Martinsville II: Johnny Benson press conference

JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 VALVOLINE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: YOU LOOK LIKE YOU COULD RUN 500 MORE LAPS. RIGHT NOW... "I would have liked for there to have been 10 more, but that doesn't matter. We ended up second. I did everything I could to get ...

JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 VALVOLINE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:

YOU LOOK LIKE YOU COULD RUN 500 MORE LAPS. RIGHT NOW...

"I would have liked for there to have been 10 more, but that doesn't matter. We ended up second. I did everything I could to get around Kurt - even bumped him once. But, it wasn't enough - he just got a little out of shape and I just couldn't do anything with it. He ran a clean race and I thought we did. We just kept working hard, trying to get up there. I think if I was in front of him we'd have been a little bit better. But, with him in front of us, he was pretty good, too. So, I think how we were going to be situated is how we were going to end up."

YOUR FAVORITE LINE AT THE END LOOKED LIKE IT WAS THE SECOND GROOVE...

"I think both grooves were good, but I felt like the bottom groove was hurting the tires, so I just stayed up there and tried to save the tires a little bit and see if I could do something at the end. I saw Kurt was running down a little bit lower and I was hoping that he was going to hurt his tires. It looked like he did and I was able to catch up with him. I just couldn't pass him. I needed a lot more time without lapped traffic. I think maybe I could've done something, but lapped traffic was there and that's tough for him and me to get through and try to race. All you can do is follow at that point in time. I didn't have very many laps to try to deal with it. Kurt did a great job. Their team did. The Valvoline Pontiac - James Ince and all the guys - I thought did a great job, too.

"I was a little too tight at the beginning of the runs, but I was pretty good in the long runs, so I really needed that go green from 100 laps on. I think we'd have been in a little better shape. But, I'm not going to complain about second. Second is a good day for us."

ON FINISHING SECOND AT MARTINSVILLE

"James likes this place and I don't. I have a hard time with it. I've been a little inconsistent, so I'm real happy with the run we had today. This place is pretty tough. And, with the track changes, I think it maybe made the outside a little bit better. But, it still gave you an opportunity on new tires to go down to the bottom.

"As we came into the weekend, I don't think anybody was really happy about it (the changes made to the track). But, I think at the end of the race here most people should be pleased with it. It was slick down on the bottom, but as times goes, maybe it will get better.

"I'm looking forward to coming back if we can run that good. I'm not going to move it up a notch. But, it's a tough place to get around. Like I say, I've just been a little inconsistent, but today we had a good run, so we're going to be happy with that."

WITH TWO LAPS TO GO, DO THE RULES OF SPORTSMANSHIP CHANGE?

"That's what it's been the last couple years that I've watched. I'm not going to wreck a guy. I tried to move him out of the way and that was about it. But, I'm seen some guys wreck some guys. I think the thing is is that they do it with five to go because it takes them five laps to black-flag you.

"I don't know if that is the best way to do it. I raced him hard - a little bump here and there. I've seen him do it, so you kind of race the same way. He did a great job."

CONSIDERING WHAT HAPPENED AT BRISTOL, DO YOU WISH YOU HAD HIT KURT A LITTLE HARDER COMING OFF OF TWO?

"No, I don't wish I had hit him any harder. That was about all you could do without getting a guy real upset. I don't think he was upset with that. Like I said, I've seen him do just as much.

"I was just trying to let him break traction. I didn't hit him real hard. But, I couldn't do anything with it anyway. He was pretty good and I think we were pretty good. It's getting so competitive. When these cars are pretty equal you can't do anything with them."

DID YOU NOTICE THE GROOVE WIDENING AS THE RACE WENT ON?

"I think the upper groove has worked in the past. It's just that the bottom has always been the preferred groove and you're going to stay down there. Today it looked like you could get up and move up on the top there a little bit and be able to hold your own. The inside guy, it looked like he had to fight real hard to get by you. It looked like he would start spinning tires and overheating them, and then he had to slow down and get up behind you again. I was OK with them getting underneath me. I wasn't OK with them getting on the outside of you.

"The newer your tires were the better the bottom was. The older your tires were the better the top was."

WOULD KURT HAVE HAD JUST AS MUCH TROUBLE GETTING BY YOU IF YOU HAD BEEN IN FRONT?

"I think if I was in front of him, I think we would have been able to pull away a little bit because he got away a little bit in traffic, and once we got open, I caught right back up. So, I believe we were a tad bit quicker, but he won the race and that's usually how it works.

"I worked hard and tried to do what I could. Like I said, those guys did a great job. I can't take anything away from those guys. They did great."

IS AERO PUSH A FACTOR AT THESE SMALL TRACKS?

"I don't think so. I'm not going to complain about an aero push here. Aero does matter here - yeah. But, it's not as critical as what you see on the big tracks. You can still wrestle the car around a little bit. That's all you can ask for. As long as you can get it turned and wrestle it around, you're OK. Aero is important, but I don't think it had an effect on us today."

-pontiac-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Johnny Benson