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Race Day: Chasers Could Be In For Rough Time

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, September 26 2010

The Chase continues today with the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
RacinToday.com

Before Clint Bowyer was handed the death penalty in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship for use of an illegal car, much of the post-race talk about New Hampshire concerned aggressive driving in the playoff opener.

The Chase continues today at Dover International Speedway in Delaware and some are wondering if the aggressive driving will continue as well.

Here is what a select group of drivers had to say about the subject:

Tony Stewart, No. 14 Stewart Haas Racing Chevrolet: “I’d say guys are going to be pretty aggressive. It’s not going to be any different than it normally is. Last week’s race wasn’t a different race than what we normally see because people were paying attention more to the guys because it was a Chase race. The race itself wasn’t different. The guys didn’t race any different. They raced just as hard as they always do.”

Kevin Harvick, No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet: “I think because the speeds are so much higher and the fact that Loudon is really hard to pass and you have to kind of forcethe issue sometimes and things happen and people run into each other there.  I think everybody will race hard but I don’t think you can have as much beating and banging as you did last week.”

Carl Edwards, No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford: “Dover has more grip.  The tire seems to grip a little bit more. There at New Hampshire, the problem on the restarts was everyone’s cars were so loose, there was no grip in the track. That’s part of what makes it fun, but also makes it really dangerous on the restarts. I think that’s why you saw each time we had a restart there would be chaos.”

Kurt Busch, No. 2 Penske Racing Dodge:  “It was an amazing race with all the Chase drivers running each other the way that they were and acting as if they needed every five, four or three points as far as positions go.  Dover, you have to race the race track more here.  This is a little bit of a Darlington mentality.  That’s where I need to go back to race the race track, don’t worry about other Chase guys.  If we finish seventh and there are a few Chasers ahead of us, hey, we’ve got eight more after that.”

Trivia time

Kyle Busch is looking to sweep Dover in 2010 today. Jimmie Johnson swept the place last year. Prior to that, who was the last driver to win twice in one season at the Monster Mile?

Fast facts

What: AAA 400

Where: Dover (Del.) International Speedway

Track: 1-mile oval

Banking: 24 degrees in corners

When: Sunday, 1:15 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN, 1 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN/Sirius Satellite Ch. 128

Race distance: 400 laps/400 miles

Estimated pit window: 75-80 laps

2009 winner: Jimmie Johnson

2009 polesitter: Jimmie Johnson

Today’s polesitter: Jimmie Johnson

Next Question

Next weekend’s race is at Kansas. Not that drivers this week were thinking about that or wanting to talk about that.

Asked about Kansas Speedway:

Tony Stewart said – “They copied it from Chicago or Chicago copied off of them; it’s no different than most of the 1.5-miles we go to, it’s a copied race track.”

Kevin Harvick said – “I am worried about Dover right now.”

Track tidbits

Most victories: 7, by Bobby Allison and Richard Petty

Most poles: 6, by David Pearson

Most top-fives: 22 by Mark Martin

Most leaders in a race: 13, twice (most recently in 2000)

Most cautions: 16, in 1993

Fewest cautions: 0, in 1971

Most cars on lead lap: 21, in 2006

Fewest on lead lap: 1, 11 times (most recently in 1991)

Fewest running at finish: 13, in 1981

Closest margin of victory: .08 seconds

Largest margin of victory: 22.071 seconds

Final word

Jimmie Johnson on the 150-point penalty to Clint Bowyer after the No. 33 car was taken to the R and D center and inspected.

“I just saw something where he was holding up a quarter. Man, I don’t know what goes on through tech, I didn’t even know our car was in question or had to go through the sticks twice. But, I don’t care. I just drive the car. Show up with my helmet and go. I have been nailed plenty of time. Let’s just stir things up…NASCAR gave the No. 11 and the No. 48 a little slack and let us roll through and wanted to nail the No. 33…we’ll just take that angle and have some fun with it.. Let’s just play into it because regardless of what I say, people are going to believe that. So, the hell with it, let’s just ride it.”

Trivia answer

Ryan Newman swept Dover in 2003 when he was driving for Penske Racing.

Up next

The Price Chopper 400 presented by Kraft at Kansas Speedway.

Mark Martin won the pole and Tony Stewart won the race last year. Stewart and Jeff Gordon are the only two-time winners at Kansas. Toyota has never won at the 1.5-mile tri-oval. Matt Kenseth hold the qualifying record – 180.856 mph, set in 2005.

– Jim Pedley can be reached at jpedley@racintoday.com

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, September 26 2010
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