Atlanta II: Johnny Benson preview

This weekend's "100 Years of University of Kentucky Basketball" paint scheme on Johnny Benson's ...

This weekend's "100 Years of University of Kentucky Basketball" paint scheme on Johnny Benson's #10 Valvoline Pontiac is the subject of much discussion among the owners of the Nascar Winston Cup team as it prepares to race Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Benson's team is half-owned by Lexington, Kentucky-based Valvoline and half-owned by Georgia businessmen Read Morton, Tom Beard, and Nelson Bowers - alumni and huge supporters of the University of Georgia.

Rival Kentucky's paint scheme on the trio's car at its home race track combined with Benson being a native of Michigan where they have some pretty good college teams make for some interesting conversation on the #10 hauler.

Adding to the atmosphere will be the Kentucky-Georgia football game Saturday in Lexington and the presence Sunday of former Georgia and now Kentucky Basketball Coach Tubby Smith who plans to be in Benson's pit during the race.

Tom Beard, Car Owner & Georgia Alum:
"We like our Kentucky partners at Valvoline so much that we just wanted them to have a win in Georgia on Sunday cause it ain't gonna happen in Lexington on Saturday. We just provide the car which is like a blank billboard. If Valvoline wanted to put a picture of General Sherman's face on the side it would be just fine with us. Let me rephrase that as long as it isn't a Georgia Tech bumblebee on the car we will be fine."

Johnny Benson:
"It all kind of depends on how you look at it. We are either going to have one heck of an argument Sunday or we are going to get the fans of Michigan, Kentucky and Georgia all rooting for us to win a race. This might be the only thing fans of those colleges agree on all year but if we do well then we'll put up with those kind of arguments every weekend."

Jim Rocco, Senior Vice-President Valvoline Company:
"Valvoline is a proud Kentucky company and we wanted to nationally honor Kentucky basketball, something all Kentuckians hold dear to our hearts. We hope Johnny can give the UK fans a thrill or two like UK basketball has provided us for the last 100 years. Now I realize our Georgia partners might have to hold their tongues when they look at the paint scheme but as good of year as they are having in football they can suffer through it for a weekend."


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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Johnny Benson