Benson Sees $1 Million As The Icing On The Cake Of A Bigger Prize DETROIT, May 22, 2001 - Johnny Benson would become the first Pontiac Grand Prix driver ever to win the "No Bull 5" $1 million bonus should he win this weekend's NASCAR Winston Cup...
Benson Sees $1 Million As The Icing On The Cake Of A Bigger Prize
DETROIT, May 22, 2001 - Johnny Benson would become the first Pontiac Grand Prix driver ever to win the "No Bull 5" $1 million bonus should he win this weekend's NASCAR Winston Cup race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. While an extremely lucrative incentive, Benson's motivation is fueled more by the priceless reward of driving his Pontiac into victory lane.
Benson, who is fourth in the Winston Cup standings, has threatened to score his first career victory on several occasions during the past two seasons. He finished a career-best second twice during the 2000 season and has led four of the last nine races in 2001. For the year, Benson has two top-five and seven top-10 finishes, including a season-best third at Texas and a fourth at Las Vegas, which qualified him for the "No Bull 5" this Sunday in Charlotte.
Benson's career resurgence during the past two seasons has made him an integral part of Pontiac's "WideTrack Attack," which champions the excitement and unsurpassed handling and control of the Pontiac Grand Prix on the NASCAR circuit.
Thoughts From Johnny Benson, No. 10 Valvoline Pontiac Grand Prix
HAVE YOU THOUGHT MUCH ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF WINNING $1 MILLION THIS WEEKEND?
"Not a lot. People are like, 'What are you going to do if you win the million dollars?' I tell them, 'Look, you can't spend what you don't have.' I'm not worried about that end of it. We're approaching this race like any other race. We're going to go out and try to run the best that we can.
"It doesn't matter whether it pays $150,000, $200,000, $300,000 or $1 million. It's all about that trophy.
"We've been awfully good this year, but we haven't been able to get it fully done yet. It will be interesting. I believe we'll run good, but the main thing will be staying on the lead lap all night long and then worrying about the win when it comes down to it. That's what we're going to do. We're just going to try to keep this Pontiac comfortable, keep it good and then try to make it fast at the end and see where we end up."
HAS A BIG WINNER'S CHECK EVER MOTIVATED YOU AT ANY POINT IN YOUR RACING CAREER?
"I've never looked at it like that. As a racer, you're racing for the trophy. You're just trying to get the win and then you look at the paycheck later. A lot of people look at the paycheck first and then decide what they're going to do. I don't really look at that aspect. That's for the owners to worry about. I just go racing."
Thoughts From James Ince, Crew Chief, No. 10 Valvoline Pontiac Grand Prix
HOW MUCH ARE YOU MOTIVATED BY THE POTENTIAL $1 MILLION BONUS?
"It might change the car owners' perspective, it might change the general manager's perspective, but I don't think it's changed mine or Johnny's perspective at all. We just want to go win one of these races. That race is as important to us as Richmond was a couple weeks ago and as Dover will be the week after. We just want to win a race. The million dollars - sure, it's neat and it's great that Winston does it. But that is not our motivation. The way I'm approaching it is the same way that I have all year and always have here. It's a 600-mile race as opposed to a 500-mile race and we want to be there at the end. We believe we have the opportunity to win the race at this point, but there is no added pressure because of the money."
DOES THE EXTRA 100 MILES PLAY INTO YOUR TEAM'S FAVOR?
"I think so. I think that benefits us. I'm very comfortable with the preparation of our Pontiacs. I have no fear of mechanical failures. We've done very, very well with that - knock on wood. It seems like the longer a race runs, the better we get our race car. We're more in that program of making our car better all day long as we go. We're not a sprinting race team. We're a long-duration race team and I think that is positive for us."
ON THE NEW SPRING-RUBBER RULE
"There is no adjustability now. What they've done by taking away the spring rubber is asked us crew chiefs to be perfect and none of us in here are perfect. You'll never put one in during a pit stop and I'm afraid it's going to hurt the racing. Somebody is going to hit the setup perfect, drive off and the rest of us are going to be struggling.
"In the past the '600' has been a race where you start with spring rubbers in every corner of the race car. We're going to start in 90-degree weather in the sunshine and we're going to end up in 70-degree weather after dark. I'm not really sure what their (NASCAR's) thinking was on that. I'm a little bit baffled by it, but maybe in a few races we'll figure out why we're doing what we're doing."