NASCAR Drivers Predict Richmond Pole Record Will Fall Richmond, Va.-May 05, 2004-NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers are threatening to break the poll record of 21.194 seconds (approximately 127 mph) at Richmond International Raceway. After two full days...
NASCAR Drivers Predict Richmond Pole Record Will Fall
Richmond, Va.-May 05, 2004-NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers are threatening to break the poll record of 21.194 seconds (approximately 127 mph) at Richmond International Raceway. After two full days of testing the new asphalt among more than 20 drivers, all agreed that the record would fall during Wawa pole qualifying for the Chevy American Revolution 400 Friday, May 14.
"It's going to be history, I can tell you that right now," said Emporia, Virginia native Elliott Sadler. "I'm running faster than that in race trim."
"The poll record will fall for sure-for sure," echoed Jeff Gordon. "I ran that time on 30-lap tires."
"The thing I have noticed about the racetrack is it's super smooth, but the characteristic of the track is exactly the same," added six-time Richmond winner Rusty Wallace. "I was supposed to test Martinsville, but I said 'you know what that track really hasn't changed, and boy it's really hard to test there because it's so rough.' I'd rather pass that one up and go to Richmond where it's a completely new pavement."
"No doubt there will be a track record set when we come back to qualify Busch and Cup," added Kurt Busch. "It's very fast. It's like a small Texas."
NASCAR Busch Series title contender Bobby Hamilton, Jr. was among those testing who said the pavement is new, but the same great racing will remain the same.
"It's going to be great bumping and action and all that stuff people come here to see, and I think the track is going to hold it because we're putting a lot of wear and tear on the bottom. You can see the groove really coming in," said Hamilton, Jr.
NASCAR veteran Mark Martin is excited about the changes made to the short track.
"We're running a lot faster because of the new asphalt," added Martin. "It's exactly what you'd expect to see. The cars are a lot faster than they were in 1989. (The track was last repaved in late 1988.) Now we have fresh pavement and we're going to be able to go a lot faster than we did back then."
Sadler gave the track rave reviews as well.
"They did a great job. The track is very, very smooth. It has a lot of grip in it. It's going to be fast, which will make it fun. I hope that the Busch cars will slicken it up a little bit on Friday night so we'll be able to move around a lot on it Saturday night. I can't believe how smooth it is, so whoever did it did a great job so I have to commend everybody here at Richmond for that."
Gordon added, "The grip is there. The surface is fantastic. This track just offers that and I hope we see that our first time here with the new pavement."
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers Tony Stewart, Ricky Craven, Kurt Busch, Johnny Benson, Elliott Sadler, Ward Burton, Jimmy Spencer, Rusty Wallace, Brendan Gaughan and Jamie McMurray tested today. Busch Series drivers Kasey Kahne, Justin Labonte, Mike Bliss, J.J. Yeley, Jay Sauter, Eric McClure, Greg Biffle, Mark Martin and Dave Blaney also tested at Richmond today.
Testing continues Thursday, May 6 when Ricky Rudd, Johnny Sauter and Ward Burton are scheduled to test the new blacktop. Grandstand gates open at 9:00 a.m. for this free event, which is open to the public.
The NEXTEL Cup drivers will have their first official run Friday, May 14 during Wawa Pole Qualifying for Saturday's sold-out Chevy American Revolution 400. Tickets are still available for Friday's NASCAR Busch Series FUNAI 250. Reserved seats are just $40, while general admission seats are $35. Thursday's NBC12 Pole Qualifying Day for the FUNAI 250 are just $5 for general admission seats. Children 12 and under are admitted free to general admission sections with a paying adult on both days. For ticket information, please call 1-866-455-RACE, or visit www.rir.com.