Extra day in Texas equals extra stress for teams this week. DETROIT, Mich., April 10, 2002 - For crew chiefs like James Ince, who leads the technical effort on Johnny Benson's No. 10 Pontiac, the extra day spent last weekend at Texas Motor ...
Extra day in Texas equals extra stress for teams this week.
DETROIT, Mich., April 10, 2002 - For crew chiefs like James Ince, who leads the technical effort on Johnny Benson's No. 10 Pontiac, the extra day spent last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway means extra pressure this week as he prepares his team for Sunday's short-track tilt at Martinsville Speedway.
In addition to handling the travel logistics that go with a rain-delayed race, Ince had to shuffle Talladega test dates and the scheduled shop work needed to gear up for the upcoming event at California Speedway on April 28. But according to Ince, the biggest burden faced this week is keeping team members focused, while they spend an unexpected 10 consecutive days away from home.
Thoughts From James Ince, Crew Chief, No. 10 Valvoline Pontiac Grand Prix:
HOW BIG OF AN IMPACT IS IT ON A TEAM WHEN A RACE GETS POSTPONED UNTIL MONDAY, LIKE LAST WEEKEND'S RACE AT TEXAS?
"With the Winston Cup schedule like it is right now, it's a pretty big deal. I think we all try to work ahead now, but the teams that are better prepared - it might be a benefit for them this week going to Martinsville. We run so many races and we're so regimented on the schedule right now that any time you have a glitch anywhere, it's a huge deal. Fortunately, we're going to Martinsville this week instead of California or somewhere that requires a lot of travel time. That makes it a little bit easier on everybody."
YOU HAD ALREADY SCHEDULED A TEST AT TALLADEGA THIS WEEK...DID THE POSTPONEMENT HURT YOUR TEST EFFORT?
"That's the hardest part because we're actually getting hit with the weather twice. Our original plan was to run Tuesday, but the weather was bad, so we actually sat all day - scared that it might rain us out. Now, we're testing today and Thursday, which makes it really hard for us because the truck has to get home and we've got to turn it around (for Martinsville). It probably won't get to Martinsville until about 2 o'clock Friday morning.
"The biggest thing I'm facing right now is making sure my people are rested. The cars are prepared; we're in good shape there. But, it just makes this week pretty short and essentially, it's going to be two weeks that the guys aren't going to be home to see their families."
WHAT WILL YOUR PLAN BE THURSDAY NIGHT ONCE YOU RETURN FROM THE TALLADEGA TEST?
"We'll actually go to the shop, turn cars around, trade out luggage and drive to Martinsville (approximately a two-hour drive) Thursday night."
IS THE IMPACT OF THIS SCHEDULE CHANGE CONTAINED TO THIS WEEK, OR WILL IT AFFECT YOU AGAIN IN A COUPLE WEEKS?
"We're in good shape for the next couple weeks. Our Martinsville stuff is done, of course, and so is our Talladega stuff - we've got it with us here (in Talladega). Our biggest obstacle now is getting prepared for California because the trucks have got to leave early to head out there. This is affecting California more than it is anything because it's basically pushed our work schedule back a couple of days."
WHAT DOES ALL THIS DO TO YOUR STRESS-LEVEL?
"I'm a little bit tired right now, but it's what we do. The reality of it is, I would race every single day if there were a way to do that. This week that is what we're doing. We're running a race car every day and we're racing pretty hard.
"It's frustrating and it can burn you out. You've got to make sure that everything falls right into place. The biggest that gets to me and stresses me the most is making sure my guys are taken care of - that they get rest and that they get an opportunity to see their family. Unfortunately, this week there is not time to do that and that puts a lot of pressure on me. The biggest cure for that is to go to Martinsville and run well. If we go to Martinsville and happen to have a bad weekend, then there are problems. Then it does make things bad that we didn't get rested this week."