Former Champion David Green to drive ...
Former Champion David Green to drive #31 Whelen Monte Carlo.
1994 Champ to substitute for Benson at New Hampshire this weekend.
A former Busch Series Champion is coming to the aid of another Busch Series Champion.
1994 Busch Series Champion David Green will fill-in for 1995 Champion Johnny Benson in Marsh Racing's #31 Whelen Monte Carlo on Saturday at New Hampshire International Speedway. An early-race accident caused by another driver Friday night at Richmond International Raceway left Benson with a broken rib and unable to run on the flat mile oval in Loudon, N.H this weekend.
"I hate the circumstances, but I'm excited about getting back behind the wheel in a competitive car," Green said. "Johnny proved this car was fast at Richmond and I plan to show how good it can race in New Hampshire."
James Ince, Benson's Winston Cup crew chief, will continue to serve in the same role with Marsh Racing. Ince will also utilize crewmembers from Benson's #10 Valvoline Pontiac as a pit crew during the Busch race. Green and Ince worked together in the Winston Cup Series at Tyler Jet Motorsports. The duo earned a pole at Homestead in 1999.
"James and I worked well together in Winston Cup. He knows what I want in a car and I know what kind of feedback he is looking for from me. If I know James he plans to go to Loudon and win the pole then win the race on Saturday."
Green's only start of the 2002 season came at Daytona where the 44-year-old Owensboro, Ky. native started second and finished 18th driving for Tommy Baldwin Racing.
Green joined the Busch Series in 1991 earning the pole at Daytona in his first race and earning his first victory in his 12th race at Lanier Speedway in Georgia. Green finished second to Jeff Gordon in Rookie of the Year honors that season. The 5-time winner earned his championship in 1994 then fell only 29 points short of earning a second title in 1996 -- the same year he was voted the series' most popular driver by the fans. His 19 career pole positions ranks fourth all time.
Benson said his return to the Busch Series this season was about winning both at the Busch Series level and Winston Cup level where he drives the #10 Valvoline Pontiac. On Thursday at Richmond he was the fastest Busch car in practice before rain cancelled qualifying. His Winston Cup car was fastest in two consecutive practices late Friday afternoon as well.
Because of his injury, Benson said he is unsure what his plans are this season regarding the Busch Series.
"I think we learned a lot by running both series," Benson said. "We got wrecked in the race and we never got a chance to show what we could do. Sure I wish I could run this weekend, but my goal is to get well. David will do a good job in the Whelen Monte Carlo and I hope what he and James learn will transfer over to our effort in the Valvoline Pontiac in the Cup garage."
This weekend's race in New Hampshire is in the backyard of team sponsor Whelen Engineering. For more than 40 years, the Chester, Conn. company has provided innovative emergency lighting and siren products in the automotive, aviation, industrial, emergency management, and traffic management markets. Whelen is a sponsor in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series as well as the official supplier of safety lights for Pontiac's NASCAR Winston Cup pace cars. Whelen's emergency warning lights are also visible on the Official NASCAR safety vehicles as well as the safety vehicles used at most Busch and Winston Cup tracks.