Daytona II: Johnny Benson preview

Valvoline team looking at owner not driver points. Anyone judging ...

Valvoline team looking at owner not driver points.

Anyone judging #10 Valvoline Pontiac team's performance this season you shouldn't look for driver Johnny Benson's name in the points race. Instead it's the name of Nelson Bowers that matters. Bowers, Benson's listed car owner, is 24th in the owner standings while Benson is 35th in the driver standings.

The three races Benson sat out because of an injury explain why is he near the bottom of the driver point sheet. The owner's sheet rewards points to the team and not the driver allowing the #10 to benefit from Jerry Nadeau and Joe Nemechek's substitute drives for Benson.

Owner points matter. These points establish priority in gaining provisionals for future races as well as determines some of the cash payouts at the end of the season. Team haulers park in the garage each weekend in order of owner points.

Benson and his Valvoline teammates expect to continue their points climb Saturday night in Daytona. It is the first track the NASCAR Winston Cup Series visits a second time in 2002. The Busch Series will race at Daytona Friday night.

Benson Notes:

Johnny Benson had an average finish of 25.0 in the 10 races prior to his injury at Richmond. Since returning to the No. 10 Valvoline Pontiac, he has an average finish has been 11.0.

Benson has led 60 laps in his last five race at Daytona including 10 laps near the end of this race last season.

Benson leads all active drivers this weekend in the percentage of laps completed in their races at Daytona. Benson has completed 98.6 percent of the laps in the races he has entered at Daytona. Ward Burton is second with 97.5 percent. At least five races must be reordered to rank in the standings.

Benson: Do You Look At Owner Points Or Driver Points?

"The driver points tell the story of my season and it's pretty evident I missed three races. It's going to be hard to climb above a lot of guys with us missing three races. But, the owner points tell the story of the team's season and it is 24th right now and hopefully will get a lot better as the season moves on. Some of the fans and media look where I am in the points and say 'you guys have had a 35th-place season.' That's not true. Look at the owner points and you will see this team is ahead of a lot of good teams and not far behind some others. Our goal is to get up in the top 15 in owner points and that's a reachable goal. We will even go for the top-10 if we can."

Benson On Racing At Daytona:

"We always look forward to going to Daytona. We have always run well there it seems. Running under the lights is a lot of fun. Not only do you get Sunday off but for some reason racing under the lights always seems a bit more exciting than racing in daylight. Plus, this year we get to see a Busch race on Friday night so I plan to enjoy my weekend down there. I don't know if we will be able to learn anything from the Busch race that we don't already know, but we will be watching and normally those races are way cool there."

Does Going To A Track The Second Time In A Season Make A Difference?

"I don't know if it matters going to a track the second time or not. I have found that when you think you have a track figured out and you go there a second time you end up running bad. But when you run badly at a track the first time sometimes the second time is a lot better. I can't explain why that happens but it just happens."

What Impact Do Lights Have On A Superspeedway Race at Night?

"Well I'd hate to race at night without them but the July race under the lights makes the track a bit more similar to the way it is in February. When we used to race here in the daytime in July it was like a totally different track from the way it was in February. Now with the lights the track temperature is a lot cooler and the track is consistent throughout the race. It's still all about handling at Daytona but it's not nearly as tough as it would be if we ran it in the afternoon."


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ward Burton , Jerry Nadeau , Johnny Benson