Daytona 500: Johnny Benson preview

Valvoline Pontiac Driver Johnny Benson Previews Daytona 500 ...

Valvoline Pontiac Driver Johnny Benson Previews Daytona 500

#10 Valvoline Pontiac driver Johnny Benson says Sunday's Daytona 500 will be different than recent restrictor plate races. Benson has successfully employed a strategy of hanging at the back of the field in these races then making a quick charge to the front. Benson and his crew chief James Ince have also employed some two-tire pit stops to get to the front of the field leading 39 laps and nearly winning the Daytona 500 in 2000 using that strategy Benson starts 39th Sunday and says under NASCAR's new rules there is no time to lay back in the field. Once the green flag drops he plans to go to the front of the field. Ince says he usually doesn't know his pit strategy until seconds before he makes a call on pit road.

Benson On Daytona 500 Strategy:

"We have to go as soon as they drop the green flag. There's not much time we can waste. Last year the smart thing to do was sit at the back of the field and bide your time. You could go from last to first in about 5 laps. So there was no reason to rush up to the front early and get in a big wreck. This year it's going to take a whole lot more time to get up there. There'll be no holding back in the race.

"These new rules make the drivers work a heck of a lot harder. You aren't going to see anyone go from the back to the front of front to the back as fast as they did last year. We are 39th and that's a long way so it's going to be a busy day."

Benson On Daytona 500 Strategy:

"Everybody keeps asking what kind of race it will be. Will it be like the first qualifying race that was single file or the second one that was pretty wild. I really don't know. I hope for the fans sake it's like the second race. I think if you asked the drivers what to expect you would get a bunch of different answers. We'll be like you. We'll know what the race is going to be like just about the time all the fans will."

Ince On Pit Strategy:

"You know you can make a plan the night before the race but that can go out the window in seconds. We have to react to what our competitors are doing. There are times I don't know what we are going to do on our pit stop -- two or four tires -- until we are coming down pit road and I see what the other teams are doing."

-vr-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Johnny Benson