Kenny Irwin Dover Preview

DOVER, Del. -- Kenny Irwin, driver of the No. 28 Texaco/Havoline Ford Taurus, says he is returning to Dover Downs International Speedway for this Sunday's MBNA Platinum 400 with anticipation, in spite of suffering the hardest wreck of his...

DOVER, Del. -- Kenny Irwin, driver of the No. 28 Texaco/Havoline Ford Taurus, says he is returning to Dover Downs International Speedway for this Sunday's MBNA Platinum 400 with anticipation, in spite of suffering the hardest wreck of his 23-year racing career at the track they call the "Monster Mile" last fall. "We run good here," said Irwin. "We've qualified well and had good runs going but had circumstances beyond our control interfere with our finishes." Irwin, the 1998 NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year, had an average start of 10.5 here last year. He feels he can improve on that this weekend. "We feel like we're taking a better car," Irwin said. "We'll use the same car we took to Bristol in April, when we started 10th and finished 11th. We've made a couple of changes to that chassis since then, and we're eager to unload it this Friday." The car is one constructed in-house at Robert Yates Racing, specifically for competition on concrete tracks, like Dover and Bristol. Other than the concrete insets on the turns at Martinsville, all of the other Winston Cup courses are asphalt. Because of the tendency for cement to hold less heat than asphalt, the surface stays more consistent throughout the race, thus lessening one of the factors the Texaco/Havoline race team normally needs to deal with. Doug Richert, crew chief for Irwin, described the preparation differences for a concrete race course versus an asphalt course. "The track stays cooler, so we don't have to chase it as much, but we still chase it," Richert said. "However, Dover is a tight track, so we need to concentrate on setting the car up to run well through the corners. We were good here last year, so we'll just use our notes from then but apply current thoughts." As for the wreck in ‘98 and whether the Monster Mile intimidates him now, Irwin says it makes no difference at all. "There will always be wrecks in racing," said Irwin. "But we always get up, shake ourselves off, and look forward to the next race. If we didn't have that outlook as racers, we'd be in trouble. We know we've got the safest race cars in the world around us. So, to think about a past crash at a particular track and allow that to interfere with your performance just isn't an option." Having said all of this, Irwin stays hard and fast, concrete you might say, in his outlook as he enters each and every racing event. "We know we can get that win," Irwin said. "That's what we're here for. We feel like we're always learning, both myself personally and as a team. For this team to win the Coca-Cola Racing Family Pit Crew Championship last week in Charlotte just gives us that much more confidence. We definitely have what it takes." Qualifying for the MBNA Platinum 400 is Friday at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) with the race set for 12:30 p.m. Sunday.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Robert Yates , Doug Richert
Teams Yates Racing