IRWIN PLANS TO CONTINUE HOT STREAK AT RICHMOND RICHMOND, Va. --- To say Kenny Irwin has experienced good luck in his career running at Richmond International Raceway would be an understatement. Irwin's record at Richmond is very, very...
IRWIN PLANS TO CONTINUE HOT STREAK AT RICHMOND
RICHMOND, Va. --- To say Kenny Irwin has experienced good luck in his career running at Richmond International Raceway would be an understatement. Irwin's record at Richmond is very, very impressive, to say the least. In 1996, he won the Busch Pole at the .750-mile oval in only his second NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series start and finished fifth in the race. Once again in '97 he started and finished in the top-five.
Most notable though for Irwin was his memorable Winston Cup debut at Richmond in the fall of '97 when he qualified second. He proved his front row start was not a fluke as he went on to lead 12 laps during the race and then finish eighth to nail his first top-10 finish. The 29-year-old Raybestos Rookie of the Year points leader has named Richmond his favorite track on the Winston Cup circuit.
"I ran my first Winston Cup race here and qualified outside front row and finished eighth in the race," Irwin said. "I don't know why I like it so much. The characteristics of the track aren't really any different then a lot of places we run. It's a semi-banked race track." Irwin added another top-10 finish to his Richmond driving record during the June race when he drove the Texaco/Havoline Ford owned by Robert Yates Racing to a ninth-place finish.
"The thing about Richmond is that after 15 or 20 laps you can see guys start backing up because they've worn out their right rear tires," said Irwin. "Usually you wear out all four tires, but this track lends itself to just burning up the right rear tires. So it's the guy who can take care of the right side tires that will end up running good."
One of things Irwin especially likes about the track is the different challenge he faces in each turn.
"When you drive down into turn one it's off camber, so the track kind of falls away from you," said Irwin. "A lot of guys get in trouble with that and you can see them wiggle or kind of hit the wall with the right rear. That's something you have to be concerned with."
"Turns three and four have more banking and hold the race car a lot better, which makes it easier to drive. That is why you see a lot more passing off of turn four than you do off of turn two. You will also see cars racing three and four wide coming down the front straightaway."
"But then driving into turn one it's almost like a funnel because you have to be single file before you get back in there. You can see the guys that don't, so they end up having problems off of turn two because the track falls away from you there." After a successful test at Richmond recently, Irwin and the entire Robert Yates Racing crew have set their goal. They plan to pass Irwin's best starting position at Richmond by putting the No. 28 Texaco/Havoline Ford on the pole for this weekend's event.