#10 Valvoline Pontiac driver Johnny Benson isn't a political person. But he does have a favorite governor.
It's the governor of New Hampshire where the NASCAR Winston Cup Series races this weekend. The race at New Hampshire International Speedway is the state's largest sporting event.
Why does a Michigan native and North Carolina resident favor the New Hampshire Governor?
It's all in the name.
New Hampshire Governor Craig Benson is in his first term as leader of the Granite State. He and Johnny Benson met in driver introductions when NASCAR raced at Loudon in July.
Benson hopes he can put on as good a show for Governor Benson this year as he did last year at NHIS when he led 53 laps. He was leading Ryan Newman by a few seconds on lap 140 with rain closing in when Newman's teammate Rusty Wallace, who was a lap down, hit Benson sending the Valvoline Pontiac into a slide and allowing Newman to take the lead and eventually win the race. Benson finished fourth.
Benson On Favorite Governor:
"Yeah we have had a lot of fun with that. Last year when he was running for governor there were tons of "Benson For Governor" signs all over the place. Fans were coming up giving me signs and asking me if it is me they are talking about. I think we had a banner in our pit box.
I don't know him really. When we were going through driver introductions at the last race they were all teasing me about meeting him. We spoke and joked about the names. He seems like a nice man. I'm sure he isn't any relation. But the Benson name isn't too common. It's kind of cool thing. If we win at New Hampshire then maybe I'll move to New Hampshire and vote for him."
"I have no desire to ever get near politics. I admire the folks that do that, but that just isn't for me. I don't know if Governor Benson ever wanted to drive a race car. We'd let him try if he wanted to. You know our Governor in North Carolina took a few laps around Lowes Motor Speedway in May and hit the wall pretty good. It was a pretty hard hit. So I think we'll keep the politicians in politics and keep the racers in race cars."
"I like the track. We had a really good run here last year and kind of got messed up by the team cars. We had the fastest car that day, but that's the way it is sometimes. I don't know if the race this year will be any different. The SAFER barrier is an improvement and NASCAR and the Bahre family deserve a lot of credit for getting them in place. I think you will see a pretty good race.