JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 VALVOLINE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'RE IN FOR A LONG DAY TOMORROW, EVEN IF YOU HAVE A REALLY GOOD CAR? "I think that may be the case. There are some cars out there that, aerodynamically, are pretty good. I'm...
JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 VALVOLINE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'RE IN FOR A LONG DAY TOMORROW, EVEN IF YOU HAVE A REALLY GOOD CAR? "I think that may be the case. There are some cars out there that, aerodynamically, are pretty good. I'm not saying that we're terrible, but we're not where they are. It makes it difficult because you know you don't have the front downforce and then you've got to loosen the thing up so bad that once you get in open air or get somebody behind you, you can't drive the thing. It's a difficult deal, but hopefully in time, they'll straighten it out and we'll be on the same playing field as them. "It's just difficult. I'm not saying that we don't want to work hard, by any means. But, it seems like we've got to work twice as hard to even be able to compete with them. We've got a very good race team and that's the reason that we're able to pull off great finishes sometimes, even at places where we're at a disadvantage. But, I'd sure love to take that hard work and then apply it to the same aero situation they've got. Life would be a lot better for us in here then."
DOUG DUCHARDT, NASCAR GROUP MANAGER FOR GM RACING
ON THE APPARENT AERODYNAMIC DISPARITY THAT EXISTS BETWEEN DODGE AND PONTIAC TEAMS "From Indianapolis on (when Dodge was given a two-inch 'kick-out' on the nose), the Dodge has been a superior piece to anything else in the garage. Every time we show up to a highly downforce dependent track, such as Michigan, Charlotte, Kansas and now Homestead, you see a disproportionate number of Dodges towards the front - especially in qualifying. When we go to tracks that aren't as highly downforce dependent - Bristol, Richmond, Rockingham, Martinsville - the Dodges seem to spread out to about where they were before they got the help on the front of the car. That's the data we use to say that, overall, when you look at that make as a whole, that they are out of line.
"From a Pontiac standpoint, certainly at Homestead, you never count Tony Stewart out. That team knows how to put a race setup under their car here and they can come from 22nd and win this thing. But if they do, they will have to outwork and outthink everybody else even more than normal because they have a hole to dig out of. But, you could also see a situation tomorrow where if [Bill] Elliott gets hooked up, and with track position being so important, it could be a boring 'snoozefest' where they just leave us in the dust. We'll have to see.
"We'll go to Atlanta next weekend where with the banking, it tends to even things out a little more. Then we'll end the season at Loudon after Thanksgiving, and it may not be a whole lot different than here."
HOW CAN TONY, FOR EXAMPLE, WIN THIS RACE FROM 22ND? "It will have to be a combination of a great race car on track and great pit work. He might have to get by five or six cars on a run and then get a couple cars on pit road, and work his way through the whole race that way. By the last stop, anybody that wants to have a shot at winning this thing is going to have to be in the top three or four to get it done. We saw the same thing in Phoenix.
"When we talked to the guys in the Busch garage after 'Happy Hour' [on Friday], they're saying the new tire has equated people quite a bit and makes it even more difficult to pass here, which means you can be closer, but it's harder to get around somebody. You're going to have to be very superior to get around someone easily and if not, you're going to have to work on them for a few laps."