[The following are quotes from three Pontiac team members than made news this week within the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Johnny Benson, who has driven the No. 10 Grand Prix owned by Tyler Jet Motorsports in 2000, and Ken Schrader, who drives the...
[The following are quotes from three Pontiac team members than made news this week within the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Johnny Benson, who has driven the No. 10 Grand Prix owned by Tyler Jet Motorsports in 2000, and Ken Schrader, who drives the No. 36 M&M's Grand Prix for MB2 Motorsports, became teammates this week after MB2 purchased the Tyler Jet operation. Doug Randolph, formerly the car chief on the No. 22 Caterpillar Grand Prix, became the new crew chief for the No. 93 Amoco Grand Prix driven by Dave Blaney, replacing Gil Martin in that capacity.]
JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 MB2 MOTORSPORTS PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
(ON JOINING MB2) "I think it's going to be really good. If I was going to walk through the garage area and find a teammate - just a driver to driver-type situation - Kenny Schrader would be a guy I'd pick. It's worked out pretty good that that's how it ended up."
(WHAT DOES HE LIKE ABOUT SCHRADER?) "He's been in a multi-car team situation before and he's been with a single car team. He's been through it all. We know that a multi-car team is a pretty good deal. But why is that? It's communication; being able to talk to each other as teammates and be able to tell the truth about what you've got on your car and what you're expecting to try and just being up front. We've talked about that a bunch, and we'd both rather get beat by each other if we run 'one-two' instead of not sharing information and finishing 10th and 11th. That doesn't make any sense. If the only guy that you have to beat is your teammate, then I think it's a good situation."
(HOW COMPETITIVE CAN A SINGLE-CAR TEAM BE IN WINSTON CUP?) "I think there are limits. Running against multi-car teams is hard to do. It's extremely hard to do without an unlimited budget. But I think we've done a great job. This is a great team. I think everybody on this team has had offers to go do something else, but we didn't want to do that. We wanted to stay together, and eventually we wanted to become a multi-car team. Even if things would have stayed the way they were a week ago (with Tyler Jet as the team owner) eventually that was a goal, to try to make that happen. Now that is has happened, I think it's great."
(WHAT IS THE STATUS OF THE NO. 10 TEAM FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON?) "Now that MB2 has taken over, it's a huge boost for us for 2001. But the goal right now for 2000 is to be able to continue to race. We've been competitive this year and we want to continue to do that, but this team still needs a sponsor to get to the racetrack. We're looking for a primary sponsor the rest of this year and hopefully now as part of a two-car team, we'll look even more attractive. Right now, we know we can get through Pocono and we know we can get through the Brickyard (400), but after that, who knows? Maybe if we go down there and win the Brickyard, we can squeeze out one more race.
"Sponsorship is a need right now for this to come to the racetrack. It's not going to dissolve the team for the future if we don't find one. We would just go ahead and prepare for 2001. A week ago, not finding a sponsor may have been the end of this team.
"Knowing that we've been competitive, knowing that we've had a good year and had some good runs despite everything we've been through makes me confident that this is a great opportunity for any sponsor that wants to get involved."
(HOW MUCH OF A CHALLENGE HAS THIS SEASON BEEN FOR HIM?) "I think we've accomplished a lot this year on very little, and that is just credit to this team. We stuck together through some very bad times and that is the key to it all. Everybody knows that the future for us is much brighter. We've just got to get through this little valley right now. It's been a wild ride, but it's OK because of the guys on this team. I wouldn't trade it for the world right now."
KEN SCHRADER, NO. 36 M&M'S PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
(ON PICKING UP A TEAMMATE IN JOHNNY BENSON) "I'm excited about it. It's something that has come about pretty quick, but they've worked awfully hard at it in the last month or so. When you look around out there at teams, that one (No. 10 Pontiac) has run really good. They've had enough adversity to deal with this year and still performed good. Johnny (Benson) and (crew chief) James (Ince) have a real good relationship. They enjoy working with each other, so I think it will be nothing but a plus."
(ON THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING A TEAMMATE) "Just having another team that runs good that you can go over and draw off of, and they can draw off of you, with that many more heads together and the budget - you can't overlook how important that is - it just all helps. I think as a single-car team it is a ton harder to accomplish what a good-working two-car team can - with the key being 'good-working,' because just having two cars doesn't mean much."
(DO DIFFERENT DRIVING STYLES PLAY MUCH OF A ROLE WITHIN A TWO-CAR TEAM?) "I don't think it's a big deal. From the other deals I've been in, anytime somebody was really happy with their car, you can get in the thing and drive it. I think the cars dictate how the drivers drive a lot more. You might have to drive it different than you're used to, but you can figure that part out real quick and let the car do the work."
DOUG RANDOLPH, CREW CHIEF, NO. 93 AMOCO PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
(ON BECOMING CREW CHIEF FOR THE TEAM) "I'm real excited about it. It's a great opportunity that Bill and Gayle (Davis) and Amoco have given me here. I worked real well with Tommy (Baldwin) there (on the No. 22 Pontiac) and we put some systems in place that have worked good for us. Our whole plan is to work together with both cars as a solid team, to share information amongst each other and put those systems in place on the '93' car. We are just looking to see some progression. We're just trying to move forward."
(WILL IT HELP TO HAVE WORKED SO CLOSELY WITH TOMMY BALDWIN IN THHE PAST?) "I think it will. I think it makes it a whole lot easier for us to share because we worked together for so long that he knows what I'm thinking half of the time without asking, and I know the same, what his train of thought is. I think that will make it a whole lot easier for us to share information."
(HOW TOUGH IS IT TO MAKE THIS KIND OF CHANGE MID-SEASON?) "It could be pretty tough, but the best thing about it is that obviously the support group is here. Bill Davis, all the people he's got working for him, and everybody at the shop is behind me and there to support me. It's obvious that we've got good motors and good cars and good equipment. Now it's just up to me and Dave (Blaney) and the guys on this team to put it all together and make it work."
(WAS THERE ANY CONCERN IN TAKING HIM AWAY FROM THE NO. 22 PONTIAC WHEN IT IS HAVING SUCH A GOOD SEASON?) "I'm sure there was some fear there. But with all the guys that work on that team, it pretty much runs itself. Those guys are capable and we felt that this would be better overall for the whole program. That was a decision that Bill and Mike Brown and all them had to make. It wasn't really my decision to make. But everybody that's concerned thinks it's going to be a lot better, especially in the long-term for the team, looking down the road."
(WHAT WILL BE THE KEY TO BECOMING SUCCESSFUL?) "I talked to Dave and we're looking at 20th place. We're trying to be realistic here and start somewhere. We're shooting to make the races, get out there and do our best to stay on the lead lap. That's what we're shooting at along with finishing around 20th. Then maybe we can look to grow and learn from there, and progress from there. Bill hasn't put any unrealistic goals on us. He just wants us to get started and show some progression. That's is certainly not asking too much."