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Dodge Charger makes debut in opening day of testing

Daytona Beach, FL (Sports Network) - After a 30-year hiatus, the legendary Dodge Charger engine has roared back to life for its debut in the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup season. Four teams and a total of 10 drivers will sit behind the wheel of a Charger at this year's Daytona 500.

"Dodge will be prepared to carry the winning tradition that legends including David Pearson, Bobby Isaac and Richard Petty established with their Chargers in the '60s and '70s," said John Fernandez, Director, Dodge Motorsports Operations.

Reigning Nextel Cup champion Kurt Busch (Ford) is also among the 20-25 teams in Florida for the first of two three-day sessions at the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway.

Busch finished the morning session with the fifth-fastest time - 48.802 seconds, 184.419 m.p.h.

Competitors that finished in odd-numbered positions in the 2004 Nextel Cup owners points will test this week, with even-numbered positions scheduled to test next week.

Jeff Gordon posted the quickest morning time - 48.579 seconds (185.265 m.p.h.).

Boris Said (48.601), Jeremy Mayfield (48.779) and Greg Biffle completed the top-four.

Along with Busch, Gordon and Mayfield, the other top-10 driver in this week's session are: 2004 Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman and Elliott Sadler.

The slowest time of the morning test session was 50.967 seconds (176.585 m.p.h.) by the No.92 Chevrolet of Jeff Fuller.

01/11 14:30:14 ET

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