Johnny Benson Daytona preview

[Back in February, Johnny Benson and his Tyler Jet Motorsports teammates came to Daytona with a plain, white, unsponsored No. 10 Pontiac Grand Prix and little fanfare. There were few expectations placed on what was basically a new team. But...

[Back in February, Johnny Benson and his Tyler Jet Motorsports teammates came to Daytona with a plain, white, unsponsored No. 10 Pontiac Grand Prix and little fanfare. There were few expectations placed on what was basically a new team. But then the night before the Daytona 500, Benson's team picked up the promise of a primary sponsor, and then went on to lead 38 laps and challenge for a win in "The Great American Race."

After leaving Daytona, Benson continued to make waves, grabbing a sixth place finish at Las Vegas and then a runner-up finish at Bristol. The team has had a solid first half, and despite missing the race at Atlanta, still ranks 20th in the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings.

This week the team returned to Daytona, and looked to be on its way to duplicating its impressive Speed Weeks performance. Benson, who will start 20th in Saturday's Pepsi 400, ran among the top five during the entire Thursday practice session. But one of the biggest differences this week will be the look of the car. Instead of applying vinyl decals to the car the night before the race, the team will be removing them and returning to the plain, white, unsponsored scheme with which they started the year. The removal of those decals is slated for 5:30 p.m. today in the Tyler Jet garage stall at Daytona International Speedway.]

THOUGHTS FROM JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 TYLER JET MOTORSPORTS PONTIAC GRAND PRIX

(ON RUNNING UNSPONSORED IN SATURDAY'S RACE) "There's the good, old saying that 'Wider Is Better' with Pontiac. Now this team has its own saying that, 'whiter is better.' We're hoping that it is going to work out well. Right now we're a little disappointed with qualifying. But we think this race car is going to be very good for the race. We're just looking forward to running well on Saturday." (IS THE SPONSORSHIP SITUATION A DISTRACTION?) "I just drive the car. We're just going to keep on doing what we know how to do. James (Ince) and I are going to get in there and do our jobs, and try to get this thing back up front. If it all works out, it works out. If it doesn't, it's just the luck of Daytona." (WHY DOES THE TEAM RUN SO WELL DOWN HERE DESPITE THE LACK OF RESOURCES?) "I think it's about good people, and I think we've got good people right now. Obviously, the funding hasn't been as good as what we would have liked. But this has a lot more to do with people. These guys are focused on building fabulous race cars, and I enjoy being in them." (CAN THEY RUN IN THE FRONT SATURDAY?) "Yeah. I think the car is going to be very good. James Ince and all the guys working on this Tyler Jet Pontiac have been doing a great job. I'm pretty sure the car is going to run very good. We're looking forward to it. It's always the luck of the draw here. You just have to be in the right place at the right time and make it up through the draft. We'll be happy if we're up near the front at the end."

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Johnny Benson