DETROIT, Mich. (May 30, 2000) - Lycos Pontiac Grand Prix driver Johnny Benson moved back in the NASCAR Winston Cup top 20 after Sunday's running of the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway and now looks ahead to a grueling race at Dover Downs...
DETROIT, Mich. (May 30, 2000) - Lycos Pontiac Grand Prix driver Johnny Benson moved back in the NASCAR Winston Cup top 20 after Sunday's running of the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway and now looks ahead to a grueling race at Dover Downs in Dover, Del. Last year Benson notched just two top 10 finishes during the season, but one of them came during the series' first trip to the high-banked, one-mile concrete oval. The Grand Rapids, Michigan driver has already matched last year's top 10 total during his first 11 starts this year and will look to add another one to that column Sunday.
THOUGHTS FROM JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 LYCOS PONTIAC GRAND PRIX
...is Dover less forgiving than other tracks if you miss the set-up slightly?
"Dover is like every other racetrack. You either hit it right or you're off some. But Dover has changed over the years. The groove has definitely gotten wider. It's almost three grooves now, so you can start to move around and find a spot that works out best for the way your car's handling. Momentum is a huge player at that racetrack. But nowadays I think it is at a lot of racetracks. But if your car is really good at Dover, especially at the start of the race, that's what you need. You need a car that is going to be good right from the get-go because some of those guys can get away pretty quickly from you."
...on how fast you can get in trouble at Dover:
"Even though it's a mile long, Dover is a lot like a short track when it comes to trouble. A lot of it is that you can't see it quick enough. But it's also that the track is so fast and the straightaways are banked so much that you can't do anything about it. You can't swerve around somebody because when you swerve around somebody you're going to wreck anyway. Getting through trouble there is pretty tough."
...on the difference between racing on concrete versus asphalt:
"I think the concrete there is fine. I think it started off not as good as what we would like to see. But over the years, between the IRL going there and them grinding the track to make it smoother, I think they have done a good job with the track. I think that's why now it is a multi-groove track as opposed to just two single-lane tracks. It's smooth enough you can pretty much run wherever you want."
...how does the concrete affect your overall grip?:
"I think that the concrete actually offers OK grip. But once you start to lose it, you're gone. There's no saving it. That makes it pretty tough sometimes to get a good grip on it to where the car is still very balanced."
...should any races on the Winston Cup schedule be shortened?
"It's going to be what NASCAR decides it wants. It's more than just our decision. It's also up to the tracks and to what TV wants. I've been to Dover when it was 500 miles, and it was too long. Four hundred miles is fine, but even that is a long race for that track."
"But that's where they have it. It's no different than some of the other races that are 500 and 600 miles. They're very long races. Sure I would like to see some of them shortened, but it would have to be done the right way. It's tough to have a race that has been that long for such a long time and all of a sudden, decide that we're going to change it for next year. So I'm not sure that's the way to do that. But I do think some races could be shortened a little bit, but not by a whole lot."
...on the increasing power of television in NASCAR:
"TV has always had a ton of power in different ways. I think they've had some influence on how long some of the races are and that's how it works. That's between them and NASCAR. But TV has been awfully powerful. It's gotten us where we are today. What TV has done for us has been a tremendous amount. It is basically helped get us where we are. I don't think that because of the upcoming change in networks, or the fact it may be designed a little different, will really change the way our races are run, or how it's going to be. It's just going to be on a different channel."