Bristol II: Johnny Benson preview

Benson on fuel mileage, Bristol If there is ever a chance fuel mileage won't be a factor in a NASCAR Winston Cup race then it is Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway where the frequent cautions on the half-mile concrete high banks allow...

Benson on fuel mileage, Bristol

If there is ever a chance fuel mileage won't be a factor in a NASCAR Winston Cup race then it is Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway where the frequent cautions on the half-mile concrete high banks allow plenty of opportunity for pitting under yellow.

Fuel mileage is becoming as big a part of racing as driver skills, aerodynamics, shocks, springs, and drafting.

#10 Valvoline Pontiac driver Johnny Benson has been on both sides of the fuel mileage game this season. At Sonoma he led 8 laps before running out of gas in the final moments of the race. On Sunday at Michigan Benson stretched the fuel mileage and ended the race in 10th.

Benson On Fuel Mileage:

"(Crew Chief) James (Ince) and I start thinking about fuel mileage about half way through the national anthem. Actually it starts a lot earlier than that. We think about it Saturday in practice. We try to get a reading on fuel consumption and we talk about what kind of gear we want to use."

Are Fuel Mileage Races Good For The Sport?

"I don't know. I let the fans and media decide that. Frankly, we don't even think about that. Fuel mileage is a reality of current racing and it does you no good to complain or even talk about it. Building an engine that gets good fuel mileage is just as important as building an engine with good horsepower. It's reality, we just deal with it."

"Yeah I'd rather have every race decided with a last lap battle between drivers, but I have no idea how you change that."

Benson On Bristol:

"The thing about Bristol is the first three or four laps you end up feeling kind of dizzy because of the banking and the speed. But, by the end of the day, after you get racing you get pretty used to it. As one driver put it, it's kind of like flying fighter jets in a gymnasium.

"I like it. It's fast, its fun and you don't have to worry about aerodynamics or anything like that. It's just race as hard as you can for 500 laps."

Benson On Racing At Night:

"I like racing at night. We all grew up Saturday night racing and that's what we like. It's cooler, there is less glare and the track stays more consistent, but it's really the atmosphere that makes night racing so much fun. The fans seem more intense than normal, the crew guys are hyped up and all that transfers to the drivers. Bristol might be the most exciting place we race."

On Fire

Monday through Saturday Jimmy Watts is a captain with the Charlotte Fire Department. On Sunday he goes over pit wall just inches away from 43 swarming cars to gas Johnny Benson's #10 Valvoline Pontiac. Watts helped pull Benson out of his car at Talladega last year and is a good authority on firefighting techniques in racing.

What's the owner doing at testing?

At testing events, the car owner normally would be as ignored as a busboy at Hooters. Why are Valvoline representatives a key part of pre- and in-season testing for the No. 10 Valvoline Pontiac and No. 9 and 19 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/Ts? That's because Valvoline uses the Nascar Winston Cup tests to try out its new qualifying oils, gear oils, radiator wetter that go into the engines of Johnny Benson, Bill Elliott and Jeremy Mayfield.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Jeremy Mayfield , Johnny Benson