Although it's not headline grabbing material, what's going on at Johnny Benson's #10 Valvoline Pontiac shop this off-season is the type of work that builds winning teams said Crew Chief James Ince. The team is implementing a plan to accommodate the NASCAR Winston Cup Series' 36-race schedule in 2001. Ince said MBV Motorsports employees would enjoy two days off each week during the upcoming race season. A five-day week is a rarity in NASCAR, but Ince argues it is a key for teams who want to attract the best people in the future.
The 2001 schedule will be expanded to 36 championship point events -- from 34 -- as well as its two traditional non-championship point events: The Bud Shootout at Daytona International Speedway and The Winston at Lowes Motor Speedway.
How Will 36-Race Schedule Alter Your Team? "I have a plan laid out to where everybody in the shop will get two days off a week. We are 99.9 percent there right now. It has to happen. They are trying to kill us with this many races. If this were just Johnny and myself and three other guys going racing, we'd race every single day of the week and tow the car from track to track then work on the cars ourselves. But it isn't that way in this sport any more. This schedule is so hard. It's 36 races plus two non-points events. That means we have a 23-week stretch in 2001 so you have to keep your people fresh and in the right frame of mind."
Why Is A 5-Day Week Important? "As a crew chief and manager of all these guys I have to make sure they have time to get their grass cut at home and see that their wives are happy as well as go to their kid's play or football game. All that carries back into the shop. To have a race team where everybody is happy, our people have to have a healthy home life and everything be good there. We want to win championships and races. It's my choice if I want to kill myself by working so much, but it isn't best for the team if I overwork 40 other people and ruin their home life.
"We had to make a decision that we would either give some people some time off or we could go out and hire a divorce attorney and put him on staff and save everyone a little bit of money. We chose the time off after we decided we liked the family atmosphere better."