Friday Dover Notebook

Jimmie Johnson

Jimmie Johnson has the film "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" on his No. 48 Chevrolet this weekend. (Photo: Getty Images)

DOVER, Del. – News, notes and nuggets from Friday’s activities at Dover International Speedway.

Dodge Plans for 2013 Still Unclear
Dodge is not any closer to a decision regarding its NASCAR involvement past the end of this season. The manufacturer, which will lose its relationship with Penske Racing at season’s end when that team moves to Ford, has indicated a desire to remain in the sport. However, as the calendar year reaches the halfway point, nothing yet has been decided on the future of Dodge.

"We identified a process for the evaluation of the 2013 NASCAR program," said Beth Paretta, director of marketing and operations for Dodge's SRT brand and motorsports said in a statement. "We are continuing to follow that process and are within our established timeline. We're pleased with the number of inquiries that have been received about the Dodge motorsports program.”

Speculation remains that Andretti Autosport remains a viable candidate to add a NASCAR program to the team’s IZOD IndyCar Series effort.

Earnhardt Jr. Still Confident
Dale Earnhardt Jr. remains the best Hendrick Motorsports driver in the Sprint Cup Series point standings although he remains winless since 2008. However, despite some disappointment in the effort last week at Charlotte, Earnhardt remains optimistic about the direction of his race team this weekend in Dover.

“We feel pretty good about being consistent and running well at every track,” said Earnhardt, who comes into Dover fourth in the series point standings. “The cars are built really well. That’s a testament to all the hard work at Hendrick Motorsports by all of the team to keep the car on track every lap and be able to run every lap that’s been run this year. Just looking forward to what kind of racecar we have here. We haven’t performed that great here over the last several years, and we feel like it’s a good opportunity this year for us to change that.”

Indy 500 Receiving High Praise
Last week’s 96th running of the Indianapolis 500 is still creating buzz even around the NASCAR garage. Former Indy Car driver Tony Stewart said he couldn’t think of a better Memorial Day weekend classic than what took place last Sunday.

“I thought it was the best Indy 500 I’ve ever seen,” said Stewart. “I was glad we got it worked out in my schedule to where I could watch the whole thing and didn’t have to leave before the end of it to go to hospitalities we had them all after the drivers meeting. I got to watch the whole thing. I thought it was awesome.”

Johnson Looks to “Move It” Back to Victory Lane
Jimmie Johnson is shooting for a seventh career Dover victory in Sunday’s FedEx 400 Benefitting Autism Speaks. But he’ll be trying with a much different look to the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. The film "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" is the predominant sponsor for Johnson on Sunday, in celebration of the release of the third installment of the animated series. Johnson will try to bring team owner Rick Hendrick his third straight victory dating back to his Southern 500 victory at Darlington followed by the Sprint All-Star Race win the following week and teammate Kasey Kahne’s triumph in the Coca-Cola 600 last Sunday.

No Explanation for Edwards’ Concrete Success
Carl Edwards has earned the nickname “Concrete Carl” during his NASCAR career for success on surfaces like Dover that aren’t coated with asphalt. But don’t ask the Roush Fenway Racing driver exactly why he’s enjoyed such stellar performance.

“I’ve had some bad runs on concrete also,” Edwards said. “We have run well at Nashville, here and Bristol but we have also missed it.”

Edwards gives complete credit to set-up and preparation for his concrete track prowess.

“Like I was saying, it is really easy to miss the setup here and really be in trouble,” he said. “If you are off here it is so treacherous and so tough but I think our success is due to really smart crew chiefs, good communication and getting the car set up right. There is no driver that can drive a bad car to a win at these places, I don’t believe. I think you have to have a good car and then you have to drive it well. I think relying on the car being set up to do more work is the key to running well here.”

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