Martinsville Speedway - Johnny Benson profile

Benson headed to Martinsville Speedway armed with confidence MARTINSVILLE, VA. (March 25,2002) -- Johnny Benson admits Martinsville Speedway is a difficult and trying place for him to visit. On the other hand, his crew chief James Ince has a ...

Benson headed to Martinsville Speedway armed with confidence

MARTINSVILLE, VA. (March 25,2002) -- Johnny Benson admits Martinsville Speedway is a difficult and trying place for him to visit. On the other hand, his crew chief James Ince has a special feeling for the difficult .526-mile oval.

The result was a career-best sixth for Benson at Martinsville in the Old Dominion 500 last fall. And now he and the Valvoline team have a war-wagon full of confidence as they head back to town for the April 14th running of the Virginia 500

"James Ince brought a car (to Martinsville last fall) that was unlike anything we had ever brought to Martinsville before," Benson recalled. "Martinsville is the hardest track for me. I struggle there more than anything.

"But the weird thing is, James loves it. So I relied on him all weekend and he came through. Sixth is pretty good. Can we do better? I hope so. I have all the confidence in the world in our Valvoline guys getting up even higher this time."

Benson grew up racing on the short tracks of the Midwest, many of them half miles. But nothing early in his career prepared him for Martinsville.

"It's not the typical half-mile race track to say the least," Benson said of Martinsville Speedway. "It's flatter than most and you don't have the traffic at other places like you do at Martinsville." Benson's Pontiac has been strong most of the 2002 season, but he's gotten caught up in mishap after mishap, like Sunday's run into with points leader Sterling Marlin. But despite the slow start, Benson believes his team isn't far from its first victory.

"Everyone from Valvoline to our fans knows we are going to win and wants us to win. There's no pressure, but it's going to be one heck of a party when we do win," said Benson, who had three third-place finishes last year and a pair of seconds in 2000.

Action kicks off at Martinsville Speedway on Friday, April 12 with MW Windows Pole Day. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competitors will time trial for the Advance Auto Parts 250 at 1:30 p.m. while qualifying for the Virginia 500 is set for 3 p.m. Tickets for qualifying are $15 for adults and children under 12 get in free.

The Craftsman Truck Series racing action begins at 2 p.m. on April 13 when the green flag waves on the Advance Auto Parts 250. Tickets for the Advance Auto Parts 250 Craftsman Truck race are $30 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12. All seats are unreserved.

There still are great seats available for the Virginia 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race for $40-$70 each. To purchase tickets call the speedway ticket office toll free at 877-722-3849 or online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Sterling Marlin , Johnny Benson