Benson On Martinsville: ...
Benson On Martinsville:
#10 Valvoline Pontiac driver Johnny Benson doesn't hide his dislike for racing at Martinsville Speedway. The beating and banging needed to do well excites the fans, but doesn't fit with the driving style he learned driving the family-owned race car in Grand Rapids, Mich. But Benson has two top-six finishes in the last three races on the flat half-mile Virginia oval including the memorable second-place finish in October when he ran out of laps before he could pass Kurt Busch.
Benson On Liking Martinsville After Success:
"I don't think they have made any changes there have they? So my feelings are about the same. 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. But, second last year isn't too bad. If we keep running that good then eventually I guess I'll change my mind. We laugh on our truck, (Crew Chief) James (Ince) loves the place so he gets to call all the shots during the weekend."
Does A Driver Gain Confidence At Tracks?
"I don't know if you like a place better because you run well. It's always better when you get a good finish. That's our goal at any track we go to so whether the driver likes or dislikes a track it doesn't matter. You do your best and go on."
Last Fall's Race:
"We ended up second that race and it was one of those deals where you were happy for second but mad it wasn't first. It made it a little better that a few weeks later we were able to win Rockingham. A year later, looking back on that race, if I would have tried Kurt on the outside a little earlier it might have been different. Who knows? I could never get to him and you can't do anything if you aren't where you need to be on the track. 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."
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."