Rockingham Johnny Benson Qualifying Report

Benson continues good qualifying at Rockingham By Shawn A. Akers ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (Oct. 30, 1998) North Carolina Speedway seems to be the place for Johnny Benson. At least for qualifying, that is. The driver of the No. 26 Cheerios...

Benson continues good qualifying at Rockingham By Shawn A. Akers

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (Oct. 30, 1998) North Carolina Speedway seems to be the place for Johnny Benson. At least for qualifying, that is. The driver of the No. 26 Cheerios Ford has now qualified in the top-10 in three of his six NASCAR Winston Cup races at Rockingham since entering the series in 1996, including a fast lap of 155.597 mph, which will put him on the outside of the front row for Sunday's AC/Delco 400, next to pole sitter Mark Martin, his Roush Racing teammate. Benson had only four previous top-10 qualifying efforts this season prior to Friday. The second-place starting position will his best in 1998. "The Cheerios Taurus ran good," Benson said. "The guys have built an awesome race car, there's no doubt about it. We knew we didn't have a shot for the pole. Mark was pretty fast. He ran about what we did earlier when we were fourth and he was like second or third (in practice) and running pretty good. There ain't no way of beating that, but second, we'll take it." Martin's qualifying lap of 156.502 mph was almost a tenth-and-a-half second faster than Benson's lap. The pole was Martin's 38th of his NASCAR Winston Cup career. In no way, however, did it tarnish Benson's qualifying effort. Benson went out after a car had put oil down on the track, and there was a delay in the proceedings. "It was a pretty good lap," Benson said of his qualifying effort. "I was pretty confident about that, but Mark just really put on a good lap. When somebody had problems with the oil, I thought, 'Oh man, we're toast.' I figured we'd be knocked out of the top-10, but that's a good lap. The guys got an awesome race car here and I'm pretty excited about that. It's just a matter of getting ready for the race now." Benson is coming off a ninth-place finish in last Sunday's Dura-Lube/Kmart 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. It was his 10th top-10 finish of the season, but only his third top- 10 effort in the last 13 races. Benson hasn't recorded a top-five finish since the seventh race of the season, when he finished fifth in the Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. In his five previous NASCAR Winston Cup races at North Carolina Speedway, he has never finished higher than 20th (his initial race in 1996). He has three top-10 finishes in the NASCAR Busch Series at the 1.017-mile oval.

Source: NASCAR Online

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Johnny Benson , Mark Martin