#10 Aaron's Pontiac driver Johnny Benson likes Richmond. But as he points out just because he likes the D-shaped short track doesn't necessarily mean he's going to race well there. It's not uncommon for drivers to do well at tracks they don't like and struggle at tracks they like. In Benson's case, he likes Richmond because it fits his style, and he's had success. During the 1996 and 1997 seasons at Richmond he registered three top-15 finishes. He struggled there in 1998 and 1999 but had a good run in May before another car's wreck ruined his night. Still, Richmond is a race track where Johnny Benson is going to perform well. Saturday night he races a James Ince prepared Pontiac with an MB2 Motorsports pit crew.
"I feel as comfortable getting around Richmond as any track on the circuit. We may not have had the results there recently, but I think we have always been fast there. For myself, I like the flatter race tracks. The tracks that fit my style are the ones where you can let the car slip and slide around the corners and you just have try to keep the car underneath you. Richmond is just that type of track. I don't know why I favor those types of tracks as opposed to others. Just because I favor a track doesn't mean I will do well and just because I don't like a track means I will do poorly. It's kind of weird. Richmond is a track I like where I think we have run well. I'm not a real big fan of the superspeedways but we have done well there this year. I'd hate every one of these tracks if it meant doing well."
Secret To Richmond Success:
"The secret to success at Richmond is just like the secret to success everywhere else. To go fast you have to have a combination of good handling and good horsepower. But, getting through the middle of the corners and getting through turn four faster than anyone else is what it takes to be up front at Richmond. Watch during the race. The guy who is hauling the mail off turn four is the guy who is probably going to win the race."
Why Is Richmond Appealing:
"I think the appeal of Richmond is that it is a short track and we don't have as many of those tracks in the series as we once did. It's also because we are racing at night. There is so much more enthusiasm at night compared to any day race. And most importantly I think it seems like whenever we race at Richmond it is a decent race. I think we should have both day and night races, but there sure seems to be a lot more enthusiasm for night races. For drivers it's what we all grew up doing. Also for a driver there is less glare and better temperatures at night and don't forget all of us get Sunday off if we run Saturday night races."
THE RACE: Chevy Monte Carlo 400 Winston Cup Race #25 of 34 for the 2000 season
<pre> Fast facts:
a.. Race: Saturday, September 9, 2000 in Richmond, VA b.. TV: ESPN 7:30pm/et c.. Posted Awards/Purse: $2,226,242, not counting the No Bull Five $1,000,000 d.. 1999 Race Winner: Tony Stewart e.. Race Record: Dale Jarrett, Sept 1997, 109.047 f.. Track/Race Length: 0.75 mile oval, 400 laps, 300 miles g.. Pit Road Speed: 35mph
Practice a.. Practice: Friday, Sept 8th 12:30 - 1:55pm/et and 3:00 - 4:30pm/et; Saturday, Sept 9th 11:30am - 12:30pm/et b.. Happy Hour Practice: Saturday, September 9th, after the 2nd round qualifying - until 2:20pm/et, TV-none known
Qualifying a.. Qualifying Draw: Friday, Sept 8th at 11:30am/et b.. First Round Qualifying: 2 laps for positions 1-25, Friday, Sept 8th at 5:30pm/et, TV-ESPN2; and live via MRN radio/internet c.. Second-Round Qualifying: 2 laps for positions 26th-36th, Saturday, Sept 9th at 1:15pm/et d.. Track Qualifying Record: Jeff Gordon, May 1999, 126.499mph e.. Event Qualifying Record: Mike Skinner, Sept 1999, 125.465mph f.. Last Year's Pole Sitter: Mike Skinner, 125.465mph
Track Specs: Short Track: 0.75-mile oval, 60-foot width with 10-foot apron Banking: turns: 14 degrees; frontstretch 8 degrees; backstretch 2 degrees Seating Capacity: almost 105,000