Loudon: Johnny Benson preview

Benson on NHIS paving, changes at Phoenix & Homestead The recent paving at New Hampshire International Speedway should be a hot topic this weekend as the NASCAR Winston Cup Series visits the flat mile oval. The paving in the lower lanes of the...

Benson on NHIS paving, changes at Phoenix & Homestead

The recent paving at New Hampshire International Speedway should be a hot topic this weekend as the NASCAR Winston Cup Series visits the flat mile oval. The paving in the lower lanes of the turns is designed to increase the longevity of the surface that has broken up in recent races.

New Hampshire joins Phoenix and Homestead as tracks where significant changes have been made to the track configuration or racing surface. The changes at these tracks will pose challenges for drivers and crew chiefs especially since most teams have already used up a significant portion of the five allotted tests for the season.

Before NHIS, the #10 Valvoline Pontiac team will test at Indianapolis on Monday and Tuesday.

On NHIS:

"It will be interesting to see what the changes are. They have made a lot of changes up there in the past and it always seems to end up being the same way each year. I think they are searching, just trying something different to see if they can't make it better than what it is. We will just have to see how it is when we get there. I think once we get the rubber on the track and get to running a while it will be the same old place."

What Changes Would You Make At NHIS?

"I'm not sure I want to be in charge of something like that. I don't know what I would do. I guess the only thing you can really do is put a little bit more banking in the track. They keep going through all this work making track changes and none of it has made much of a difference so I guess changing the banking would be my next idea. I think a couple of degrees, maybe five or six degrees would make a difference."

Changes at Phoenix and Homestead:

"I know why they want to change the tracks in New Hampshire and Homestead. The one that really baffles me is Phoenix. We have always had great races at Phoenix. I'm assuming they did that because of a different race series. I assume they didn't make the changes because of Winston Cup. Everyone seems to like Phoenix because it is different on both ends. That one kind of surprises me."

"As I said changing Homestead I understand. It's fast and flat. That is one of the few places where the groove starts to move down the track and you start to run out of racetrack. Before you know it you are in the grass. That makes passing real difficult there. So I can see why they would want to change the track."

Would Testing Help?

"We are half way through the year and most of our tests are used up so it is a problem. I hear that we are going in a day early to Homestead this year so we can test. At Loudon it is too late to go test so a lot of us are going to be in the same boat. I don't know about Phoenix."

Indy Test:

"Your goals are to do a good qualifying run and get it good and balanced with speed. The Indy test is important. It's such a huge race and you can learn a lot when you test there. The attitude of the car is so important for the race that you spend a lot of time working on that."

Valvoline Informed Sources - Story Ideas

Our New House

#10 Valvoline Pontiac team moved into its new Featherlite race hauler this weekend. The team carries everything it needs on the hauler that crissccrosses 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 wav file of Johnny Benson previewing an upcoming race or talking about a specific subject please email me and I will send you the wav 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.

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