Phoenix: Johnny Benson preview

Benson's busy week all worth it. ...

Benson's busy week all worth it.

#10 Valvoline Pontiac driver Johnny Benson has enjoyed a very busy week after capturing his first career Nascar Winston Cup victory Sunday at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham. But he isn't complaining. Nor will he next week if he wins his second consecutive race when he takes the green flag at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday.

Benson has record of success at Phoenix with three top 10 finishes in six races. He also led 53 laps and finished fourth at New Hampshire in September, the last flat mile oval where the series raced. The Valvoline team tested at Phoenix on Oct. 29 & 30th.

Benson Notes:

* Benson became the 18th different race winner in 2002 and the fifth first-time race winner this season.

* Benson became the 18th driver to gain eligibility for 2003 running of The Winston based on a victory this season.

* Benson became the 14th first-time winner on the NASCAR Winston Cup Circuit since the 2000 Daytona 500. There were only 15 first-time winners in the entire 10-year period of the 1990s.

* Benson is the first driver over the age of 30 to win a NASCAR Winston Cup race in the last 11 races.

* Benson's victory at Rockingham was the first win for Pontiac other than by a Joe Gibbs Racing driver since Ward Burton won at Darlington in March 2000.

Johnny Benson On His Week After Victory:

"It's been real busy. I never realized there were so many interviews you had to do after you won a race. But it's a good kind of busy. I'm worn out and losing my voice but I'll talk myself horse if it means talking about winning. We have really had a lot of fun. I didn't sleep much Sunday night after partying with the guys at the shop. On Monday my kids wanted to take the Rockingham trophy to their school for show-and-tell but I told them they couldn't because I'm taking it to my television show for my show-and-tell.

"Between that and all the phone calls and messages on the answering machine and everybody coming up and offering congratulations it's been a fun week. We counted and only a couple of our guys in the shop had ever been to victory lane so a lot of guys are like me in experiencing winning a Winston Cup victory for the first time. It's an awesome feeling."

Benson On Phoenix:

"We plan to go out there and win our second race in a row. But I'm sure there are going to be 42 other guys out there who are planning on winning also. Walking into the garage at Phoenix knowing we have a win under our belt is going to be a pretty cool feeling. We tested there last week and thought we were pretty good. We ran good at Loudon where it was a flat mile like Phoenix so (Crew Chief) James (Ince) thinks we have a pretty good chance this weekend."

Benson On Ending The Winless Streak:

"One of the best parts of the deal is not getting asked about that again. I'm glad it's over. The way we look at it now we have the longest winning streak in the sport and that's pretty cool. Everyone has asked if winning the second race will be as hard as the first one and my response this week has been 'I sure as heck hope not because I don't have that much time.' "

Was Victory Lane As Fun As You Thought It Would Be?

"Absolutely. It was a long time in coming. We have talked the last few years about what we were going to do when we win and our plan was for all of our guys to hop over the wall and pick up the car and turn it over then spin it on its roof. But, Sunday they wouldn't let our guys over the wall so we just kind of resorted to doing the burnout thing which was a lot of fun and then I ran out of gas. Rockingham must have felt pretty good about us winning because I figured they might call us about tearing up their grass."


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ward Burton , Johnny Benson
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing