Chicagoland: Johnny Benson preview

Beginning with last Saturday's 400-mile race at Daytona, the NASCAR Winston Cup Series begins a stretch of races through the summer months that will see temperatures rise to the hottest of the season. Temperatures at Daytona reached 97 degrees...

Beginning with last Saturday's 400-mile race at Daytona, the NASCAR Winston Cup Series begins a stretch of races through the summer months that will see temperatures rise to the hottest of the season. Temperatures at Daytona reached 97 degrees last weekend and a forecast of near 90-degree heat on Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway means heat will be a fact this weekend as well. Drivers have different ways of combating that cockpit temperatures that rise to as much as 150 degrees forcing them to lose as much as 8 pounds a race.

Benson on fighting heat during a race

"I think the first thing you have to do is realize you aren't going to win that battle. It's going to be hot and you better learn to live with it. It's funny when you are running good you don't seem to notice the heat as much as when you are running badly. I think Benny Parsons once said if you want to know what it' s like to race one of our cars put on your winter jacket and hat, get in your car on a hot summer day, roll up the windows, turn on the car heater and ride over railroad tracks for about four hours."

Are there driver aides?

"Each driver has a helmet air conditioning system that is really just like a fan blowing your face. Normally it's blowing air that is cooler than the air in the car, and that helps. Sometimes the guys will give you ice to dump on your body during a long race, but that only goes so far. We have heat shields for our heels so we don't burn them on the floorboard and our normal fire stuff prevents us from burning anywhere else. That keeps us from getting burned but it doesn't keep you cool. There are a variety of cool suits out on the market right now and some work better than others. The bad thing about a cool suit is it only works for an hour and a half, and the races that we run last as long as 3 and a half hours. When that thing quits working it's like wearing a rubber jacket and that's hot."

Bottom line?

"I guess the bottom line is drink lots of water and run so well that you forget about the heat."

Valvoline Informed Sources - Story Ideas

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.

Now Hear This and See This:

Johnny Benson audio is now available. If you would like an mp3 of Johnny Benson previewing an upcoming race or talking about a specific subject please email me and I will send you the wav or mp3 file of Benson. If you would like weekly pictures of the #10 team and Benson please email me and I will give you the pass code so you can download pics every Monday. Media only please.

The Business of Racing is Business:

Half of the stories written about Nascar Winston Cup racing are business related these days. Jim Rocco - Senior Vice President at the Valvoline Company - is one of the listed car owners of Johnny Benson's #10 Valvoline Pontiac and an excellent interview for stories dealing with team owners, sponsorship or economics of racing.

For Sale?

Want to know how much it costs to be on a Winston Cup racer? Valvoline has a color graphic in jpg form that gives rough costs estimates of every spot on a Winston Cup car.

Home Grown Racing

Valvoline as well as Benson and his Crew Chief James Ince value local racers across the country. Benson races a pavement late model and Ince owns and races with his dirt team in the Midwest. Valvoline supports local racers by giving money through a competition called the Valvoline Cup open to all American racers.

Be part of something big

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