Long Pond: Johnny Benson returns


#10 Valvoline Pontiac driver Johnny Benson and his teammates will test both their road course car and Benson's health on Tuesday at the Virginia International Raceway. After the road course test the team will go to Pocono International Raceway where Benson makes his return to the NASCAR Winston Cup Circuit.

Benson has not raced since he sustained one broken and two cracked ribs in a May 3 Busch Series race at Richmond International Raceway.

Benson said he feels better everyday and has no doubts he'll be able to race the full 500 miles at Pocono. Jerry Nadeau substituted for Benson during his recovery posting a 28th place finish at Charlotte and a 27th-place finish at Dover.

Benson Notes:

* Benson led 8 laps at Pocono last race.

* Benson has led in 4 of his 12 career races at Pocono.

Are You Excited About Returning At Pocono?

"Absolutely, I'm excited to come back. Three weeks is a little too long just to sit and watch. I don't know if I will try any harder at Pocono. You always run as hard as you can and this weekend at Pocono will be no different. The recovery has been tough because not only have I missed racing but I haven't been able to work out a lot. I'm sure, because of the ribs. they are going to probably make Pocono a little bit tiring, but I don't think it will be that bad. Pocono is a good track to go to. You get a little bit of time to rest on the straight-aways so I think we will be in good shape."

Why Test A Road Course Before Pocono?

"The reason we are going to VIR is to test the road course car for Sears Point not to test me. We've had this test on the schedule for a while and decided not to take it off. Sure, it will be good exercise for me. Ill need to see what areas I need work on regarding the seat and stuff like that. I don't foresee running VIR to be too big of a problem. We just got to get in there and go. It will be demanding to start with but that's OK."

Will You Forget About The Ribs When You Start The Engine?

"I think it depends on the circumstance. I know with past injuries you immediately forget about what is hurting as soon as the engine fires. This is the first time that I have ever had to sit out races, but I don't foresee it being a real big deal. When the engine starts your mind takes over and you focus 100 percent on racing and nothing else. That's why you hear drivers sometimes say that racing is the best therapy there for getting over an injury. I hope that is true in Pocono as well."

What Did You Learn While Sitting On The Pit Box?

"I learned some things. And it was good to get a different perspective on the race. I got a better idea of how the pit stops go and things like that. I have never stood on that side of the pit wall and that was interesting. I'd still rather be on the other side. Ill tell you I was sitting on the box at Charlotte and looked up in the sky and saw two helicopters and five airplanes hovering above our heads. I was thinking this is scarier than being on the track itself."


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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jerry Nadeau , Johnny Benson