Indianapolis: Johnny Benson preview

Benson On Indy The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is one of ...

Benson On Indy

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is one of #10 Valvoline Pontiac driver Johnny Benson's favorite tracks. Benson led 70 laps in 1996 plus two more in 1997 and has three top-8 finishes in his eight races at Indy. Benson and his team tested at Indianapolis on July 14-16.

Benson On Indy's Importance To NASCAR:

"I think it is pretty important for NASCAR to be at Indy. It's a place that obviously has a lot of history and a lot of tradition. It's hard to believe this is the tenth year. That is pretty amazing. Every time we go there it always feels like it's the first time I was there. There is something about the atmosphere at that place."

First Impression:

"I remember my first time here in 1996. We came up there to test and it was a big place with lots of seats, but it was really just kind of like any other race track. We came back in August and on the first day there were a lot of people who showed up just for qualifying. There was more the next day and that was impressive. Then race morning they had all the drivers take a lap in the pace car and I was like 'you got to kidding." I couldn't believe the number of people. It was like the whole city decided it wanted to see a race. I have never witnessed anything like that. It was overwhelming."

Favorite Memory:

"My best memory is leading 70 laps in 1996 my rookie year. We had a great car and were up front there at the end. Near the end we didn't have a good stop and I kind of stalled the car and we didn't make it out like we wanted we to. We were disappointed but it was still a good day for us."

Victory At Indy:

"To win a race there would mean a ton to us not just because we would win another Winston Cup race but the fact that it is at Indy. Indy has such a huge following and not just for NASCAR. If I had to pick a place to win, Indy would be at the top of my list. This place pays a lot too, but the trophy would look good in my trophy case."

Indy Success:

"I like flat, fast racetracks. For whatever reason that just fits with my style of driving. We have come pretty close to winning three times at Indy. Plus, I' ve been pretty fortunate to have some good crew chiefs who made the right calls at the end of the race. James (Ince) gave me two tires on that final stop last year and that put me up there and we held on for third. When it comes down to the final laps it's nice to know you are going to get that kind of support out of the pits."

Weather Impact On Track:

"The weather has such an effect on the track. In the morning you can post some pretty good speeds but when the afternoon comes you slow down like you wouldn't believe. When evening comes you produce some pretty good times again. Why is that? I think it's because Indy is such a momentum race track that if you lose even just a little bit in the corners that shows down those long straight-aways. There are other tracks that are similar. But Indy is not a track where you can slip and slide very much because you can't make up that time. To run well at Indy you have to be right on the money."

Valvoline Informed Sources - Story Ideas

Winning On Dirt:

Justin Wells, of Crane, Mo is leading the IMCA Late Model National Points race driving a James Ince Motorsports built chassis. Ince, the #10 Valvoline Pontiac crew chief, has built eight dirt late model cars for racers across the country. The Rogersville, Mo business has 18 victories this season. For more information contact: 417-753-7500.

Our New House

#10 Valvoline Pontiac team moved into its new Featherlite race hauler on July 13. The team carries everything it needs on the hauler that crisscrosses the country going to race tracks.

What's the owner doing at testing?

At testing events, the car owner normally would be as ignored as a busboy at Hooters. Why are Valvoline representatives a key part of pre- and in-season testing for the No. 10 Valvoline Pontiac and No. 9 and 19 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/Ts? That's because Valvoline uses the Nascar Winston Cup tests to try out its new qualifying oils, gear oils, radiator wetter that go into the engines of Johnny Benson, Bill Elliott and Jeremy Mayfield.

Now Hear This and See This:

Johnny Benson audio is now available. If you would like a mp3 file of Johnny Benson previewing an upcoming race or talking about a specific subject please email me and I will send you the audio file of Benson. If you would like weekly pictures of the #10 team and Benson please email me and I will give you the pass code so you can download pics every Monday. Media only please.

The Business of Racing is Business:

Half of the stories written about Nascar Winston Cup racing are business related these days. Jim Rocco - Senior Vice President at the Valvoline Company - is one of the listed car owners of Johnny Benson's #10 Valvoline Pontiac and an excellent interview for stories dealing with team owners, sponsorship or economics of racing.

For Sale?

Want to know how much it costs to be on a Winston Cup racer? Valvoline has a color graphic in jpg form that gives rough costs estimates of every spot on a Winston Cup car.

Home Grown Racing

Valvoline as well as Benson and his Crew Chief James Ince value local racers across the country. Benson races a pavement late model and Ince owns and races with his dirt team in the Midwest. Valvoline supports local racers by giving money through a competition called the Valvoline Cup open to all American racers.

2002 Race Winner:

Bill Elliott, 125.033mph, started 2nd Race Record: Bobby Labonte, August 2000, 155.912mph Track/Race Length: 2.5 quad-oval, 160 laps, 400 miles Pit Road Speed: 55mph

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Bobby Labonte , Jeremy Mayfield , Johnny Benson