Las Vegas: Johnny Benson preview

Benson: Fans, Red Flags, Vegas The NASCAR Winston Cup Series moves from the sand hills of eastern North Carolina where it raced at Rockingham last weekend to the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas Motor Speedway where it races Sunday in what might...

Benson: Fans, Red Flags, Vegas

The NASCAR Winston Cup Series moves from the sand hills of eastern North Carolina where it raced at Rockingham last weekend to the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas Motor Speedway where it races Sunday in what might be as dramatic a shift in racing environs of any major racing series in the world.

#10 Valvoline Pontiac driver Johnny Benson says NASCAR's appeal to fans of both of those communities is indicative of how popular the sport has become and how wide the fan base has grown.

This week that fan base is sure to be talking about NASCAR's decision not to throw the red flag at Rockingham as the field circled the track under yellow to end the race. In recent races, NASCAR has thrown red flags to guarantee a green-flag finish.

Benson Notes:
Benson has finished sixth or better in 3 of the 4 races held at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Benson and his Valvoline teammates tested at Las Vegas on Jan. 30 & 31.

The Valvoline Pontiac Benson will drive Sunday finished third at Indianapolis in August painted as the James Dean Car.

Benson On Red Flag:
"I think the race definitely needs to end under green. I don't care how they decide to end it that way. If they have to stop the race or we go green-white-checker it doesn't matter to me. It's their call. If they want to do the red flag thing then lets do it every week. I'm not sure why they did what they did Sunday. I'm sure they had their reasons. I think the bottom line is they just need to be consistent in whatever they do."

Benson On Las Vegas Success:
"Las Vegas is a place where if you have a good race car and good horsepower you can do really well. It's a flat race track, it's a finesse racetrack and those are the type of tracks that I like. It's also fast and a little bit slippery which makes it a bit more fun."

Benson On NASCAR's Appeal To A Wide Variety of Fans
"We know we have great fans at Rockingham and then you go to the other side of the country and see that we have great fans in Las Vegas as well. When we go to Vegas we get to race in front of a lot of people who just don't get to see a lot of our racing in person.

"Rockingham is pretty rural and Vegas is well Vegas. I like both actually. Rockingham has our diehard fans and Vegas has our new fans. I like having that mix. I just wish we had a Las Vegas a little closer to home on our side of the country."

THE RACE: UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400
Winston Cup Race #3 of 36 for the 2002 Winston Cup season
* TIME: Las Vegas is 3 hours behind the Eastern Time Zone, all times here Eastern(et)
* Race: Sunday, March 3, 2002 in Las Vegas, NV
* TV: Fox - 3:30pm/et
Pre-Race Show: 3:00pm/et, with hosts Chris Myers and Jeff Hammond
* Posted Awards/Purse: $? (was $4,281,953 in 2001)
* 2001 Race Winner: Jeff Gordon, 135.546mph
* Race Record: Mark Martin, Mar 1998, 146.554mph
* Track/Race Length: 1.5 mile oval, 267 laps, 400.5 miles
* Pit Road Speed: 45mph

Practice
* Practice: Friday, Mar 1st, 1:20 -3:20pm/et; and Saturday, Mar 2nd, 12:30 - 1:15pm/et
* Happy Hour Practice: Saturday, Mar 2nd, 2:15 - 3:00pm/et on TV-FX tape delay 6:30pm/et

Qualifying
* Qualifying Draw: Friday, March 1st, 12:20pm/et
* First Round Qualifying: 2 laps for positions 1-36, Friday, March 1st at 5:00pm/et, TV-Fox Sports Net(FSN) live and live via PRN Radio(link below)
* Track Qualifying Record: Ricky Rudd, March 2000, 172.563mph
* March 2001 Pole Sitter: Dale Jarrett, 172.106mph, finished 2nd

Track Specs: Las Vegas Motor Speedway:
Front straight: 2,275 feet
Back straight: 1,572 feet
Banking: Corners:12 degrees, Front Straight: 8 degrees, Back Straight

Car Information:
This week's car O34 raced at Pocono and Homestead as well as Indianapolis where it finished third in August. #10 Team tested at Las Vegas on Jan. 30 & 31.

Performance Information:
Benson Finishes at Las Vegas
2001 4th
2000 6th
1999 38th
1998 4th

Big Brothers Big Sisters Of America:
Benson is racing this week for the Martinsville-Henry County Va. Chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters Of America. Each week Valvoline donates money to the national Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America organization as well as an individual local chapter based on Benson's on-track performance. Valvoline matches Benson's performance by donating $5,000 for a win, $2,500 for a pole, $1,000 for a top ten 10 finish, $500 for a top 20 finish and $20 for each lap led. The 3-year program has raised over $750,000.

-mbvm-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Johnny Benson , Mark Martin