Kenny Irwin Daytona July Preview

IRWIN LOOKS FOR REPEAT PLUS TWO AT DAYTONA DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Kenny Irwin, driver of the No. 28 Texaco/Havoline Ford Taurus, hopes to improve his finishing position by two spots over his February visit to Daytona International...

IRWIN LOOKS FOR REPEAT PLUS TWO AT DAYTONA

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Kenny Irwin, driver of the No. 28 Texaco/Havoline Ford Taurus, hopes to improve his finishing position by two spots over his February visit to Daytona International Speedway in Saturday's Pepsi 400. Doing so would put Irwin in victory lane at the famed 2.5-mile tri-oval. "We know that we can go and run good, just like we did in February," said Irwin, who started 43rd and finished third in the Daytona 500. "At Daytona and Talladega, more than anywhere else, we rely on having a good handling car and working the draft. You can go from the back to the front there in a hurry." Irwin is well aware, though, that just because he ran well in February there is no guarantee he will do the same in July. "It is different," said Irwin, the 1998 NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year. "And I learned that last year. It was really just the opposite of our Daytona 500 run in February. We started 11th and finished 32nd, but we were in an accident. As far as the car goes, just because you run a 22-pound spring in the right front in February doesn't mean you'll run that same spring in July. The heat makes all the difference." The entire Texaco/Havoline team is excited as they return to Daytona. They have built a new car and say it will be even better than the car they ran in February. "It's got a new body and a little different chassis," said Bo Fletcher, fabricator. Norman Koshimizu, gasman and fabricator, says the car has a better aero package and tested well in the wind tunnel. His sentiments were echoed by John Harvey, fabricator. "We went to the tunnel and the car looked great," said Harvey. "We go to win every time we go to a track. If you don't go to win, you may as well stay home." Mike O'Malley, shop foreman, says the new car looks better on paper and adds the "paper" has never lied to them before. Knowing that aero and handling add up to drafting and are key in the race at Daytona, Irwin says you figure out who your drafting "partners" are in the first 450 miles and then are pretty much on your own for the last 50. "It's not even who you trust," said Irwin. "It's who is fastest in the pack you are running with at the time. If you have a good car, you seem to gain friends as the race goes on. I can count on my teammate Dale Jarrett, but I know that at the end of the race he is going to do what it takes for him to win and he knows the same goes for me." Just as easily as you can advance in a restrictor-plate race with lots of drafting, you can also fall back. Irwin says you need to pay attention for the entire race and you learn every lap who you can work with. "You watch closely for 450 miles and you make mental notes that will get you to where you can end up with a top-five finish," Irwin said. "But, with one to go, strategy goes out the window. That lap is pure instinct. You go wherever a hole opens up and hope it's the right decision." Heading to Daytona, Irwin sits 19th in the series point standings and has $1,152,026 in season earnings. "We're all excited," said Irwin. "Daytona is always exciting and we're carrying a lot of momentum back there with us, and that's a good thing. This Texaco/Havoline team definitely has a winning attitude."

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup