Martinsville II: Johnny Benson preview

Benson On Martinsville: ...

Benson On Martinsville:

#10 Valvoline Pontiac driver Johnny Benson wouldn't change a thing if he had to do last October's Martinsville NASCAR Winston Cup race all over again. But, that doesn't mean he hasn't thought about it.

Benson finished second at Martinsville last fall. In the final few laps he chose to race leader and eventual winner Kurt Busch instead of wrecking Busch. The 2003 season has seen several examples of rough driving where roughing up the car you are passing is almost the norm. Two weeks after finishing second to Busch at Martinsville, Benson earned his first career victory at Rockingham.

Sunday's race should prove to be just as interesting. With no racing back to the yellow, and NASCAR's new rule limiting only the top running car a lap down to get back on the lead lap at each caution should make for some interesting racing.

Benson on Martinsville Last Year

"You know at the end of the race I thought I had some opportunities where I thought I would be quick enough to get by Kurt but we just ran out of laps. At the time I didn't want to run in to him, hit him or spin him out. But, you know looking back with all the stuff that has happened this year with people taking each other out for the lead, and how knocking each other out of the way is accepted; I say to myself 'Man, I wish I could go back and relive all that.' But the more I think about it the more I think I still did it right and we waited to Rockingham to win the race clean. I'll just live with that.

"If I would have tried Kurt on the outside a little earlier it might have been different. Who knows? If there were 10 or 15 laps left in the race it might have been different. I did everything I knew how to do. We raced clean and he finished first. Like I said maybe another ten or fifteen laps and things might have been different."

Benson on Martinsville This Year

"Martinsville has always been a fun place to race but going back there with all the beating and banging with the new rules that says you can't race back to the start finish line will make it really interesting to see how it unfolds. No matter what rules you create, Martinsville will always be about beating, banging and bumping and this weekend will probably be not different."

Benson On Liking Martinsville After Success:

"It's still a place I don't particularly care for but it is a bit better. They cut the track on the inside and that made it a little better to race with. Before they did that, all of us just raced on the bottom and knocked whoever was in front of you out of the way. Now once the race gets going you can kind of use two grooves there. I mean I love watch the races there and if I were a fan I'd buy a ticket. It's just my driving style doesn't really go with Martinsville. When I was growing up we had to pay for everything we wrecked so wrecking a race car meant you had a lighter wallet."

Key To Martinsville Success:

"Wish I knew. I guess it's not to tear your car up and stay on the lead lap so you can get yourself in position at the end. You also have to listen to your crew chief. The driver spends a lot of time starting at the bumpers in front of him. The Crew Chief knows what's going on. If he says pit I pit and if he says stay out I stay out."


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kurt Busch , Johnny Benson