By Patrick Rall
It has been an up-and-down 2012 NASCAR season for Team Dodge
with the week #5 stop in Fontana California being another “down”. Between Saturday’s Nationwide Series Royal
Purple 300 and Sunday’s rain shortened Sprint Cup Auto Club 400, there were 86 entries
qualified for the two races but just 5 Dodge racers were able to start to the
two races this weekend. One could point
out that Dodge takes a “quality over quantity” position but with the best
finishing position being a pretty solid 3rd in the Royal Purple 300
and a very mediocre 15th in the Auto Club 400.
On Saturday, the Team Penske Dodge Challengers driven by Brad
Keselowski and Sam Hornish Jr were the best qualifying Dodge racers with 3rd
and 13th place qualifying positions.
David Green was the only other Dodge Challenger to qualify, starting 40th. When the race ended 150 laps later, Brand
Keselowski ended up right where he started with his #22 Discount Tire Dodge
Challenger while Hornish Jr dropped 2 spots from start to finish – ending up 13th
in his #12 Alliance Truck Parts Challenger.
David Green was never really competitive (at least not like the other
two Dodge drivers) and although he moved from 40th to 31st,
Green ran into suspension problems and left the race 11 laps short of the
finish. Joey Logano won the Saturday
Nationwide Series race in his #18 Toyota Camry.
Hornish Jr’s 13th place finish helped him to move up to 5th
in the series championship points (54 points behind the leader) and since
Keselowski is a Sprint Cup player, he is not in the Nationwide championship
On Saturday, two only two competitors driving Dodge Chargers
were from Team Penske, with Brad Keselowski driving his #1 Miller Lite Charger
and AJ Allmendinger driving the #22 Shell/Pennzoil Charger with the #2
qualifying 17th while Allmendinger’s #22 car started in the 25th
position. Allmendinger had a strong car
and moved from his 25th starting position up to 15th but
unfortunately, rain forced officials to shorten the race to just 129 laps. This prevented Allmendinger from making a
better run to the front of the field and Keselowski dropped to 18th
place before the race came to a soggy end.
Tony Stewart to claimed the win in his #14 Office Depot Chevy. Keselowski’s poor finish dropped him two
spots in the Sprint Cup championship standings to 16th while Allmendinger
remained frozen in 26th place on the season.
Week 6 for the 2012 NASCAR season heads to Martinsville
Virginia where the Sprint Cup Goody’s Fast Relief 500 will be run Sunday while
the Camping World Truck Series joins the NASCAR bigs on Sunday for their second
stop of the year with the Kroger 250.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series takes a week off, with their next stop coming
when they rejoin the Sprint Cup drivers in Texas on the weekend of April
13-14. The Camping World Truck Series
made their debut for 2012 at the Daytona speed weeks, with just two Dodge/Ram
entries in the field. There is a chance
that Brad Keselowski will be in a Ram race truck in Martinsville, having run
the #119 Twitter sponsored Ram at Daytona.