Benson/Ince Pontiac rule reaction statement

NASCAR on Wednesday announced a ½-inch increase to the front air dam and ¼ inch rear spoiler increase for the Pontiac Grand Prix beginning with this weekend's race at Michigan. The leading edge of the air dam for the Pontiacs now must not...

NASCAR on Wednesday announced a ½-inch increase to the front air dam and ¼ inch rear spoiler increase for the Pontiac Grand Prix beginning with this weekend's race at Michigan.

The leading edge of the air dam for the Pontiacs now must not extend more than one (1) inch forward of the bumper. Measurements for the rear spoiler will now read at 7 1/8 inches high by 57 inches wide (prior to this, the rear spoiler measured at 6 7/8 inches high by 57 inches wide). This dimension will not be used at Daytona or Talladega. Officials also reduced the spoiler size on the Ford Taurus from 6 inches to 5-7/8 inches for next month's Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. During the Daytona 500 in February, the Ford's rear spoiler was 5 ¾ inches tall and in April at Talladega, Ford's measurements were 6 inches tall. The Chevrolet and Dodge teams rear spoiler will remain at 6 ¼ inches tall, while the Pontiac teams will measure at 6 ½ inches tall by 57 inches wide.

After 14 races, Pontiac's five top teams have amassed 998 (about 13 percent) less owner points in 2002 vs. the 2001 season. Tony Stewart's #20 team has held its own while every other Pontiac team has scored less points.

#10 Valvoline Pontiac Driver Johnny Benson:

"Its a step in the right direction by NASCAR that I hope makes the Pontiacs a little more competitive. They are really hard to drive right now. If you can get a Pontiac running by itself on the track then it is semi-Ok but once you get it into traffic it is just terrible. The Pontiac won't turn and it slides all over the race track and that's because there isn't enough downforce. All the Pontiac drivers say the same thing. Now, all the makes claim they don't have enough downforce but they have an inch-and-a-half more front nose kick out than the Pontiac does so you can see the Pontiac is hurting in that area.

"I ran this style Pontiac in 1996 so its a good car but an old car. Sure we are looking forward to the new model in 2003 but until then we just have to get through the rest of this season with the car that we have. Getting some help is a positive for the Pontiacs. It's been close to a year since we have had a rule change where the other makes seem to get changes right away. So, this is pleasing that we get a rule change that gets us closer to where the other cars are. We don't want an advantage we just want to be able to compete with the other makes."

Crew Chief James Ince:

"This is definitely a step in the right direction. It's not as much as we needed to get but anything is more than we had. We have such a bad race car compared to where the other makes are that we aren't going to complain too loudly. I don't feel it is enough, but everybody else in the world is going to complain that it is too much. We aren't going to look a gift horse in the mouth but is still not as much as we need. The biggest problem we have had from last year to this year is that while everyone else has gotten rule changes we haven't changed our cars. When the Dodges got the front kick out on their noses at Indy last year and when everybody else got their change at the end of the year for whatever reason in traffic now our cars are dramatically different. We just cannot make our cars work like we could make them work in the past.

"Everything we were able to do last year we can't use any more. Hopefully this will move us in the right direction and in the dirty air our cars will be better. An airplane flies a lot better on a sunshiny day than in a thunderstorm and what we have been racing in all year is a thunderstorm."

-mbvm-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart , Johnny Benson