Benson Phoenix Saturday interview

JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 AARON'S PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: (HAS THE SECOND HALF OF THE SEASON BEEN MORE FUN FOR YOU?) "It's been that way all year. We started off the year pretty good. We ran into a couple of little things in the middle of the year,...

JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 AARON'S PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
(HAS THE SECOND HALF OF THE SEASON BEEN MORE FUN FOR YOU?) "It's been that way all year. We started off the year pretty good. We ran into a couple of little things in the middle of the year, but now we're back to where we thought we were at the beginning of the year. Our qualifying has been going better because we've been working really hard at that. That's an area where we had been hurting a little bit, at least in our eyes, so we've worked really hard to try to get it a little bit better. I think we've accomplished a lot of that, although we still want to sit on the pole before this year is over."

(ON THE TEAM'S IMPROVING CONSISTENCY) "That is something we've been trying to do all year and I think we have gotten more consistent as the year has gone on. But that's just us getting used to each other. It was a new deal for myself coming into this season and they had some new guys. It's just been a matter of getting everybody together and on the same page. I really think we're headed in the right direction and it is showing in our performance. "Being consistent is what it takes to win. The more you're consistent, the more you're going to run in the top 10 and top five and then you'll have those opportunities to win, hopefully."

(HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR YOUR TEAM TO WIN A POLE BEFORE THE YEAR IS OVER?) "I think a pole is important for the team. I think it's a good deal to sit on the pole. It puts you in the Bud Shootout. There are a lot of neat things that it does for you and it does give you some bragging rights to a certain extent. "There have been two or three times this year where I thought we had a legitimate shot at it and yesterday was one of those. We haven't been able to do that, yet. We've been second once and we've been in the top five a few times. I think anytime you're in the top 10 or 12 on the practice sheet you've got an opportunity to sit on the pole. But we didn't do it (yesterday). Actually we weren't even close this week even though we ended up fourth. We were pretty much at the top of the sheet all day long, but we really ended up a good ways away from the pole. But we're still really happy with where we qualified even though it's not the pole."

BILL DAVIS, CAR OWNER, NO. 22 CATERPILLAR PONTIAC GRAND PRIX AND NO. 93 AMOCO PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
(ON BOBBY LABONTE) "I think Bobby has done just exactly what I thought he'd do. From whenever Bobby and I got to be good friends, he was a points racer and he's proven that this year. He doesn't beat himself. He doesn't make mistakes and that team certainly has it all going. I'm really proud of them. I hope Bobby wins the championship. He certainly deserves it. He'd be a great champion. "When he and I first came Winston Cup racing together in '93 we kind of laid out a schedule and he is right on track."

BILL DAVIS, CAR OWNER, NO. 22 CATERPILLAR PONTIAC GRAND PRIX AND NO. 93 AMOCO PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: (ON PONTIAC RACING IN GENERAL) "Pontiac has done a wonderful job in the last few years of getting the right teams in place and their teams getting the right drivers in place. They did kind of go through a lull, but they've done a wonderful job in the last few years of getting it back together and getting things in place to win races and now win championships. I don't think they'll falter (in the future). I think they'll be real strong." (ON WARD BURTON'S SEASON THIS YEAR) "We got off to a great start. We had everything going our way. We certainly felt like we could continue that and we didn't. We haven't had a horrible season. We've had more top 10s and more top fives and should have won two or three races. But still, results are results. A lot of people have said, 'Well, you had a breakthrough year last year - you got to the top 10 in points, threatened to win a race or two.' But I don't think we've backed it up as well this year as we thought we should have. Our expectations were considerably higher than what we've done."

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Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup