Robert Yates Says Kenny Irwin Can win at Richmond

THE BOSS SAYS, "KENNY CAN GET THAT FIRST WIN THIS WEEK" RICHMOND, Va. - Robert Yates, owner of the No. 28 Texaco/Havoline car, says his driver, Kenny Irwin, can win his first NASCAR Winston Cup Series race in the Pontiac...

THE BOSS SAYS, "KENNY CAN GET THAT FIRST WIN THIS WEEK" RICHMOND, Va. - Robert Yates, owner of the No. 28 Texaco/Havoline car, says his driver, Kenny Irwin, can win his first NASCAR Winston Cup Series race in the Pontiac Excitement 400 this Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway. "The 28 car has a great history at Richmond," said Yates. "In the first race with this configuration (September 1988) we sat on the pole and won the race with Davey (Allison.) Ernie (Irvan) won a race with us here too. I think Kenny can produce his first win here." Richmond would not only be listed as a favorite track for Robert Yates Racing, but also for Irwin. In his Winston Cup Series debut in 1997, Irwin qualified second and finished 10th, the only active driver in the series to start on the front row and finish in the top 10 in the modern era of Winston Cup racing. In 1998, the year he claimed the Winston Cup Rookie of the Year title, Irwin scored two more top-10 finishes at the three-quarter-mile oval, for an average career finish here of eighth. In 1996 and 1997, while racing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at Richmond, Irwin claimed the pole position in ‘96 and a top-five start in ‘97, with top-five finishes in both of those races. Irwin says the whole Texaco/Havoline team is looking forward to Richmond this weekend. "We've had great success at Richmond," said Irwin. "Both with the Cup cars and the trucks. We've built a brand new ‘bullet.' I'm sure we'll qualify well and race well." The "bullet" Irwin refers to is an updated version of the car he drove to the second-place start in the fall of ‘97. This will be the first competition for the new chassis from the Yates stable. Yates recalls his first impressions with Irwin at Richmond in ‘97. "When we debuted Kenny we were pretty nervous," Yates said. We were both nervous and excited at the same time. When we performed well I thought, ‘This boy is the real deal.' Each race we get better." Yates says he sees Irwin maturing as a driver as the two-year relationship grows. "He's learned how to find the grip and the track," said Yates. "They are getting it right to start and then chasing the track as it changes. Kenny is not just racing the other cars but thinking about what they need to do to the car on the next pit stop to make it better." As for what it takes to win at Richmond, Yates should have a better idea than anybody, having the most victories among car owners here since the track was reconfigured in 1988. With five wins in the 21 events since, Yates says horsepower and handling are the key ingredients. "This track is big enough to race on, but not too big," Yates said. "It takes a lot of horsepower and good handling. You can lead the first 300 laps there but if the chassis isn't right for the last 100, you can go to the back in a hurry. The calls from the driver's seat and the pits will win you a race at Richmond." With Irwin's finesse at adapting to changing conditions, his past success at Richmond and the widely known Robert Yates Racing horsepower under the hood of the Texaco/Havoline Ford, it would seem the boss may be right. Irwin can get that first win...and maybe this weekend.

TEXACO FOUNDATION MAKES DONATION TO TORNADO RELIEF EFFORT TULSA, Okla. - In an effort to help the victims of the recent devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma, the Texaco Foundation and Equilon Enterprises LLC have made a $25,000 donation to the Red Cross of Oklahoma. In addition to the cash donation, directed to helping fund the relief effort, Texaco and Equilon are working to provide emergency relief assistance to Texaco service station employees in Oklahoma who were affected by the storms.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Robert Yates
Teams Yates Racing