#10 Valvoline Pontiac driver Johnny Benson says Darlington is one of the biggest challenges a driver faces all season. The "Track Too Tough To Tame" can really be too tough to tame sometimes. Benson and his Crew Chief James Ince have enjoyed a degree of success at the 1.5-mile egg-shaped oval, but neither has reached their goal of visiting victory lane at Nascar's oldest track. Both hope that will change this weekend. Benson finished eighth at Michigan and 12th at Bristol in the last two weeks.
Johnny Benson On First Darlington Experience:
"Yeah, I remember my first time at Darlington. It was in a Busch car with Bace Motorsports. I went out and started making laps and all of a sudden my crew chief at the time Steve Bird came over the radio and was yelling "get off the track right now." He was mad. I didn't know what was wrong. When I got back to the pits I asked one of our guys if we were slow he said we were at the top of the sheet. So I couldn't figure out what was wrong. I finally saw Birdie and asked him what in the world could be wrong? He looked at me and said, "you are way too fast and if you keep driving that line you'll crash the car." I'd never been yelled at by a crew chief for being too fast.
"But looking back on it Birdie was right. You will see guys go out in practice or qualifying and be really fast them bam they are in the wall and come back with a wrecked race car wondering what happened. That's Darlington."
Benson On Darlington:
"I think Darlington is a place that once you figure out the qualifying setup and race setup you can get around pretty good. We feel comfortable with our qualifying setup. We have raced well there. Darlington is NASCAR and full of history. Except moving the finish line that track hasn't changed much since they started racing there. Yes, it would be pretty cool to be part of the history if we could get our first win there."
Benson On Season So Far:
"We are starting to have fun again. We have had two decent races in the last two weeks. I'm certainly feeling better. We are starting to get our rhythm back. We learned a lot at Bristol and we think we can continue that at Darlington. We still have a lot of time left in this season to do some good things. Darlington is one of the toughest on the circuit but its one that is a little more special than most other races because of all the history at that place."
Benson On Goodyear Tires At Darlington
"It will be the same old Darlington. I think this race will be just like the race in the Spring. I know we keep talking about it, but the new tires that Goodyear has come out with should make it a better race. I think the difference between Darlington and other places where this tire is used is that at Darlington you are still going to come into the pits whenever a yellow comes out. You might not do that at other places where this compound was raced."
Crew Chief James Ince On Darlington:
"We ran second at Darlington with Ted Musgrave in 1997 when he and Dale (Jarrett) were rubbing on the last lap for the win. Believe me I think about that race a lot and nothing would be better than getting a little bit of vengeance this weekend. I know Darlington is one of Johnny Benson's favorite tracks. Darlington is all about springs and shocks and getting the right setup underneath the racecar. As a crew chief you can have a lot of impact. That's why I like it."