Benson: "Can't Leave Best Horse Sitting In Barn" at Pocono ...
Benson: "Can't Leave Best Horse Sitting In Barn" at Pocono
#10 Valvoline Pontiac driver Johnny Benson spent July 14, 15 and 16 testing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway not just in preparation for the Aug. 2 Brickyard 400, but for this weekend's 500-mile NASCAR Winston Cup race in Pocono, Pa.
Both Pocono and Indy are flat 2.5-mile tracks with long sweeping turns. The common wisdom in the sport is those that run well at Pocono will also run well at Indy.
Benson particularly likes one of the two new cars the team unveiled at the Indy test. Not only will that new car race at Indy, but because of the similarities of both Indy and Pocono, Benson will race the car on Sunday.
Is Pocono a Heat Race For Indy?
"No. Pocono is Pocono. It's a race on the NASCAR Winston Cup schedule. That's big enough for me. There are only a finite number of those races so you have to take each one of them pretty seriously. Sure the Brickyard is a big race, but Pocono isn't a small race. We will take a victory wherever we can and we'd love to win Pocono this weekend and worry about Indy next weekend."
How Similar Are Indy and Pocono:
"Pocono and Indy have a lot of similarities at certain parts of the tracks. I believe that if you have a good car at Pocono you will have a good car at Indy. We tested Indy and we decided to take that car to Pocono. If it works out good there we will take that car to Indy after that."
Shouldn't You Save That Car?
"I think if you have a car that is good for Indy then you should take it for Pocono. You can't leave you best horse sitting in the barn. You bring it to the track and race it no matter where you are. We tested two new cars at Indy. One I really liked. Since we knew it would run good at Indy we decided to take it to Pocono."
"If you save your car for Indy you don't know what could happen. You can go to Indy and wreck on the first lap and then you would say "man, I really wish I had this car at Pocono." You would have then wasted two races instead of one. I think you have to bring your best. If you have two good cars I could see maybe running each at Indy and Pocono but with one good car you have to race it. You never know what can happen."
Do You Ever Experiment at Pocono:
"No, you don't want to experiment. But you might not do the same things you did when we were here in June. We will bring a different car, might try some shifting changes, and might try a few other things. We didn't run as well as we wanted to last time so we are going to do our best to make sure we run better this race."
Valvoline Informed Sources - Story Ideas
The Valvoline team raced at Chicagoland on July 13 then travelled to Indianapolis that night for what rain turned into a three-day test session on July 14,15 and 16. While the team hauler went from Indy directly to New Hampshire the team flew home on the night of the 16th then left for New Hampshire on July 17. After racing there July 20th the team flew home that night then left for Virginia International Raceway on July 21 for a two-day test. The team plans to leave Thursday for Pocono.
Winning On Dirt:
Justin Wells, of Crane, Mo is leading the IMCA Late Model National Points race driving a James Ince Motorsports built chassis. Ince, the #10 Valvoline Pontiac crew chief, has built eight dirt late model cars for racers across the country. The Rogersville, Mo business has 18 victories this season. For more information contact: 417-753-7500.
Our New House
#10 Valvoline Pontiac team moved into its new Featherlite race hauler this weekend. The team carries everything it needs on the hauler that crisscrosses the country going to race tracks.
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.
Now Hear This and See This:
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 wav 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.
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.
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.