Benson, Schrader on Darlington

JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 AARON'S PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: (DOES IT MEAN MORE TO START FROM THE FRONT ROW IN THE SOUTHERN 500?) "I think it's a really big deal. I'm glad that we're heading in the direction we need to, at least for qualifying anyway. I...

(DOES IT MEAN MORE TO START FROM THE FRONT ROW IN THE SOUTHERN 500?) "I think it's a really big deal. I'm glad that we're heading in the direction we need to, at least for qualifying anyway. I think our race package has been great, and our qualifying package has been OK. But we've made some changes to try to get better at qualifying, and it's been a little hit and miss, but we're getting there."

(WILL IT BE HARD TO BE PATIENT AT THE START OF THE RACE WITH SUCH A GOOD STARTING SPOT?) "The good part about starting up front is that if you lose 10 spots on the start, you're still 12th, so I'm not worried about that. Whatever happens happens on the start. The thing is to be right there at the end of the race. That's the most important part. The thing is now we've got to get the thing good in race trim and be able to have a good car for the long run."

(DOES HE CONSIDER HIMSELF GOOD AT TIRE MANAGEMENT?) "I think so. I think I've always been good on tires. I don't think I'm one that is going to burn the tires off the car. That's obviously a plus here and at places like Rockingham and Richmond, so I'm looking forward to it."

(DOES HE REMEMBER WATCHING THE SOUTHERN 500 ON TV?) "I see some of the stuff that they show on TV now. Speedvision shows some of the races back from the old Darlington days and they are pretty cool to watch and to listen to the commentators. That's kind of neat. This place has a huge history. There have been some legends that have won here, which is pretty cool and I think it would be great to be a part of that. "But it's a track where you've got to be patient and race the racetrack, not other cars. We just need to wait to the end when it's time to go."

(ON BEING CLOSE TO WINNING HERE BEFORE) "I've been awful close a couple of times here. I've been to victory lane here with Mark Martin. With Ted (Musgrave) in '97, it got down to the last corner of the last lap and we got beat by the '88' car, so this is a place that I like coming to a lot. I feel like we've always had a good handle on it.

"This is a spring and shock racetrack. This is a place that I feel like I can help, that I can for sure make an impact on what's going on. Now I'm back with a driver that gets around this place really good, and that's a big help. Between Ted and now I've had good race car drivers, but not ones that would say that Darlington is one of their favorite places. With Johnny, it's one of his favorite places I think, so I'm looking forward to a good weekend."

(ON TIRE MANAGEMENT) "You don't race anybody here. All you race at Darlington is the racetrack. You get the race car as good as you can possibly get it and you race the racetrack. If everybody else wants to get carried away and run harder than they need to, you've got to let them go run harder. We're definitely going to be on a pace and on a program of hitting certain lap times and being on a '70 percent program' until the end of the race."

"The racing here is very, very good, but you can't race the competitors. The real race here is racing the racetrack."

(ON THE SOUTHERN 500) "This is the 'Grand Daddy' right here. This is a big one. Short of Daytona and Indy, this is the one you want to win. If you end your Winston Cup career and you haven't won at Darlington, I don't think you've had a complete career. This is a very important race. It's very important to us as a race team. Right now for us as a team any race is important. But this is a big one. This would be a nice one to get our first win at."

(ON THE IMMEDIATE IMPROVEMENT SINCE BECOMING TEAMMATES WITH JOHNNY BENSON) "We were the two highest single-car teams in points going into this deal, and it shows. Yeah, it's helped and we can see benefits of it already. And the cars aren't the same and we're not in the same shop, so we think eventually we can benefit a lot more from it."

(HOW DO KEEP AN OPEN FLOW OF INFORMATION BETWEEN TWO TEAMMATES WHEN YOU ARE COMPETING WITH EACH OTHER?) "Until Johnny wins and I run second, or I win and Johnny runs second - until we're racing each other for the win, I'll give him any damn thing I've got and take anything he's got to try to beat these other guys. Until we're worrying about beating each other, you just don't worry about it. You just open the books."

good for a long time.  I wouldn't mess with it.  It's been real successful.
We've had a points battle go down the last race a lot of times.  What more
do you want?  I sure wouldn't mess with it."

(ON QUALIFYING IN THE FIRST ROUND YESTERDAY) "I guess up to that point it was a case of scraping the wall in two and scraping the wall in three - I think I just kept scraping the walls. The team qualified good with Jeff (Fuller) here in the first race so I knew they had a good car. I tested here once, had never run here, but I knew what I wanted to do.

"This place is slick and the momentum in three and four just carries you right into the wall. There is a fine line, and I don't know if I can do that all day.

"I just think I'm starting to figure out what I'm doing wrong qualifying and a lot of it is just trying too hard. It just seems like you're just trying and trying and trying, and then when it comes to you it was easy, like yesterday. I need to just slow down, do what I know and just do it.

"Yesterday I was probably more relaxed than any other day and I don't know why. Maybe it's all the stuff that's going on and I just didn't care or maybe I did care. But I just felt relaxed."

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Mark Martin