#10 Valvoline Pontiac driver Johnny Benson is like every other NASCAR Winston Cup driver when it comes to discussing a restrictor plate. He says the dreaded plate that reduces horsepower and bunches the field while limiting passing takes the fun out of the race for both drivers and fans. In September, NASCAR mandated a 1-inch plate on the 1.058-mile New Hampshire International Speedway in response to two driver deaths at the track over a 4-month period. However the plate limited the race to single-file running. Jeff Burton led all 300 laps. It marked the first time since 1978 that a driver led every lap of a race. NASCAR will not mandate a plate this weekend when the Winston Cup Series makes its first visit to NHIS in 2001. Teams say they will deal with the horsepower and have a safe weekend.
Johnny Benson On Restrictor Plates:
"I'm glad there is no plate this weekend. I think all of you know how drivers feel about restrictor plates. We don't need restrictor plate racing on short tracks. It's good to go back there in a normal atmosphere and let us deal with all the horsepower. We will be fine."
Benson Comparing September's Race Versus This Weekend's Race:
"I don't think you will see anyone leading all 300 laps. Passing there is still tough, but you won't see what you saw in September. At least I hope you don't -- unless it's us of course."
Benson On The New Hampshire Track:
""New Hampshire is so narrow that there isn't a lot of room to pass and that makes for some interesting racing. Tempers can be short there because you have a lot of cars fighting for very little room on a narrow slick track. Sometimes you can get into someone and turn them and not even mean to. The post race discussions are always fun at New Hampshire. Obviously, New Hampshire is a flat track and the turns are pretty similar on both ends. For a fast lap you better drive the car right up to the wall off turn two and off turn four. The whole key there is getting enough grip where you can stay low going through the middle of the corners. That's especially true in qualifying. The guy who wins the pole will be the guy who can stay low in the middle at both ends of the track. You tend to slide up the track at both ends."
Crew Chief James Ince On Return To New Hampshire:
"This is a good situation. We are back to being normal. The plate hurt the race last year. With the plate, you could take a nap during the race. It's good we can go back racing there. NHIS is a good race track. I don't think there was ever a problem there with the track. We run well there, Johnny likes racing there and the lobster is great there."