Crew Chief Valvoline Racing's Ince driving to Phoenix

Ince: Driven to Win & Nearly All The NASCAR Races Crew Chief's Dislike of Flying Allows Him Time to Relax During Drive To Races ...

Ince: Driven to Win & Nearly All The NASCAR Races
Crew Chief's Dislike of Flying Allows Him Time to Relax During Drive To Races

#10 Valvoline Pontiac driver Johnny Benson won't be behind the wheel of a car nearly as much as his Crew Chief James Ince will this week. Ince and his wife Denise left Tuesday on their 2,100-mile drive from Charlotte to Phoenix for this weekend's Winston Cup race. Ince is not the biggest fan of aviation in the garage area and has driven to nearly every race on the NASCAR Winston Cup Circuit including the race in Sears Point, Calif.

Ince says he uses the quiet time during the drive to relax and focus on his race team's goal of developing into a consistent winner on the NASCAR circuit. Ince concedes he can't wait for that initial victory, but he points out that while other teams have won for the first time this season, they haven't demonstrated the consistency of the #10 team.

Ince On Phoenix International Raceway:
"I asked our truck driver how long it will take to drive to Phoenix and he said 32 hours. My goal is to make it in about 29 hours. Of course I obey all the traffic laws. At least most of the time. OK, some of the time.

"I drive everywhere. Driving for me is both good and bad. The good is that it is like a cleansing thing for me. It gets me away from everybody. It clears your mind out just to hang out and relax a little bit. Plus, it alleviates all the anxiety I have when I get on an airplane. My feelings about airplanes have nothing to do with what happened on Sept. 11. I have had pilots try to kill me for the past ten years. I haven't been real excited to fly for a while just because of situations I have been through. It's not a fear of flying; it's not a fear of airplanes. It's that I have been put in situations that I'm not comfortable with. Driving is a good way for me not to get all wound up and juked up because I'm getting on an airplane. It puts me in a better frame of mind on Friday mornings."

Ince On Phoenix International Raceway:
"We are really really confidant. It's like a lot of these places that we go. We haven't won any of these but we should have won about 40 of them it seems like. It is a place we look forward to. Phoenix is probably the least tested race track in NASCAR. That's probably because of the distance out there. But distance isn't the only reason we don't test there. If you were to go out there and test by the time you come back the temperature difference is so great it is almost like a new racetrack. This week it is 100 degrees out there. Next week it won't be. Phoenix is a nice place to go, but it is like Loudon and Richmond. If you run good at those places then you are probably going to run good at Phoenix as well."

Ince On Getting A First Victory For Himself and Benson:
"I think I have it figured out. If you want to go and get a Winston Cup driver his first win, you aren't supposed to run good every week. You are supposed to struggle every week and then all of a sudden win one out of the blue. I'm not disrespecting those guys because what they have done is great and a heck of an accomplishment. But I'm not going to take a backseat to them. We might not have won a race yet, but every week you see us at the front of the field. That's what is most important to us. We want to build a championship team and to do that we know you have to be consistently good every weekend. We know the win will come, and when it does it isn't going to surprise anybody."

THE RACE: Checker Auto Parts 500
Winston Cup Race #32 of 36 for the 2001 season
Race: Sunday, October 28, 2001 in Phoenix, AZ
TV: NBC - 2:30pm/et, re-aired on TNT Tuesday, Oct 30, 1:00am/et
Pre-Race Show: 2:00pm/et - Hosted by Bill Weber
NASCAR on TV and TNT TV Schedule and CNN/SI Schedule
Purse/Race Awards: $3,248,538 (last year $3,084,404)

2000 Race Winner: Jeff Burton, 105.041mph, started 2nd
Track Race Record: Tony Stewart, Nov 1999, 118.132mph
Track/Race Length: 1.0 mile oval, 312 laps, 312miles (500k)
Pit Road Speed: 45mph

Practice: Friday, Oct 26th 12:25 -2:20pm/et; Saturday, Oct 27th 12:30 - 1:15pm/et
Happy Hour Practice: Saturday, Oct 27th after the BGN race - 5:30pm/et on TV-TNT

Qualifying Draw: Friday, Oct 26th, 11:25am/et
First Round Qualifying: 2 laps for positions 1-36, Friday, Oct 26th at 4:40pm/et, TV-CNN/SI live and live via MRN Radio(link below) will have live lap-by-lap coverage of Winston Cup qualifying via the web

Track/Event Qualifying Record: Rusty Wallace, Nov 3 2000, 134.178mph
Last Year's Pole Sitter: Rusty Wallace, 134.178mph, finished 4th

Track Specs:
Degree of Banking: Turns 1-2: 11 degrees; Turns 3-4: 9 degrees
Frontstretch: Length: 1,179 feet, Banking: None
Backstretch: Length: 1,551 feet, Banking: None
Pit Road: Length: 1,140


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Johnny Benson