I love racing, no matter what it is, and the way that you can get an advantage on guys on restarts is to feel the rear traction, and if it's slip to go not be full throttle and to really baby that throttle pedal perfectly; and I felt like that was the difference maker today.  I was able to wrestle the lead away from Johnson on the outside and then on the final restart when we had the inside lane, pull away off of a great launch right out of the hole.           

So pro stock racing, I have to thank all of those guys for having fun and doing that.  But it's all a matter of how the setups up is for your oval car, but you have to get that throttle pedal just right on restarts, and I've always tried to pride myself on trying to get good restarts and not lose spots.            

Q.  Can you just talk a little about, you mentioned making the changes, especially at this place, how difficult that is to make the changes during the race, to make the correct ones.  Other teams obviously, like Stewart, couldn't do it.          

KURT BUSCH:  For us, we almost had the perfect pole position on Saturday, we just missed it by three-thousandths of a second.  The way we were communicating in our team debriefing sessions we knew we were close.  We knew we needed to fine tune a couple of things, whether it was qualifying trim or race trim; and the car had a good feel all weekend long.  Last week, just working out the new car brews and it bit us.  This week, a solid car.          

STEVE ADDINGTON:  The biggest thing is he was giving great feedback and we were just trying it figure out how to get our car going.  It would take our car a good ten, 15 laps to even settle in to where we thought we needed it to be.           

We started making some adjustments on it and brought it to life earlier in the runs and that was the key to it, getting on top of that and finding a direction.  It was probably halfway through the race where we really got a hold of what direction we needed and we got the breaks of getting stops to make those adjustments.            

Q.  Given the fact that you got around Jimmie on the outside on the next to last restart, what were the criteria that went into your decision to take bottom for the last one?            

KURT BUSCH:  The way that today went, I felt like the bottom lane was the preferred lane, and you really had to hit it perfect on that topside.          

So I was just with the percentages.  I thought the bottom lane had the best chance of winning the race down into turn one and then clearing coming off turn two.  So I'm glad I surprised Johnson by getting the lead on the outside, and then I chose the inside to -- what I thought was the preferred line.         

So it was great that we were able to jump him on both restarts and pull away.  I mean, to beat your arch nemesis, that's just icing on the cake and it's pretty sweet.             

Q.  I was going to ask you about the rubber, a lot of people had trouble with the rubber on the track -- is that something new?  We had a lot of complaints, how it made the car seem squirrely.  Is this something that's never happened before?  Is this a new sensation?  And secondly, after getting your car detained last week, do you feel vindication getting to victory lane today?           

KURT BUSCH:  You know, this tire with this car, the Car of Tomorrow, we have had to go through a lot of changes at Goodyear.  I can make this story long; I can make it short.           

What Goodyear has to do is they have to have a tire that rubbers in the racetrack so that we don't have blowouts with the right front tire.  Concrete tracks have this rubber buildup, like Martinsville, Bristol, here at Dover, where it cakes up and makes it really squirrely.  Could have been a lot worse today if the temperatures were in the 80s and the sunshine was out.  It somewhat covered it today.           

But Goodyear has done a great job but they keep bringing this tire that rubbers in the racetracks so that the tires don't have their issues.  That's really the bottom line, and I felt like we have battled through it the best today.  And it's not anything new, but today it just shows up if your car isn't exactly perfect.           

And I just have got to thank Steve for helping me stay on top of the adjustments.  And for us to win this weekend -- last week is last week, we don't need to worry about it.  We knew we were having problems with the car trying to scale it, trying to measure, it trying to get the bump stops right.  It just would not do anything for us.           

So I would not be surprised if that car is not cut in half already.           

Q.  How critical is this race today as far as the points are concerned, because you were minus 28 coming in, now you're only minus nine?            

KURT BUSCH:  We have a long journey ahead of us.  Today is just awesome.  I mean, this is sweet.  The guys are all pumped up.  They know they know how to do their jobs.  They are all tied together right at the belt loops.  And everyone is so positive with the way they feel about their position and the way that Steve is leading these guys that we are not looking back, yet we are not looking too far ahead, because this is a long Chase.          

STEVE ADDINGTON:  I just think that look, we were 28 points back, right, but if we had took one race to do that, and we knew that it if there was three guys that got out there, 17 to 28 points ahead of us, if they had one race, they missed it a little bit; then we could be right back in this thing.  But the thing about it is it brought a whole group of people back into it, not just us.  It brought that whole bunch that was from fifth on back, it brought us all back into this thing, so it's pretty cool the way that's worked out.           

We knew if we came in here and had a solid week -- Kurt preached it all week.  We just need a smooth race here and that's what our game plan was, and that's to have a smooth race and race our own race.  We did that and it worked out for us.            

Q.  I've got a silly question and a serious one.  The silly one, something in that barbeque you had in Kansas City last week and do you think you'll go back to Jack's Stack when you get through this weekend?            

KURT BUSCH:  Definitely a good MoJo all the way around.  I did a Kansas City winner's circle appearance this week and went to a Jack Stack's Barbeque 101, got my hands dirty, got the hair burned off my right arm grilling, and those guys are a lot of fun to work with; and that's just a good feeling when you're out there trying to promote a track and ticket sales, and hopefully it all comes around.            

Q.  You talked about good tracks coming up for you.  Well, Dover and Kansas really have not been good tracks for you.  Phoenix and Martinsville and Charlotte you have wins; Texas.  How important was it to kind of get a monkey off your back here and now you're looking at another track where you average like 18th or something over the years?            

KURT BUSCH:  You know what's funny, I haven't told Steve this, he'll hear it for the first time right now.  Tracks that we have notoriously struggled on, we've been doing really well.  Tracks that we are expecting to do well on, we struggle.  Kansas, I don't know, I usually struggle there, so that's the way we are going to look at it.              

Q.  Today, because you struggled here, does that add to that MoJo do you think?            

KURT BUSCH:  It's a good feel to conquer a track that I've had trouble sealing the deal be on.  We have been fast, like Steve has said.  We have been in the mix, and it's great to conquer a racetrack and to get a win at a place that I've never won before.             

Q.  Can you talk about the way you and Jimmie raced each other on the restarts and is that an example that you two have put the differences you had after Richmond behind you?            

KURT BUSCH:  You know, it was on my mind but it wasn't.  Because I had tunnel vision for victory lane today, and it didn't matter who we had to driver around, through, and out-strategy.           

Steve was on it on the pit box.  It gave me great confidence grabbing gears and shifting up through on the restarts.  We took him on the outside, we took him on the inside and we drove our Pennzoil Dodge to victory lane.  It's sweet to beat your arch nemesis, but we have such a long way to go on this Chase, that's what we are really focused on.             

Q.  With the new points system, everything is bunched up so much more.  In years past, everybody has talked about how pressure filled the Chase is, but when the points seem so much closer, how do you look at it, how do you gauge it, how do you get a mental release in between races?            

KURT BUSCH:  For me, it is still the same system.  It's based off consistency.  And you can look at nine points, with the old system; that would be right around 36 to 40 with the old system.  So 36 points before felt just the same as what nine does now.  That's the way I'm looking at it.           

And yet, there's still just so many more weeks that you hope that there's not 12 guys that are mathematically eligible when they go to Homestead.  In years past, the most we have ever had was five.  So points are tight.  Just still, though, we have only got three races out of ten.  There's still a long way to go.  That's the way I look at it.             

Q.  That said, you have that approach, but how do you keep your team like that, or is certainly everybody will probably be asking you questions, hey, you're only nine points out.  They will see it as nine; not 36, 40, and look at the guys behind you three or four points and think it's so much closer than maybe it is.  How do you maintain that with your team?  Obviously you're going to face questions because you're that close to it.            

KURT BUSCH:  I've been in this position before, and there's still plenty of weeks left.  I've gone into Atlanta with three races to go with a 90-point lead in the past, and you look at it as it's zero.  You race every race to beat as many chasers as you can, and you can't get caught up if you're behind or ahead, until you go to Homestead.  That's when they hand you your deck of cards at Homestead:  All right, do I have a good hand, or am I working from behind?  And then you react.             

Q.  You guys are obviously happy right now but around lap 190 you were very frustrated, talking on your radio about being a broken record and the car not handling; how do you keep it together, the emotional swing between then and now, and keeping the car focused to go to the front?           

KURT BUSCH:  If anybody knows me by now, talking on the radio is one thing and driving the race car is another.  Staying focused, staying after it is what I ALWAYS do.  You rely on your guys to bust out those great pit stops and make good adjustments.          

Yes, halfway is a struggle for us with the track rubbered in.  Today we came out on top, and maybe we'll find a pattern now.             

Q.  What would it mean not only to give Roger Penske his first championship in the Sprint Cup Series, and maybe Will Power wins the IRL, what would that mean for Penske, two championships in one season; have you thought about that?            

KURT BUSCH:  No, we are not going to think about it.  But it would mean a tremendous amount.           

One of the reasons why I came here to Penske Racing was to deliver the first championship on the NASCAR side in the Sprint Cup Series.  But we are only three races in, we stay focused, each and every week like we have to, and with Will Power on the open-wheel side, we wish him the best; and it's because we have the best equipment. We have a great system and we all have to thank Roger Penske.           

Q.  Does this seem like a more competitive Chase than it has in years past?           

KURT BUSCH:  I tell you, it's hard to really put one word on it but I would say it's a slippery Chase, because you can slip just one little bit and next thing you know, you are fighting from behind.  You just don't want those out-of-the-ordinary things to happen.           

I heard a heartbreak with my teammates, Keselowski, losing his power steering.  Those are those little moments that you hate throughout a Chase run, and this year, everybody is in the mix.  It's still the same real points system.  Consistency is going to win it, and we are only three weeks in.            

Q.  Earlier this season, you guys entered the Chase with one win, much like Jimmie Johnson.  But you I think were the only team that remained in the Top-10 in points I think throughout the entire first 26 races.  Entering the Chase, did you believe, even with one or zero wins, did you believe that you had a team that was capable of being in contention for the championship?            

STEVE ADDINGTON:  Oh, most definitely.  It comes from having a group of guys that are willing to do anything, and anything you ask of them.  And we do have that group.           

Were we in this position at the first of the year, midway through the season?  No.  I think that we have made changes in our organization.  I think we have made changes in our race cars.  I think we have made changes all through to put us in a position; you see the results from the two car is the same.           

The organization has changed a good bit.  And you know, we made some changes, and you've got a group of guys back there in that shop that are willing to bust their tails for you and give you what you're asking for now, and I think that's maybe the biggest difference.           

But the group of guys that work on this 22 car, like Kurt said earlier, they are joined at the hip.  They are a good group and they work good together and they will do anything for you.  All you have to is tell them and they get after it.           

KURT BUSCH:  Just to quickly add to that, all year long we have been a consistent team and we have found ourselves in the Top-10 in points.  The quick analogy would be, we can go 12 rounds with anybody.  We are going to go for that TKO at the end or the decision, so to speak.  But today we threw down the knockdown.  It's great to bring home a victory.  This year, our model and our strengths have been good qualifying, and just running consistent.            

Q.  I guess you were not surprised, despite some of the talk, that Jimmie was out of it; did you find that kind of comical, and you weren't surprised to see your arch nemesis up there with you, and what did it mean to be able to get him on those final two restarts?  Just because he's a defending champion?         

KURT BUSCH:  All the stories -- keep it going on the 48 being out of it, because it only motivates those guys.  They are strong, and they always will be.  A five-time champion just doesn't happen by accident.  Chad Knaus is a great leader and Hendrick is a great program and Johnson is a very strong and true competitor.  And to beat him today and to come out on top, this is a great victory here at Dover.
 

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Posted on: October 2, 2011 8:33 pm
 

Harvick, Johnson and Edwards post Dover comments

Posted by Pete Pistone

KEVIN HARVICK: No, not at all. Obviously we circled this one as a place to come to, to overcome some things, and the guys did a good job today. We were just so loose on two tires, which is kind of backwards from what it should be, but we had to put two tires on there at the end to protect the track position side of it. So all in all it was okay.              

Q. How have you circled Kansas, because that's not a place you've had a lot of success, either?            

KEVIN HARVICK: You must look at a different stat sheet than I do. We have run really well there the last few times and I think we should be fine.          

Q. Looking for your first win, I guess is what I'm saying.          

KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, if you're looking for wins; you know, right now we are looking for a championship so whatever we have got to do to fight through that is what we'll do. Obviously you need to run good at all of them. You can run bad at any of them to tell you the truth but Kansas has been a place where we have been pretty solid.              

Q. Coming into Dover it's usually pretty hot out there, how did it feel with the weather, and the rain through the cautions probably didn't help too much, but as far as temperature goes inside.            

KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, inside the car, obviously cool days are great for us. But I think I would rather have had a hotter day than today, just because I felt like our car was better in practice when temperatures were warmer. It seemed like the groove that I was running in practice really wasn't there for us today because our car was too loose.

So, you know, it was good for inside the car but not great for the handling conditions of our Rheem Chevrolet.              

Q. I think 11 points changes during the first 26 races; why does it seem like more this year than maybe in the past?            

KEVIN HARVICK: I think the competition level is so even. I don't think you're going to see anybody come in here and dominate like you have before, as far as just taking off and running away. You're going to be consistent and solid and it's just a matter of keeping yourself in it until you get to the last couple of races and if you can keep yourself in contention, hopefully you've eliminated most of the other guys in the Chase.             

Q. The new points system this year, do you think that plays a factor in how you look at the competition, seeing, wow, they are only two back or five back or the Top-5 or ten back or something like?            

KEVIN HARVICK: It's definitely easier to add up.            

I think the points system definitely has changed the complexion of having a bad day. I think when you have a bad day, it hurts you worse than it had in the past. Maybe it just seems that way, but it also seems like if you can win some races, you can make up ground fairly quick and get up front and get the bonus points and the things you need to do.             

A lot of those guys that were pretty far back, that everybody thought were pretty far back had a pretty great day today and won't seem that far back anymore. You just have to take it one week at a time and I would much rather be sitting on top of the points three weeks in than sitting 12th. So we'll just keep at it.             

KERRY THARP: Only 15 points separate the top eight; 15 points separate the top eight drivers.              

Q. Did anything surprise you from the way this race went, the other competitors, Jimmie being strong, Carl being up there; did anything surprise you today?           

KEVIN HARVICK: You look at this racetrack, obviously the 48 has had a lot of success here and the 18 has had success and the 99 has had success. So it's been a good racetrack for those guys, and obviously not a super strong racetrack for us. But we felt like we had been solid over the last couple of years not to win the race but solid enough to get decent finishes and get out of here.            

KERRY THARP: Thank you so much and congratulations on taking over the points lead and we'll see you at Kansas. Thank you.             

Our race runner-up is Jimmie Johnson, five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series defending champion and Jimmie comes back with a strong second-place finish here today. And talk about that, Jimmie. You certainly had a car that could -- you had a race-winning car and certainly you were strong and a tired day and certainly one of those tracks you feel like you needed to excel at that.             

JIMMIE JOHNSON: Obviously a great day for us, to lead that many laps and to have great stops on pit road across the board, very, very strong effort. Wish that we could be one spot better but I just did not get two good restarts at the end of that thing and cost myself.
So all in all, though, exactly what we needed. We needed to run in the top three here at one of our better racetracks, and mission accomplished.             

KERRY THARP: After today you are in fifth place, just 15 points out of the lead. So you made up a lot of ground today here at Dover.            

JIMMIE JOHNSON: Are we out of it? Last week I was considered done.             

KERRY THARP: Jimmie, you are never out of it.             

JIMMIE JOHNSON: Just making sure, Kerry.            

Q. Coming here to Dover for a third race in the Chase, do you think that plays into the factor of how the Chase shakes out; when you won your past championships and prior years past, it was the second race; do you think it makes a difference or it benefitted you more that it's the third race in the Chase?            

JIMMIE JOHNSON: I don't think it really matters to be honest with you. When I looked at the schedule, with Atlanta not being in the Chase, that's been a tough track for us to consistently run well at and Chicago has been a more consistent track. My focus was more on the Chicago Atlanta switch. Didn't really matter to know. I was happy to that I was in the Chase; that Dover was in the Chase.             

KERRY THARP: We are joined by Carl Edwards. Carl is tied with Kevin Harvick for the number of points, but Kevin would get the higher seed due to the tie-breaker rules.          

But great showing out there today, Carl. You come in third place, you were up front most of the day. You had that speeding penalty on pit road, you came back, your car was extremely fast. Really put on a great show, you and Jimmie did, and Kurt, as well. Toward the end of that race. Congratulations.

CARL EDWARDS: It was a great day, other than that feeling I had when I ruined it there on pit road. That's about as small as you can feel in a race car.             

We talked about it before the race. We looked at the pit road speeding lines and that last line, Bob and I actually discussed the last section. It's 25 feet, eight inches long, and we talked about that run and how I was not going to speed through it, and I just blasted right through it.            

We were very, very fortunate. As frustrated as I am with myself for messing that up, I'm really, really grateful for the gift that was given to us with that caution and the ability to come back up there.             

And the other thing that was really important to me was my guys sticking behind me, because they had every right to be really, really upset with me. So ended up being a good finish. I had a good time racing there with Jimmie the last couple of laps. That was fun.              

Q. You mentioned the last two restarts, and Kurt looked like in a pro-stock the way he took off; was that a case of him being so much better or you not hitting your mark right?            

JIMMIE JOHNSON: Well, I did a really good job, up until those last two. I have to say, when you're the leader, you have a small advantage, because you go when you want. I blew it by spinning the tires. Kurt got a good launch, and we were door to door going into one, and he was able to get by on the outside.            

And then the next one, I was going to try to do that same thing back to him, and I was just trying to time it when he was going to accelerate. And I didn't time it right. And I had too big of a gap, and fell in behind him going into turn one.        

I put it on me, because the starts I had earlier in the day, regardless of the lane, leading or not -- yard guys, I cleared them typically going into one so, it's on me.            

Q. The two of you have had really very similar seasons, both of you have won one time and won once, and both of you could have run a number of other races. The regular season is sort of graded on a curve for the Chase, but the Chase is just a system that rewards consistency. Have either of you ever had seasons when you have actually been more consistent?            

JIMMIE JOHNSON: Is that a brain teaser? You're making me think, man.         

CARL EDWARDS: I don't know either.           

Q. Tony Stewart complains that we don't make him think and now you complain that we do.           

JIMMIE JOHNSON: (Laughing).             

Q. Are the two of you proud of your damn consistency?            

CARL EDWARDS: I'm really proud of my consistency (laughing). It feels good that runs a team on average as well as we have this year and to have an opportunity to win races. It's a little frustrating that we have not won more of them. I know Kenny Bruce had some advice for me the other day and I've been trying to think about that, trying to win more so we can get more points. But it has been a good season.           

JIMMIE JOHNSON: I think that the year that we raced Jeff for the championship, I know in the Chase, at least, we won a lot of races. I feel like that was maybe my most consistent year. I don't know how the regular season was.             

But you know, victory lane, there's nothing like it. I wish that -- especially in the first 26, the consistency wasn't there, but we went to victory lane more; would have been a better regular season for me.              

Q. We have seen in the first three races, a pattern of you being up there, contending for top-five finishes in Chicago, you run out of gas the final lap. You go to New Hampshire, you were on track for a top-ten finish and you struggle with Kyle Busch's contact in the final laps, and then here, it looked like you led the most laps, you're in contention to win, and then you end up finishing second. Do you feel like you've left a lot of points on the table the first three races and do you look back and say, oh, that's going to hurt me down the road? Or are you confident with the speed you've shown in the first three races and you're saying, okay, I feel like I'm in good position for the final seven.            

JIMMIE JOHNSON: I look at it and say we left points on the table. New Hampshire, for sure -- all three of them, absolutely, without a doubt. Not getting the restart I needed today at the end, that's on me and no one else.           

Definitely. This Chase is so tough to know what it's going to take, and I just -- we look at the 14 car, and what he did in the first two races and then the struggles they had today. I think it speaks to how tough these ten races are going to be and how you think somebody is on fire and the fire can go out.             

So we'll just keep fighting hard. I hate leaving points on the table, and we have these first three.             

Q. You both talked about essentially mistakes that you made today that prevented you from winning. How do you get over that? How long does that take? What's that process in moving forward?            

JIMMIE JOHNSON: If I was Carl, I wouldn't get over that mistake.             

CARL EDWARDS: (Laughing ).             

JIMMIE JOHNSON: I maybe wouldn't show up next week.             

CARL EDWARDS: But you're not me.          

JIMMIE JOHNSON: No. No           

CARL EDWARDS: It is tough. It's frustrating. I think if I were Jimmie, I would be so frustrated I gave up that win. He had otherwise a perfect day. It would probably bother me all week if I were Jimmie. 

JIMMIE JOHNSON: (Laughing). Not sure we answered your question.             

Q. Inaudible         

CARL EDWARDS: I go shooting. That helps. (Laughing).            

No, it is tough. Someone wrote a long time ago -- I don't remember which book it was but my buddy, Carl Frederickson, had this book at his house that said, racing is not -- you don't succeed by being the guy that does everything perfect; you succeed by being the guy that minimizes mistakes. Everyone is going to make mistakes and they are very difficult to get over.           

Today I think both of us were fortunate. We finished up front didn't cost ourselves a ton of points but we are race car drivers and we are going to think about what we did wrong and try not to do it again.           

Seems like as soon as you have everything figured out you start forgetting things that you knew a long time ago and start making mistakes over again. It's very difficult.             

JIMMIE JOHNSON: Definitely, giving up a win by not getting a good restart; I'll think about it tonight. And certainly disappointed in the fact that I didn't take advantage of the opportunity I had up front.           

But finishing second, big picture wise, we'll take it. It's not the end of the world, but the mistake's on me.            

Q. The way you were dominating the first half of the race, without that mistake, you win this thing going away? Is that how you'll remember this tonight or tomorrow when you go shooting?            

CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, it's really easy to say, if we would not have made that mistake we would have won. I definitely took myself out of position to fight for the win by doing that. So that's something that painful, and I'm going to think about it. I'm going to think about it all the way home. I'm going to lay in bed. My wife's going to yell at me and tell me to get over it. That's just how it goes. That's how racing is.           

But to me, the neatest part was that Bob and my guys made sure that they told me that they were behind me and they weren't -- they were excited to go to Kansas. That really felt good. But you do feel kind of like you're on an island sometimes when you make those kind of mistakes. You feel like, man, I have all of these people behind me, all of these folks working so hard and that's a tough thing to swallow but that's part of the sport.              
Q. (No mic)           

CARL EDWARDS: That's the first time I've been caught speeding on pit road all year? Well, I've done it like 15 times in the Nationwide Series. That's a tough one.          

Q. Did you say that maybe you had something on one of your tires on that restart? And also, can were you concerned at all just restarting against Kurt Busch and knowing if you had contact, then, oh my gosh, this could lead to other stuff?            

JIMMIE JOHNSON: No, it didn't cross my mind at all. It was just another guy to race, another car to worry about fighting for the win with. I didn't think twice about Kurt being out there.           

We raced hard and clean and did what we both needed to on the track, so that's a good thing. Coming around to get the green, there's a lot of rubber chunks laying around and I picked up a piece of rubber and I could feel it on the tire kind of thumping as I was coming around. It could have been on the rear. I think it might have, but I didn't want to climb out of the race car saying, I had stuff on my tires and that's what messed it up. I should have done a better job of cleaning my tires and worked harder to get it off. Whatever it is, it's still on me.             

But I did feel like I had a little pick-up there right before I went to the gas are for the start itself.             

Q. How glad are you guys that it wasn't a mileage race today?            

JIMMIE JOHNSON: Very glad. Very happy that it wasn't. Racing, worrying about that stuff, it has not been our strong suit but it's an area we are working hard to get better in and happy to know it didn't come down to that.             

CARL EDWARDS: We get pretty good fuel mileage with our Ford and we work on it hard. So to me fuel mileage races I kind of look at as an opportunity. But I'm sure as soon as I say that, I'll get bit by one and it will get me.          

I was glad we raced to the finish today. I thought that was a lot of fun.

 
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Posted on: October 2, 2011 7:24 pm
Edited on: October 3, 2011 9:54 am
 

Speed Read: Dover




By Pete Pistone

COMPLETE AAA 400 RESULTS

AAA 400 RECAP

The Chase for the Sprint Cup went down to the wire a year ago with Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin all taking a chance to win the title into the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

While there’s still a ways to go before this year’s Chase is decided, it’s looking very much like NASCAR 2011 is headed to a dramatic finish to crown the champion.

Sunday’s AAA 400 finish jumbled up the point standings in a big way with Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson surging to the top while Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. dropped toward the bottom. 

It’s a scenario that likely will play it self out the same way in the coming weeks. 

“Things are just so tight this year, you can feel the competition level just evening itself out,” said Johnson, who finished second to Kurt Busch and climbed from tenth to fifth in the process. “I said before this started it would be a tight race and I think you’re seeing that right now.” 

While Johnson helped his cause for a sixth straight title Busch reclaimed his position as a solid contender to take the crown with his second win of the season.

“I couldn’t be happier right now,” Busch said.  “To win in a Sprint Cup race in the Chase, this is what it’s all about.  This is the playoffs.  We had everything go wrong for us last week; we had everything go right for us this week.  We just need nice, smooth races from here.”

The jubilation in the Busch and Johnson camps was countered with the frustration from Earnhardt, who saw his promising start to the Chase hit a road block when he encountered a slew of problems on Sunday en route to a 24th place finish.

But with seven races to go, Earnhardt is not ready to throw in the towel.

“You can’t quit,” Earnhardt said. “You have that opportunity there and we have a hot pass to the garage area and you are going to go in there and check it out. We have an opportunity to race in the Chase and we are still alive and we will keep racing as hard as we can till the last lap at Homestead.”

The way things have started, there’s a good chance a lot will still be on the line when that final lap at Homestead does roll around.

 

RISERS 

Jimmie Johnson

Needed a rebound after a frustrating start to the Chase and got just that Sunday with a typical Dover performance. Kicked himself after spinning the tires on the day’s final restart opening the door for Kurt Busch to take the lead and win, keeping Johnson from capturing his seventh career Dover victory. But his second place finish gave Johnson a huge surge in the standings as he moved from tenth to fifth.

Kyle Busch 

Maybe not to the degree of Johnson, but Busch needed a good day at Dover after his stumbling start to the Chase. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver came into the playoffs as the number one seed and fell like a rock after poor finishes in Chicago and New Hampshire. But his sixth place run Sunday was at the very least a confidence-builder for Busch moving forward.

A.J. Allmendinger

Somehow survived a slide for life when he got turned around and slid nearly the length of a straightaway on lap number five. Allmendinger roared back and came home seventh proving once again how much he enjoys racing at Dover, where he nearly won a year ago. Don’t count the No. 43 team out of potentially adding to the list of the season’s first time winners. 

 

FALLERS  

Tony Stewart 

Remember all that momentum Stewart had after starting the Chase with back-to-back wins? Or all that talk that he was now the favorite to win the championship after getting out of the blocks as hot as he did? Well forget it. Stewart’s fears about his recent continued struggles at Dover were realized on Sunday where he was never a factor and wound up finishing 25th in the final rundown. 

Dale Earnhardt Jr.   

A sway bar problem before the green flag even flew was the start of Earnhardt’s problems on Sunday that included among other things a vibration and more tire issues. Despite fighting back seemingly time after time through wave arounds and Lucky Dogs, Earnhardt was saddled with a 24th place finish for his effort in Dover.

Ryan Newman 

Continuing the day’s theme for Stewart-Haas Racing, Newman had a very long day at Dover to join his teammate and boss Stewart’s frustration. Newman is still mathematically in the championship picture but realistically he’s as done as Denny Hamlin in this year’s title race.

 

RADIO WAVES 

(Choice comments and communications from drivers and crew chiefs) 

"To beat your arch-nemesis, that's just icing on the cake. And it's pretty sweet." – Kurt Busch on beating Jimmie Johnson

"Points system definitely has changed complexion of having a bad day. When u have a bad day, it hurts you worse than it had in the past.” – Chase points leader Kevin Harvick

"It’s frustrating.  I think we were good enough to get a solid run out of it, but ended up 20th.” – Brad Keselowski

"Keep that heat on him. He can't handle it." – Chad Knaus to Jimmie Johnson racing Kurt Busch

"I'm glad it broke & didn’t fall off, cuz I like everybody." – Dale Earnhardt Jr. to his crew after his sway bar problems early in the race

  

RACE RATING 

On a scale of one to five "Pistone Pistons" I’ll give Sunday’s AAA 400 a three. Lots of twists and turns mixed into a day that saw some good hard racing throughout the field and at the end three heavyweights in Busch, Johnson and Edwards racing for the checkered flag. The title race was jumbled up as many expected and NASCAR has a pretty tight playoff race on its hands with only three races in the book. Busch may not have been a complete surprise winner but his trip to victory lane Sunday added to the mystery of this year’s Chase.

 

DOWN THE ROAD 

The Chase moves to round four two and next weekend’s return trip to Kansas Speedway. This marks the first time the Sprint Cup Series has made two trips to the Sunflower State and the first visit in June marked Brad Keselowski’s inaugural trip to victory lane. That race was a fuel strategy affair as was the event three weeks ago at the Kansas sister track in Chicago. There’s a new casino going in on the grounds of Kansas Speedway and the first bet I’d make is that fuel mileage will play into the equation come Sunday afternoon. 

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com