Valvoline Dover Preview Benson/Nadeau/Ince Quotes ...
Valvoline Dover Preview
#10 Valvoline Pontiac driver Johnny Benson wants to race this weekend's NASCAR Winston Cup race in Dover, Del., but injuries will keep him sidelined another week before he returns to action at Pocono. Benson has not raced since he suffered a broken rib and two cracked ribs in a Busch Series race in Richmond on May 3.
Benson plans to spend Dover weekend just like he did the Charlotte weekend and that's on the Valvoline pit box watching the race and helping Crew Chief James Ince. He prefers being behind the wheel but realizes waiting an extra week to return is the smartest driving move he can make.
Jerry Nadeau will substitute for Benson this weekend at Dover. Nadeau finished 28th at Charlotte on Sunday in his debut points race in the Valvoline Pontiac. Nadeau finished second at Dover in September.
How Do You Feel?
"I'm feeling better and better every day. I've been off the pain medicine for a while, I'm sleeping through the night and the physical therapy is going pretty well. I can't lift a whole lot and don't think I will any time soon but overall I'm getting better and better. Like I have said, I've cracked ribs before but when you break one it is a whole different world when it comes to the pain. I'd prefer never doing this again."
What Have You Been Doing to Feel Better?
"I've spent time stretching and doing water aerobics in the pool. That makes my whole body feel better. You get to stretch without the pain you'd get if you weren't in the water. I've got a few electronic gizmos too that I've been trying out to speed the healing process. They say that time is the best healer so I've just had to make myself realize that I'm going to have to wait for Pocono before I can come back."
Are You Looking Forward To Pocono?
"Yes, you better believe it. This watching isn't a whole lot of fun. I think I could run Dover but that is a pretty tough track on your body plus at the speeds we run there you just don't crash easy. The last thing I want to do is get caught up in a wreck there and make this injury worse and miss even more time. Pocono is a bit easier on the body and I think that's where the doctors feel my return would be best."
What Will You Do At Dover?
"Same as I did at Charlotte and that's spend a lot of time watching from the transporter and pit box and then trying to bridge the communication gap between Jerry and James when they discuss the car. We have run really good at Dover in the past and I know Jerry has done well there so I think we will be good this weekend.
"Who knows if I have time I might try to find a spotting job for some team during the weekend."
"I love Dover. We finished second up there last year and have had a lot of good races there. We were leading the race one time, had a chance to win it and blew a tire. But, it's been a good racetrack. I enjoy it. It's tough. It's a driver's racetrack. You've got to have a good car and I'm anxious to go there."
Does Dover Owe You?
"No, I don't believe in that stuff. I feel like if you work hard enough and everything goes your way, you'll get a win. This is a really good race team. [Crew chief] James Ince and I working really good together and Johnny [Benson] is helping out a lot. We're just trying to get better."
What Do You Think of The Valvoline Team?
"This is a good team. They haven't had the kind of luck they've needed this year. But, I think this is a team definitely capable of running in the top 10 and the top five, and that is where we should finish. We should be up front."
What Do You Hope To Get Out Of This Opportunity?
"I'm just helping out Johnny and the team. My job is just to come in here and wheel this thing as hard as I can and try to get these guys a win. That's all I think about. This is Johnny's ride and I'm not here to impress anybody else. I just want to do a good job for them."
Crew Chief James Ince:
How Tough Has Different Drivers Been On The Crew?
"It makes it a tough situation. Fortunately, Jerry is a great race car driver and that is one thing we don't have to worry about. There's no doubt about the fact that he is going to go mash the gas. The biggest thing we're struggling with is terminology and trying to search out what we need to do to the car. I'm so used to having conversations with Johnny and being able to relate things back to Berlin (Berlin Raceway in Grand Rapids, Mich.) or Monnett, Mo., or wherever, and we know what we're talking about. That's the one part of the equation that I don't have right now. But, we're getting better with that. Last week at Charlotte was a good example. In practice on Saturday it took me 15 minutes to get him to say one word I was searching for. Once I heard the word I was searching for, then I figured I knew how to go fix the race car.
"We just need to bridge that gap. Communication is important. Everybody talks about chemistry, but it's really not chemistry. It's communication and understanding what that communication is. You can tell somebody something until you're blue in the face, but if they're not relating to that it doesn't really help the situation.
"We're getting better at that. In some ways, it's fun right now to a degree because we've really accelerated that communication between Jerry and me.
"But, it's not an easy deal and going to Dover is a little scary for me because that is not an easy place. That is a track where you're either right or you're wrong and there is a real small window of opportunity to get your race car right. Hopefully, we'll be smart when we get there. We're trying to stick to our old notes. We're taking a really good race car that finished second there in the past (September, 2000).
"We've got good stuff. It's one of those deals where it could be a great weekend and go real smooth or it could be really hard because of communication that we've got to keep working on."
Both Jerry And The Valvoline Team Have Run Well At Dover. Does That Make It Easier?
"That helps a whole lot. We know that we don't have to go out in left field. We don't need to go change what we do and that's important. It doesn't matter if it's the race car driver or the jackman on pit road. If you've got to change a position, that is the only position you want to change. If you can change that and make it work, then you're in good shape. If you've got to change that position and end up altering six other things because of that, then you're not going to be as good as you would have been.
"In the NFL, if they change quarterbacks, they don't change the playbook. That' s the thing we're trying to accomplish. That's the comfort of taking a car that is proven there and taking a setup that is proven there. That is going to help us a lot and hopefully keep us from scratching our head. At the end of the day if we don't run good, it's going to be because Jerry and I weren't able to speak the same alphabet."
Big Brothers Big Sisters Of America:
Nadeau is racing this week for the Nutmeg BBBS, Inc., Hartford, Conn. Chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters Of America. Each week Valvoline donates money to the national Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America organization as well as an individual local chapter based on Benson's on-track performance. Valvoline matches Benson's performance by donating $5,000 for a win, $2,500 for a pole, $1,000 for a top ten 10 finish, $500 for a top 20 finish and $20 for each lap led. The 3-year program has raised over $750,000.