Daytona 500: Johnny Benson day one practice recap

Johnny Benson Drives The Fastest Pontiac In Daytona ...

Johnny Benson Drives The Fastest Pontiac In Daytona

#10 Valvoline Pontiac driver Johnny Benson surprised himself Friday by turning the ninth quickest lap in practice for Saturday's single-lap qualifying session at Daytona International Speedway.

While they remain reluctant to predict even greater success, Benson and his Crew Chief James Ince expect a top 20 qualifying effort then a strong showing in the twin 125s on Thursday.

Benson posted the 14th quickest time in the first of the two practice sessions on Friday. His lap time of 49.234 seconds (182.800 MPH) was .594 seconds behind Jimmie Johnson. In the second session Benson turned the 9th fastest lap of 49.091 seconds (183.328 MPH) but was still .407 seconds behind Johnson.

Benson's time was nearly three-tenths of a second quicker than his fastest time in January testing. He will be the 15th driver to make a qualifying effort on Saturday.

Benson On Getting More Out Of The Valvoline Pontiac:
"Tomorrow just depends on what we can get away with going through the (technical inspection) room. It's about what they are going to take away and what they are going to give us. We will just have to see what we have."

Benson On Qualifying Practice:
"It was good to get back in the seat and get some laps on the speedway and see if we could match what we did in testing. We knew that we would come back down here with a different engine and go a little bit faster and that's what we did. I don't think we are as fast as we ended up on the board today. I still think we will be about 20th but there are so many things that can change that."

Benson On Getting Through Friday's Technical Inspection
"We got through pretty good. We were about the 10th car to get a sticker on the window. What we ran in testing is as good as you can get. We had very few things changed on the car, so we breezed right through."

Benson On Qualifying Practice:
"This single lap stuff is pretty boring for the drivers. Our fun starts Monday when we start drafting and then Thursday when we get to race. Our guys have done a good job with the car this week and my job has been to hold it on the line and go."

Will You Be Helped By The Similarities Between This Rule Package And 2000's When You Nearly Won?
"We sure hope so, but this is a different car than what I had two years ago, too. We don't know. We're going to watch the Bud Shootout and see what it's going to do, as far as the rules go and see what they're going to change or not change. Then, of course, Thursday is going to be a better indication of what is going to happen on Sunday. But, I feel good about how the Valvoline Pontiac is going to run. We're just going to wait and see what Thursday is going to bring us, but we feel good about the rules."

Crew Chief James Ince On Friday Practice and Saturday Qualifying:
"I don't know where we will end up. I think we will be fortunate to be in the top 20 at the end of the day tomorrow. I'm not sure everyone is still showing everything they got today. Tomorrow is the day that is important. That will tell you where everyone really is. Our Valvoline team knew we weren't going to sit on the pole down here but we know we are pretty good in race conditions. We think we can make up a lot of positions in the 125s on Thursday and get a good starting spot on Sunday."

-jb/db-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Johnny Benson , Jimmie Johnson