Michigan II: Johnny Benson preview

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#10 Valvoline Pontiac driver Johnny Benson returns to his home state of Michigan this weekend when the NASCAR Winston Cup Series races at Michigan Speedway on Sunday.

The Grand Rapids native is spending the week in Michigan before heading to the race track on Thursday night. Benson has finished in the top 8 in four of the last six races at Michigan International Speedway.

Johnny Benson on Michigan Return:

"We don't have a whole lot of plans. We are going straight to Michigan after Watkins Glen. The girls and Debbie and I are going on a mini-vacation in the days leading up to the race."

Benson on Michigan's Importance:

"All of our races are pretty important, but Michigan Speedway is pretty important to me because it is in my home state. Also, because we have run there well in the past. It's a place where you have an opportunity to pass if your car is running good.

"What I like most about Michigan Speedway is that it becomes a two or three groove track immediately after the green flag drops which gives the driver a ton of options when you race there."

Benson on Michigan's Pressure:

"I don't think there is any extra pressure on me racing at home. You know you hear guys say all the time they want to do really well at their home track. Heck, I want to do well at every track where we race. I don't know if going home to race gives you any extra--but it does let you know that you have a lot of great fans there rooting for you.

A win would be big. Whether it is at Rockingham where we won our first race or Michigan, Daytona or Indy would all be big. No doubt, Michigan is in my top five of places I want to do well."

Benson on Secret To Michigan Success:

"You have to have a lot of momentum and that means getting through the center of the corner there. That makes you fast coming off the corner and getting down the long straight-aways. It takes horsepower and handling to do well there. And, man it's fast. A lot faster than most everybody realizes."

Benson on Season So Far:

"No, we aren't happy how we are running this season. The last five of six races of last year we were as good as anyone. We felt we would be right there banging on the door. A lot of it is the new body style and the new rules. We are further behind than we would like to be but we are moving forward trying to get better and better all the time. A lot of teams are in our boat. But I'm confident we will get better. This is a tough business and it gets tougher every day."

Valvoline Informed Sources - Story Ideas

On Fire

Monday through Saturday Jimmy Watts is a captain with the Charlotte Fire Department. On Sunday he goes over pit wall just inches away from 43 swarming cars to gas Johnny Benson's #10 Valvoline Pontiac. Watts helped pull Benson out of his car at Talladega last year and is a good authority on firefighting techniques in racing.

Attention Radio Broadcasters:

Johnny Benson audio is now available. If you would like a MP3 file of Johnny Benson previewing an upcoming race or talking about a specific subject please email me and I will send you the audio 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.

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.

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.

Be part of something big

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