[media-credit name=”http://www.richmondinternationalraceway.com” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]RICHMOND, Va. (April 24, 2012) – Friday’s practice session at Richmond International Raceway (RIR) will probably leave the No. 24 DuPont team guessing, but two-time track winner Jeff Gordon believes that is to be expected.
Practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 400 is scheduled during the day on Friday while the green flag at Richmond waves shortly after 7:30 p.m. (EDT) Saturday. Gordon enjoys racing under the lights at RIR, but that day-to-night scenario presents a challenge.
“I love night races – I always have,” said Gordon. “But they are a little tricky because we don’t normally practice at night. To really ‘dial in’ the car to the track conditions that we will experience during the race, there is a little bit more guessing that goes on.”
Along with his two victories (1996 and 2000), the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has five poles, 15 top-fives and 24 top-10’s in 38 starts at the Virginia track. The three-quarter mile layout typically offers side-by-side and sometimes three-wide racing, but having multiple grooves does not necessarily make the short track an easy one to navigate.
“(Richmond) is challenging to drive,” said Gordon, who dropped one spot to 18th in the point standings after experiencing engine issues at Kansas last weekend. “You can only do so much with the race car. It’s a short track where aerodynamics are important, but not as important as big mile-and-a-half tracks.
“Richmond also has these great transitions into and off the corner where you can run two and three wide. It’s a different length race track (compared to half-mile short tracks), so it’s a little bit higher speeds.
“It puts on a great show.”
And under the lights? Even better according to Gordon.
“I think the race is more exciting on Saturday nights,” said Gordon. “And it doesn’t have to be on a Saturday night – just under the lights at night time.
“I think Saturday night races make a lot of sense. The schedule is great, and I think it allows the fans to get home and have a day to themselves before going back to work. It also opens us up if there is weather (issues) to run it on Sunday if we need to.”
A Sunday off to recover from a Saturday night Victory Lane celebration? Guessing that is appreciated, as well.