Aaron's Pontiac Driver Johnny Benson and Crew Chief James Ince differ on the merits of running Sears Point and Watkins Glen as part of the NASCAR Winston Cup schedule. This weekend the NASCAR Winston Cup series runs in Watkins Glen, N.Y....
Aaron's Pontiac Driver Johnny Benson and Crew Chief James Ince differ on the merits of running Sears Point and Watkins Glen as part of the NASCAR Winston Cup schedule.
This weekend the NASCAR Winston Cup series runs in Watkins Glen, N.Y. - the second and final road course of the 32-race season. Debate over the merits of road course racing on the nearly all-oval Winston Cup schedule dominates the discussions the week before Watkins Glen. Proponents suggest the road courses add variety and reward different skills while purists suggest road courses have no part in the series, increase expense and add to an extremely busy schedule.
#10 Aaron's Pontiac driver Johnny Benson and his crew chief James Ince take differing views on the subject. Benson has little road racing experience, but likes the variety and even attended a Formula One race in April. Benson is bringing his road course instructor Bill Cooper to Watkins Glen this weekend. Ince, who grew up dirt racing in Springfield, Mo., sees little merit in road racing. Unlike his driver, Ince hopes for rain this weekend.
Ince Response To Proponents Who Suggest Road Courses Add Variety:
"Variety is cool but rest is better. If they want variety then forget road courses and let's all go dirt racing. That would be a lot better show. I think the fans would like it a lot better. I don't like wine and cheese. I prefer DuQuoin and Springfield. I'd love to see Johnny Benson and Dale Earnhardt mix it up on the dirt. These guys could all handle dirt because they are great race car drivers. The fans would go nuts."
Ince On Whether Road Courses Should Remain On Winston Cup Schedule:
"With the way our schedule is today in Winston Cup racing, the road courses are just way too much work for the race team. We have to have two purpose-built cars ready to run at only two races a year. We probably have 10,000 man hours in each road course car. That's a gigantic expense. Everything we do at a road course is different. Everything we do to prepare is different.
"There are only a few drivers who stand a chance of winning on a road course in NASCAR right now anyway. A lot of teams go to a road course not to race, but just to stay in line, hold their position and collect the points. The teams show up, turn the driver loose for two hours and tell him to call us on the radio when he gets better. I think in oval racing the secret to success is about fifty percent car and fifty percent driver. On a road course it's about 99 percent driver and about one percent crew."
Ince On Rain At A Road Course:
"The best thing about road course racing is there is always a chance it can rain and we would get to bolt on rain tires. That would make it fun. Road course racing is hard so why not make it harder. I know if we do that I'll be sitting on the truck with my wine and cheese."
Johnny Benson On Road Courses:
"What if we had a dirt road course? I'm just joking. I'm glad that there are only two road races in the series. Having two does break up the year and give us something different to do. I watched those Formula One guys in England back in April so maybe I learned a few pointers from them subconsciously."
Benson On Skills It Takes To Be A Great Road Course Racer:
"If I knew the type of skills it takes to be a great road course racer then I would be a great road course racer. I think I'm pretty good but there are guys who grew up on road courses that it's almost second nature to them. I have a driving coach Bill Cooper who has raced a lot of sports cars and has been a longtime instructor. He will be in Watkins Glen this weekend and he will take me out on the track Friday before practice to give me a few little last minute pointers. He is a lot of help."
Benson On Rain:
"I think it would be fun for the fans if it rained. If it's raining, I think fans will have a great race to watch - in fact I think I will be sitting in the stands with them. Only a few guys have had a chance to race in the rain and I'm not one of them. So, I would just hope we wait for a clear day to race."
a.. Race: Sunday, August 13, 2000 in Watkins Glen, NY
b.. TV: ESPN 12:30pm/et
c.. Posted Awards/Purse: $2,242,334
d.. 1999 Race Winner: Jeff Gordon
e.. Race Record: Mark Martin, August 1995, 103.300
f.. Track/Race Length: 2.45 mile road course, 90 laps, 220.5 miles
g.. Pit Road Speed: 35mph