Daytona Twin 125s: Valvoline Racing, Benson race report

Benson Frustrated On Thursday, But Knows Sunday Is Payday ...

Benson Frustrated On Thursday, But Knows Sunday Is Payday

#10 Valvoline Pontiac driver Johnny Benson was glad Thursday's 125-mile qualifying races at Daytona International Speedway only determined his starting postion for Sunday's Daytona 500.

He knows Sunday pays a whole lot more money and points.

Benson's 17th place finish in the first of the two qualifying races wasn't good enough to transfer into the Daytona 500, nor was his speed in single lap qualifying last Saturday, but his 11th place finish in the 2001 points was good enough for him to earn a 39th place start in Sunday's race.

"That was disappointing," Benson said after the race. "I thought we would be a lot better than that, but in these short races you have to be perfect when you take the green flag. Today we were really loose and never got a chance for a pit stop to make any changes."

Benson started 19th and moved up to about 12th in the single file groups that raced around the 2.5-mile oval.

"I'm so loose I think I'm going to back it in the wall," he reported over the team radio.

Benson eventually fell back in the field stuggling to stay in the draft. He was 17th when the checkered flag fell.

Despite the frustration Thursday, Benson said the Valvoline Pontiac isn't far off from regaining its form that saw it near the top of the speed chart all three practice days this week.

"We can tighten a race car up around here a lot easier than making it loose so we feel good about that. We have two more practices to get the Valvoline Pontiac back to like we had it earlier in the week. I'm pretty confident James Ince and all of our guys can get this corrected. We'll also look at our engine and get better. Sunday is the biggest payday around here and that's when we know we will be good."

While Benson made the field, some big names from the NASCAR Winston Cup Series aren't going to be in the Superbowl of "Stock Car Racing." Jimmy Spencer, Hut Stricklin.

Jeff Gordon won the first race and Michael Waltrip won won the second race. The Winston Cup cars will practice an hour at Daytona on Friday and Saturday.

-vr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Michael Waltrip , Jimmy Spencer , Johnny Benson