Dover: Pontiac Racing - Nadeau, Ince interview

Nadeau and Ince hope to have plenty to talk about at Dover. DETROIT, Mich., May 29, 2002 - The first step in finding a winning setup for a race car is deciding what the "recipe" for that setup is. That takes communication between the driver and...

Nadeau and Ince hope to have plenty to talk about at Dover.

DETROIT, Mich., May 29, 2002 - The first step in finding a winning setup for a race car is deciding what the "recipe" for that setup is. That takes communication between the driver and the crew chief. But, is too much made of that communication? Not according to Jerry Nadeau and James Ince - the two men who will try to put their Pontiac in victory lane at Dover International Speedway this weekend after working together for just three weeks.

Nadeau, who has been filling in for an injured Johnny Benson, drove to a second-place finish at Dover last September. Ince engineered a runner-up effort for Benson at the one-mile Delaware oval one year earlier. While both of them know what it takes to challenge for a win at Dover, the challenge will be the setup discussions that take place Friday and Saturday, leading up to Sunday's 400-mile battle.

James Ince, Crew Chief, No. 10 Valvoline Pontiac Grand Prix:

YOU AND JOHNNY BENSON HAVE WORKED TOGETHER SINCE 2000...HOW TOUGH IS IT TO INTERRUPT THAT PROCESS AND WORK WITH ANOTHER DRIVER FOR A FEW WEEKS?

"It makes it a tough situation. Fortunately, Jerry [Nadeau] is a great race car driver and that is one thing we don't have to worry about. There's no doubt about the fact that he is going to go mash the gas. The biggest thing we're struggling with is terminology and trying to search out what we need to do to the car.

"I'm so used to having conversations with Johnny and being able to relate things back to Berlin (Berlin Raceway in Grand Rapids, Mich.) or Monett, Mo., or wherever, and we know what we're talking about. That's the one part of the equation that I don't have right now. But, we're getting better with that. Last week at Charlotte was a good example. In practice on Saturday it took me 15 minutes to get him to say one word I was searching for. Once I heard the word I was searching for, then I figured I knew how to go fix the race car.

"We just need to bridge that gap. Communication is important. Everybody talks about chemistry, but it's really not chemistry. It's communication and understanding what that communication is. You can tell somebody something until you're blue in the face, but if they're not relating to that it doesn't really help the situation.

"We're getting better at that. In some ways, it's fun right now to a degree because we've really accelerated that communication between Jerry and me.

"But, it's not an easy deal and going to Dover is a little scary for me because that is not an easy place. That is a track where you're either right or you're wrong and there is a real small window of opportunity to get your race car right. Hopefully, we'll be smart when we get there. We're trying to stick to our old notes. We're taking a really good race car that finished second there in the past (September, 2000).

"We've got good stuff. It's one of those deals where it could be a great weekend and go real smooth, or it could be really hard because of communication that we've got to keep working on."

KNOWING THAT YOU'VE GOT NOTES FROM YOUR SECOND-PLACE RUN AT DOVER TO RELY ON, DOES THAT MAKE IT A LITTLE EASIER THIS WEEKEND?

"That helps a whole lot. We know that we don't have to go out in left field. We don't need to go change what we do and that's important. It doesn't matter if it's the race car driver or the jackman on pit road. If you've got to change a position, that is the only position you want to change. If you can change that and make it work, then you're in good shape. If you've got to change that position and end up altering six other things because of that, then you're not going to be as good as you would have been.

"In the NFL, if they change quarterbacks, they don't change the playbook. That's the thing we're trying to accomplish. That's the comfort of taking a car that is proven there and taking a setup that is proven there. That is going to help us a lot and hopefully keep us from scratching our head. At the end of the day if we don't run good, it's going to be because Jerry and I weren't able to speak the same alphabet."

Jerry Nadeau, No. 10 Valvoline Pontiac Grand Prix:

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON DOVER?

"I love Dover. We finished second up there last year and have had a lot of good races there. We were leading the race one time, had a chance to win it and blew a tire. But, it's been a good racetrack. I enjoy it. It's tough. It's a driver's racetrack. You've got to have a good car and I'm anxious to go there."

WITH REGARD TO THE RACE YOU WERE LEADING BEFORE YOU CUT A TIRE, DO YOU FEEL LIKE DOVER OWES YOU ONE?

"No, I don't believe in that stuff. I feel like if you work hard enough and everything goes your way, you'll get a win. This is a really good race team. [Crew chief] James Ince and I working really good together and Johnny [Benson] is helping out a lot. We're just trying to get better."

KNOWING YOU'RE ONLY IN THE CAR FOR A FEW WEEKS, WHAT KIND OF EXPECTATIONS CAN YOU HAVE?

"This is a good team. They haven't had the kind of luck they've needed this year. But, I think this is a team definitely capable of running in the top 10 and the top five, and that is where we should finish. We should be up front."

WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO GET OUT OF THIS OPPORTUNITY?

"I'm just helping out Johnny and the team. My job is just to come in here and wheel this thing as hard as I can and try to get these guys a win. That's all I think about. This is Johnny's ride and I'm not here to impress anybody else. I just want to do a good job for them."

-pontiac-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jerry Nadeau , Johnny Benson