Kansas City: Johnny Benson preview

Kansas Weekend Is Another Busy Weekend For Benson On Track And Off Track He Says Fans Should See Better Show, Second Groove Will Create Better Racing ...

Kansas Weekend Is Another Busy Weekend For Benson On Track And Off Track He Says Fans Should See Better Show, Second Groove Will Create Better Racing

#10 Valvoline Pontiac driver Johnny Benson started sixth and was closing in on leader Rusty Wallace during last year's inaugural race at Kansas Speedway when a mechanical problem ended his day on lap 184 leaving him with a 37th-place finish.

He hopes he can repeat that performance this weekend minus the mechanical problems of course. But no matter how his Valvoline Pontiac runs he predicts local race fans who choose to come to the race instead of the NFL game on Sunday in Kansas City will enjoy a race even better than last year's because of the second groove he expects to come in on the new track.

Most race fans know of Benson's duties on the track, but he and almost all Nascar Winston Cup drivers keep a busy schedule each weekend off the track as well. This weekend in Kansas is typical for Benson who makes frequent appearances for his main owner/sponsor Valvoline and manufacturer Pontiac.

Johnny Benson On The Weekend Schedules:

"That's the thing most don't realize about Winston Cup racing. It's more than racing. It's about taking care of your sponsors and fans. They are the ones that pay the bills that allow all of us to do what we love to do. Without them who knows where all of us would be. You have to be good on the track in this sport, but you have to be good off the track as well. I don't mind doing all that stuff. If you make it fun then it isn't a big deal. But if you aren't having a good time meeting the fans and talking to sponsors then you aren't going to enjoy your job."

On Kansas Speedway:

"We really hope the race goes about the way it did last year except maybe we can avoid the mechanical failure we had there last year. As for the fans, we should put on a better race this time. I've heard from the guys who tested there that there is a lot less grip on the track. That's good. That means there should be a second groove and it means that we can race side-by-side more. Plus it makes it more of a challenge for the teams. Now car setup and the driver become more important. Last year just about anyone could go through the turns down low because the track had so much grip. This year you are going to have to have your car working better if you want to do well."

Why The Success At Kansas Speedway Last Season?

"It's the type of track I like and (Crew Chief) James (Ince) gave us a really good setup. James is from Springfield, Missouri which isn't that far from Kansas Speedway so maybe all of us were a little bit more motivated last year to do well in front of James's family and friends. We are taking one of my favorite cars this weekend so we should have a pretty good weekend. We know we have a lot of support in Kansas."

Kansas Fans:

"Fans all over the country are great. But, going to a new track kind of creates even more enthusiasm and we saw that there last year. I'm sure they will be the same way this year. I know the Kansas City Chiefs are playing at the same time as we race on Sunday so it will be interesting to see how both crowds are. I'm a racing fan no matter what so if I had a choice it would be going to the race. I guess it is just your preference. But to get a chance to watch Nascar that only comes to town once a year is something you shouldn't miss."


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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Rusty Wallace , Johnny Benson