Talladega II: Johnny Benson preview

NASCAR is reducing the size of the cars' fuel cells for Sunday's Winston Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway. Its impact is unpredictable according to ...

NASCAR is reducing the size of the cars' fuel cells for Sunday's Winston Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway. Its impact is unpredictable according to #10 Valvoline Pontiac driver Johnny Benson.

Benson said there could be twice as many pit stops as normal. But if those stops are two, four or no tires will be determined by crew chiefs as the race proceeds. No matter what the result, Benson applauds Nascar for taking a step to break up the large packs that lead to multi-car accidents on the superspeedways.

Also this weekend, a version of the SAFER barrier installed earlier this year at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, is in place for Sunday's race. The track has installed the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction system on the inside retaining wall of its 2.66-mile oval, extending from the exit of Turn 4, along the main straightaway and trioval and into the first turn - a distance of about 3,000 feet.

Benson On Fuel Cell Rule Impact

"I think pit stops are important every race but this weekend they are going to be extremely important. There are a lot of questions. Will you do twice as many stops during the race? Are you going to come in and do gas only stops? Do you come in by yourself or in a group and how big of group do you want? It will also be interesting to see how long the field stays spread out before it gets back together. And that's all if it goes green.

"I don't think it will change the way we drive Talladega. I think it will be like it always is and that's leave the gas pedal on the floor all the way around the track and race.

"I'm glad they did this. It is something we need to try. Everybody wants a change of some sort and this is a good way to try something different that doesn't cost a ton of money for the race teams and won't ruin the show for the fans"

Will It Change Strategy?

"Everybody will probably look at it differently. I think all of us would like to be up front the whole race, but by the same token I was up front the last two races there and got taken out in wrecks. I don't think it matters where you are at at Talladega. You can be in a wreck anywhere on the track.

"I hope this fuel cell rule will give the drivers a chance to relax a little bit and maybe get the field spread out. Then it might not be so bad when later in the race you are running three and four wide. Again, I really don't know how this is going to work. I guess we will have to wait until after the race and see what the teams think and what the fans think."

Benson on SAFER Barrier:

"It's great that Indianapolis and Talladega have taken us to the next step in safety. As a driver I'm glad NASCAR is right there supporting them. This will help driver safety now and even more so in the future as more tracks use this technology. I think at some point every racetrack in the country if not the world will go to something like this. I'm sure cost is a factor but as this technology becomes more and more available in the future I think the cost will go down and we will be able to afford installing it at most places. I think everyone will look at this.

"NASCAR is going in the right direction. Between the head and neck systems, the data recorders in the cars and this new system, NASCAR racing has taken steps to toward safety that will also pay dividends in the future. You can never make this sport totally safe but we should work to make it safe as possible."

-mbvm-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Johnny Benson