JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 VALVOLINE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: NOTE: Benson comes into the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Sears Point Raceway 7th in Winston Cup points, trailing sixth-place Rusty Wallace by 37 points. He qualified a Sears Point career-best ...
JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 VALVOLINE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
NOTE: Benson comes into the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Sears Point Raceway 7th in Winston Cup points, trailing sixth-place Rusty Wallace by 37 points. He qualified a Sears Point career-best 14th for the 112 lap around the redesigned 1.949-mile race.
YOU HAD YOUR BEST QUALIFYING EFFORT FOR THIS RACE - YOU'VE GOT TO BE OPTIMISTIC GOING INTO TOMORROW'S RACE.
"We're real pleased with the qualifying effort. The guys built a great race car. It's kind of nice to get to a track and you're kind of running okay and things are smooth, and you're not really fighting the car so bad that you can't really figure out what's going on with it. This car seems to be consistent, the changes that we've made are something I can feel, and it's been good."
THIS IS A NEW CAR YOU TESTED AT VIRGINIA RACEWAY. WHAT DID YOU LEARN?
"I think it was good just to get seat time on a road course, but it also gave us an opportunity to make sure that the brakes are going to be good, we don't have an unbalance problem, just answers to a lot of unknown questions. The problem is that you show up at a track like Sears Point and even though they give you enough practice, you can't come here and have a small problem. If you have a small problem it's very hard to overcome it and get track time. So it was nice to unload knowing that the car's good, it run's good, and allow the driver to get used to the racetrack and get decent."
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE CHANGES MADE HERE TO THE TRACK?)
"I think they were positive. Obviously some guys don't like change and like the old track better, but over the years they've made some changes and it wasn't that good, they made another change and it wasn't that good, but this change here was a good change. I like it better. The corners are better and gives us another opportunity to pass some people."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS HEADING INTO THE SEASON'S FIRST ROAD-COURSE RACE?
"I don't particularly care for road racing that much, but knowing that we have to run two a season you've got to look at it in a positive way and try and have some fun, and that's what we're trying to do. I mean we're trying to run good, that's a no-brainer, but a realistic goal for us is to try and run in the top 10. On a regular race weekend our goal is to be a top five car and try and win a race, but here it's just try and run in the top 10 and be smooth all day.
WE'RE APPROACHING THE HALWAY POINT TO THE SEASON. ASSESS THE TEAM'S PERFORMANCE IN THE FIRST HALF.
"The first half of the season has been going good. We've been consistent, we've had some opportunities to win some races, and that's really all you can ask for. Last year I think the team had an exceptional season considering we missed Atlanta and still finished 13th in points with no money, we changed owners, just the whole nine yards. We went through a lot last year, but with this year with Valvoline not only as a sponsor but also an owner, it's made us work harder, if you could. It's made us work harder in areas that we really couldn't in the past and it's really helped us out this year."