JOHNNY BENSON , No. 23 Exide Batteries Tundra, Bill Davis Racing Finished: 1st
How was your truck tonight and did you think you had a chance for the win with a late caution?
"That win was great and we had really dominated early on and just tried to play cool there for awhile. I couldn't believe how far we had gotten behind -- we worked our way back up and it looked like we were more than likely going to finish second until we got that last caution. We were fast enough to catch (Kyle Busch), but getting around him was something else. He was starting to get loose and I was gaining on him. At that time, I really couldn't do anything about it. The 'green-white- checkered' really played into our favor this time and that was pretty cool. I really have to thank everyone involved with Bill Davis Racing. I know Mike Skinner had his problems and right when his left-rear tire came off, mine felt like it was getting ready to come off -- that caution was timely for us. The rest just made for an exciting finish."
What are your chances to contend for the championship next season?
"Hopefully, great. Trip Bruce (crew chief) and the guys have done a great job for us this season. I believe we ended up third this season, which is really good when you look at everything that happened. When Trip came in this season it was about two days before we left for the Daytona test so to end the season with four wins and this high in the point standings -- that shows a lot. We've been competitive all year -- we've probably had three of four races where we weren't as competitive as we needed to be and we'll work on that stuff over the winter. Hopefully we can be a championship contender next year for sure."
Did you think NASCAR needed to throw that caution flag at the end because other drivers did not think there was enough cause to throw the yellow flag?
"I saw a wrecked truck -- I don't know how big of a piece of debris you need, but I would think a whole truck would classify as one. Maybe they were looking for smaller pieces. I don't know and I wasn't the one that threw the caution. That was their gripe, but it sure made a great event for the fans in the grandstands and everyone watching on television. We were able to take advantage of the 'green-white-checkered' and Kyle (Busch) and I both spun the tires on the restart. At first I didn't think he would go to the outside and I needed to go to the bottom. I was fast down there all day and I knew I had to get there. If it had gone green, I'm sure we would have finished second. But it didn't go green and I was able to get by on the restart."
What must be going through Bill Davis' mind right now with a race winner, but the loss of a title?
"He didn't look real happy and the title is something that has eluded them for a while. It just came down to the last race and they had some issues. Jeff Hensley and their whole crew had a tremendous year and Bill Davis Racing can be proud of what they accomplished and their season. I just hope next year it just comes down to myself and Mike rather than anybody else. Hopefully we can get a championship for Bill Davis Racing next season for sure."
How do feel about Mike Skinner losing the championship tonight?
"I wanted to see Mike win this thing more than anybody -- even through everything that happened last weekend. They needed to race these last couple of races real hard in order to win this and I know we caused a little friction last week. We needed our points, too , and it puts us in a pretty tough situation. But with the problems he had tonight, that helped get us up into the third spot. You could go through every race and find five points that you either threw away or someone else took from you. It was just ill-timing last week on our deal, but Mike had a tremendous season and the championship came down to the last race. My heart feels for them that they didn't win the championship because those guys had a season where they deserved it. But Ron Hornaday and his team had a great season and they deserved it. No matter what happened -- somebody was going to be happy and somebody wasn't."
-credit: toyota motorsports