Benson returns to scene of first Winston Cup win

1995 Busch Grand National Champion Johnny Benson took the green flag two hundred and thirty two times in Winston Cup events until he was able to take his first Checkers. "I'd won in everything that I've raced, except for the Winston Cup Series....

1995 Busch Grand National Champion Johnny Benson took the green flag two hundred and thirty two times in Winston Cup events until he was able to take his first Checkers.

"I'd won in everything that I've raced, except for the Winston Cup Series. I just felt we could get it done. If you keep knocking on that door, you're going to win one. There were so many years we were so close. But I never thought we were never going to win one. I still feel like we have more wins in us," noted Benson.

Competing in Cup since 1996 the thirty nine year old Michigan native is one of the top Pontiac drivers.

2002 was to be a break-out year for the driver but recurring injuries after a BGN race at Richmond sidelined the driver for five races. Well healed Benson and his team were anxious for the 2003 season to get under way.

"We're looking forward to the 2003 season and just moving on. We've got a new Grand Prix and we're trying to get back into the swing that we ran in 2001 and how we ended up in 2002," referring to a late season charge where Benson finished out of the top twenty only once in the last five races of the season.

"The biggest thing that we're excited about is that right now - even with the new matching aero templates and the things that NASCAR has changed for us. Right now we are equal to where the older Pontiac was last year. I've got pretty much the same down force and the same drag. We're pretty much in the same area and we've got a brand new car."

Benson who qualified for Rockingham on the outside pole feels that the momentum from last year is carrying over.

"I was real happy with that. We did a little bit of race practice this morning and a little bit in qualifying trim right at the end, and I was actually a little faster in race trim. He said, 'I'll take a stab at it," said Benson.

After qualifying, it appeared Benson might find win number two around the corner.

But it was not meant to be; Benson finished thirteenth, the second car to finish one lap down.

"That was a pretty bad day for us. We struggled most of the day. But for whatever reason, the rear brakes never seated in. I don't understand why."

Benson currently sixteenth in the championship chase is one hundred fifteen points behind leader Kurt Busch.

Benson and his MBV Motorsports team will try to re-group as they head to Las Vegas for the UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400.

-thomas chemris

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kurt Busch , Johnny Benson