Daytona Johnny Benson Burns Fastest Lap of Practice

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 15, 2000) - Johnny Benson, who drives the No. 10 Tyler Jet Motorsports Pontiac Grand Prix, turned the fastest lap of practice at 194.070 miles per hour Tuesday afternoon in preparation for Sunday's Daytona 500. ...

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 15, 2000) - Johnny Benson, who drives the No. 10 Tyler Jet Motorsports Pontiac Grand Prix, turned the fastest lap of practice at 194.070 miles per hour Tuesday afternoon in preparation for Sunday's Daytona 500.

Benson, who will line up outside the fifth row in the first 125-mile qualifying race Thursday, is looking to make his fourth career Daytona 500 start on Sunday. In 1998, the former NASCAR Winston Cup rookie of the year crashed on the last lap of the qualifier and failed to make the 500 because of it.

JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 TYLER JET MOTORSPORTS PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:

(ON BEING FASTEST IN PRACTICE) "James Ince has done a tremendous job on this Pontiac Grand Prix. It's running pretty good, and we're consistently good. I think the time we ran - I'm sure we got a little help in the draft. But, we were consistently right up there, and quick and good in the draft. We're looking forward to it. Like I say, it's driving good. The guys are doing a tremendous job on this Grand Prix."

(HOW IT FEELS TO BE FAST AGAIN) "This is only one race right now, so we'll have to see as it goes. But, I am looking forward to the year, and looking forward to getting through Daytona. Once we get through Daytona, we'll see what our other packages have to offer. Right now, they've got a good short track program. We probably need to work the most on the intermediates, and I think we will be in good shape."

(THOUGHTS ON THURSDAY'S QUALIFIER) "I think Thursday you just have to stay out of trouble. You need to be in the main draft and stay there. We don't know what this spring and shock package is going to bring us yet with a bunch of guys on the track. Our car seems to hang on to the end of a line really good. It's probably the best I've ever had in my career in Winston Cup. To be able to pull up on the guys relatively well makes me think we've got a good race car. In the 125s, you've just got to stay out of trouble and make sure you don't do anything real stupid, and just get through the lanes right. If you get shuffled out, you've just got to work yourself back up."

(ANY APPREHENSION ABOUT BEING INVOLVED IN AN INCIDENT IN THE 125) "Sure. That's like anything else. But, we've got a better time to fall back on than we had when I missed the race in '97. We do have a provisional. It's way back, but before I didn't have anything. Anything can happen. You just don't know. You just don't know until Thursday is done. I just hope when that day is over we've still got a car that is in great shape, still have a car that's running good, and still have a car for the 500."

(HANDLING IN THE DRAFT) "I think everybody is still having a little trouble keeping the cars from moving around. But, I think we are all getting a little more comfortable, but it is still unpredictable every once in a while, but that's kind of a speedway thing. All-in-all though, I think we've got the car 60 to 70 percent better, as far as the comfort range, than it was yesterday, so I think we are heading in the right direction."

(ON RUNNING HENDRICK ENGINES) "We've got Hendrick engines, and they've just been phenomenal for us. They are over in our garage all the time. They are always checking up on us and things of this nature, and that's been a plus. I think, horsepower-wise, we're in the ball part, and I think chassis-wise, we're in the ball park, and I think body-wise, we're in the ball park. So, we're just looking forward to a good day on Thursday."

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Johnny Benson