#10 Aaron's Pontiac driver Johnny Benson and Crew Chief James Ince were pleased with Sunday's second-place finish at Dover. But don't think for a second there is any contentment in the Harrisburg, N.C. shops of MB2 Motorsports. Ince told the team Monday there will be no rest until a victory then ultimately a championship.
Ince and Benson are fashioning a good combination in the 2000 Winston Cup season. At tracks Benson dislikes he has relied on Ince who has in turn relied on his driver at some of his less than favorite tracks. Sunday's race at Dover, where Ince has struggled, resulted in their second runner-up finish of the season. The other coming at Bristol where Benson had struggled and Ince shined.
The weekend the pair heads to the short track at Martinsville where Benson admits he hasn't been consistent. It's a place Ince likes. He crewed Ted Musgrave to a second place finish there in 1998. Both expect good results to continue the trend that has the Grand Rapids, Mich. driver scoring the ninth most points of all drivers since Sears Point.
<pre> Second Half Standings (Points Since Sears Point)
1 B. Labonte 1691 2 J. Burton 1689 3 Jarrett 1553 4 Stewart 1517 5 R. Wallace 1515 6 Earnhardt 1509 7 Rudd 1502 8 Martin 1461 9 Benson 1331 10 Park 1300
</pre> Ince On Second Place Finishes at Bristol, Dover & Ninth-Best In Second Half of 2000:
"I came in the shop on Monday feeling that we are still the first loser. There's no way around that. I'm happy we finished second at Dover. We have good race cars and a good team. We were in a position to win both Dover and Bristol, but it didn't happen. We have to learn how to win Winston Cup races. Johnny has won ASA and Busch Series races and I have won other types of races. But, now we have to focus on winning Winston Cup races. Neither me or Johnny will be satisfied until we do. We always strive to be the best. Like I say about finishing second, ninth best in the second half of the season means you are the eighth best loser. That isn't good enough. We are headed towards being the best. We are trying to make ourselves as strong as we possibly can be heading into next year while getting everything we can get this year. I have told our guys that we are going to win a championship here someday and to do that we have to keep getting better and better. If we run second we are heartbroken. Sometimes we are pleased but we are never satisfied."
Why Success At Bristol and Dover? What About Martinsville?
"I mentioned to Johnny over the weekend that I hate the places he loves and he loves the places I hate. I hate Dover and we finished second there last week. He hates Bristol and we finished second there in March. I think Martinsville is a place where, since it is the second time around for both of us together, we are going to be pretty good. We are confident with our race cars and confident with our race team right now."
Johnny Benson on Being First Loser Last Sunday:
"That's the way we have to look at it. Second place is just first loser. But it's a lot better than being the tenth- or eleventh-best loser."
Benson on Second Half Surge:
"We have been working together good this year and I think you are starting to see those results. We have gone places together this year that I don't like and we have run well and vice versa. We have made a lot of progress. As long as we continue to communicate, I think we are going to be fine. But, Martinsville is a good test for us just like Dover was a good test.
"We started off the year really good then got over a couple little bumps. I think anybody just watching on television can tell the progress we have made in all areas. The second half of the season should always go better and we have been working to make that happen."
Benson on Martinsville:
"I don't know why I dislike Martinsville. I've never been one to enjoy beating and banging. I always owned my own cars when I was growing up racing so whatever I tore up I had to pay for and fix myself. When that happens you learn how to race without tearing stuff up.
"Last time we raced there I think there were something like 17 cautions. There was a lot of beating and banging. It's just so tough to pass. The rules are so tight now that it's making it hard to pass without bumping. Some guys can do it and we did it most of the day last time. I may have got into one car but that was about it. Another problem is brakes. If you are tight there you abuse the brakes and when your brakes go you are pretty much done for the day.
"I have had good runs there and I have had bad runs there, but I haven't been very consistent at all. I hope the consistency lately carries over to Martinsville. James has had a lot of success there so maybe some of his success will rub off on us this weekend. It's going to be a good thing to get a second chance at Martinsville with James."
<pre> THE RACE: NAPA Autocare 500 Winston Cup Race #28 of 34 for the 2000 season
a.. Race: Sunday, October 1, 2000 in Martinsville, VA b.. TV: ESPN 1:00pm/et c.. Posted Awards/Purse: $2,115,007 d.. 1999 Race Winner: Jeff Gordon e.. Race Record: Rusty Wallace, Fall 1996, 81.410mph f.. Track/Race Length: 0.526 mile oval, 500 laps, 263 miles g.. Pit Road Speed: 35mph
a.. Practice: Friday, Sept 29th 11:00am - 1:30pm/et; Saturday, Sept 30th 9:40 - 10:30am/et b.. Happy Hour Practice: Saturday, September 30th, 1:00 - 2:00pm/et, TV-ESPN2 tape delay 4:30-5:30pm/et
a.. Qualifying Draw: Friday, Sept 29th at 10:30am/et b.. First Round Qualifying: 2 laps for positions 1-25, Friday, Sept 29th at 3:00pm/et, TV-ESPN live and live via MRN radio/internet c.. Second-Round Qualifying: 2 laps for positions 26th-36th, Saturday, Sept 30th at 11:15am/et d.. Track Qualifying Record: Tony Stewart, Apr 1999, 95.275mph e.. Event Qualifying Record: Joe Nemechek, Oct 1999, 95.223mph f.. Last Year's Pole Sitter: Joe Nemechek, 95.223mph
Track Specs: Degree of Banking: Turns: 12 degrees Straightaways: Banking: 0 degrees(flat) Straights: 800 feet Seating: approx 86,000 Pit Stalls: 43 pits, 14-feet wide by 28-feet long