I’m one of you. Long before my first article or big name interview and for as long as I can remember, I’ve been a stock car fan. So for that reason, my name doesn’t matter and neither does my photo. It’s more like we’re just sitting here in the grandstand before the race, talking about Dodges and NASCAR. Hey, you want a cold one? --JC
The Great Mopar Massacre!
Well, ain’t that sumptin’!!! By now, y’all know all about how Dodge done stomped a mud hole in the ass of the competition at Daytona. As we’re writin’ this, it’s a few days after what many hardcore Dodge fans are already calling ‘The Mopar Massacre’ at Daytona. Yep, any time you can keep all but one lone Chevy and one lone Ford from getting a top ten in NASCAR’s biggest race, well, THAT IS sumptin’. The cool part is that it just wasn’t one of them deals where the cars come alive at the end of the race and drove up front for the win. Nope, them Dodges done kept their noses in the wind all race long showing they were open for bidness. Yee-Ha!
One great story is how the deal with Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart came back into play on the last lap. A week before, ‘ol Kurt and ‘Smoke’ Stewart was running hot and heavy in the Bud Shootout. Kurt, a guy who don’t take too much crap from anybody, thought Smoke done him wrong in the race. Well, after the race they come off the track and down pit road, and Kurt proceeds to drive into Smoke. Bang, bang, Kurt slams into Smoke. As expected, the two got called into the Room of Doom we all know as the NASCAR trailer. This is where the story gets fuzzy, but the pieces we put together say that Kurt got punched or choked out by Smoke. Ryan Newman kinda hinted at that when he was on Letterman. Anyway, Kurt and Smoke both got probation for the next six races.
Now fast forward to the last lap of the 500 and we find Kurt and Smoke pairing off once again. Well, in a display of pure testicular fortitude, neither one of these boys was about to follow the other to the flag so they took their own separate lines. Kurt, who done led the most laps of anyone, pushed his teamie, Ryan around Smoke for the win. Smoke ended up telling the media how he’s never happy going from first to third. Racing Rule number 23 - Payback’s a bitch, ain’t it?
About a month before Dodge ended up owning Daytona, we were down in Charlotte for the first event of the year for us word jugglers, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Media Tour Hosted by Lowes Motor Speedway. And as we look back on it, we could feel how the Dodge teams were all fired up. And this wasn’t the usual pre-season mega-hype where we keep hearing the word, ‘excited’ until we’re ready to puke. Nope, this was a real confident Dodge team. Mike Accavitti, director of Dodge brand marketing put the cards on the table, “Last year, we didn't live up to expectations both on and off the track... Last year, we had an old and a new car so we were dealing with a lot of change. We have also changed our corporate structure and we had lost focus.”
And it didn’t take him long to show they been a-working those new Chargers. “The new structure we have in place is supportive from the top all the way down. With all that behind us, we can't wait to get the year started. Our mission is to win races and we fully expect to have at least one Dodge team battle for this year's championship. We have all the teams in place to make that happen." (That was no BS! Dodge put their money where their mouth was on race day by offering a cool million-dollar bounty to the Dodge team that won the 500. That meant that Ryan Newman won a total of 2.5 Mil for his Sunday romp.)
Kurt Busch also seemed ready to go when he said, "We just want to build on the foundation that we already have in place here with this team. We finished seventh in points last year, but we want to be even higher than that. We want to be more consistent because we found out last year that it's hard to play catch-up when it comes to gaining lost ground in a championship race. We want poles and wins but most importantly we want consistency. Those are a lot of wants, now we have to go on and back up what we're talking about." We’re thinking he done just that.
We visited with more Dodge teams including Petty Enterprises where King Richard talked about their new shop, “…It was a gamble and it was hard, but it was something we all knew we needed to do. This is the first step for us getting this team back to where we need to be and getting competitive."
Kyle Petty said one of the hardest parts for him in making the move to Mooresville was leaving behind so many childhood memories. "I don't know what's going to happen to the old shop. It's been hard on me, but I knew it was time to make a change. While it was hard on me, I can't imagine how hard it was on my father because of all the history that our family made out of the old shop. When I was little, I grew up there doing stuff like riding motorcycles and playing around the shop. I have to admit that I had no idea how hard would be to walk in and see Petty Enterprises with no race cars in it. Our heart and soul is still in Level Cross, but now that's behind us so hopefully one day we'll have the same feeling about this new place as we did with the old shop."
While we were visiting the new shop, the King posed for us with one of his old Chargers. To see that deal, click here.