Valvoline weekly news 2001-03-12

Johnny Benson is third in the Winston Cup point standings following his third consecutive top-seven finish in the Valvoline co-owned and sponsored No. 10 Pontiac last Sunday at Atlanta. That's Benson's highest ranking in his six-year Winston...

Johnny Benson is third in the Winston Cup point standings following his third consecutive top-seven finish in the Valvoline co-owned and sponsored No. 10 Pontiac last Sunday at Atlanta. That's Benson's highest ranking in his six-year Winston Cup career. Benson's seventh at Atlanta follows a fourth place at Las Vegas and a sixth-place result at Rockingham.

NASCAR: Valvoline's $1 Million BBBSA 'Challenge'

Valvoline will donate $1 million to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America if Valvoline Pontiac driver Johnny Benson wins the pole and race on the same weekend for any of this season's remaining NASCAR Winston Cup events.

Lynn Swann, recently elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and a BBBSA Board member, made the announcement March 9 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The $1 million pledge is one part of Valvoline's "Caring Hands" national partnership with BBBSA, formed in 1999 to raise money for school-based mentoring programs and recruit new volunteer mentors. The program has raised more than $550,000 during the last two years.

Benson has been named the new national spokesman for the Caring Hands program as well as an honorary Big Brother. Valvoline also will donate to BBBSA throughout the Winston Cup season, based on Benson's on-track results: $5,000 for a race win; $2,500 per pole position; $1,000 for a top-10 finish; $500 for a top-20 finish; and $20 for each lap led. In addition, Valvoline pledges to donate $100,000 to Big Brothers Big

Sisters if race fans and the general public submit 100,000 handprints to Valvoline by the end of the racing season. Fans can submit a trace of their handprint to Valvoline via fax (859) 357-2686, E-mail, U.S. Mail (P.O. Box 13458 Lexington, KY 40583-3458) or online at, as well as at any Valvoline Instant Oil Changes, Big Brothers Big Sisters community events and participating automotive retail outlets.

"We've made a lot of exciting changes prior to this season, including becoming the first consumer products company in history to co-own a Winston Cup team, but one thing that has not changed is our alliance with BBBSA," said James V. Rocco, senior vice president of Valvoline and director of Valvoline's racing program. "By naming Johnny Benson national spokesperson for the Caring Hands program, weve got a leader who shares the same values of both The Valvoline Co. and the BBBSA organization.

Swann added: "In 1999, we started the Caring Hands initiative at Daytona with a $50,000 seed from Valvoline and the program has taken off in terms of awareness and financial support thanks to NASCAR fans and volunteer mentors."

The BBBSA logo will appear on Benson's No. 10 Valvoline Pontiac for the remainder of the season.

Also: Johnny Benson's car will carry its first special graphic design of the season in the Food City 500 at Bristol on March 25. Valvoline's Max-Life oil, specially designed for high-mileage engines, will be featured on the No. 10 Pontiac.

NHRA: Hines Changes Body Style, In More Ways than 1

After three consecutive NHRA Winston Pro Stock Motorcycle championships from 1997-1999, Eagle One Suzuki rider Matt Hines finished second in points last year. Hines, 28, admits that has "sparked a little more fire in me" going into this weekend's (March 16-18) Mac Tools Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., the season opener for drag racing's bike class. In an attempt to reclaim the crown from Angelle Savoie (formerly Angelle Seeling), Hines has changed body style, in more ways that one. On a personal level, he's lost 10 pounds during the off-season -- dropping to 165 pounds -- and has reverted to the Suzuki GSX-R 1100 bodywork he used during previous title runs, albeit in a new Eagle One graphics and color design. "Everything in Pro Stock bikes right now is weight and horsepower," the resident of Trinidad, Colo., explained. "I've been watching what I eat and also working late" in the Freedom Motorsports shop. Hines knows some of his competitors will be running the Suzuki Hyabusa body introduced last season, but the winner of 26 events feels there are some potential disadvantages to that style. As for horsepower -- Hines says it could be up as much as 20 over last year to 320 -- Matt cites new cylinder heads, which his team makes for customers as well as Hines' own engines. NHRA Extra: New Colors for Russell, Krisher and Hines

"If it looks fast, it runs fast," is one of the oldest adages in racing. Darrell Russell, Ron Krisher and Matt Hines will put it to the test in this weekend's Mac Tools Gatornationals, when all three will debut new color designs. Russell, the Top Fuel points leader after a win at Pomona and second at Firebird, will have a red, orange and black graphic creation on the Joe Amato-owned Valvoline/Keystone dragster. The Eagle One car care products-sponsored Pro Stock Chevrolet Cavalier of Krisher and the Pro Stock Motorcycle Suzuki of Hines will feature Eagle One's new look. After Gainesville, the trio head right to Texas for the following weekend's (March 23-25) O'Reilly Nationals in Houston. For Russell, whose residence is in Hockley, Tex., that will be his "home" race.

SCCA: Simo Opens Trans-Am Title Defense

Brian Simo is doing two untraditional things as he begins defense of his Trans-Am title Friday (March 16) at Sebring. First, Simo passed on carrying the usual champion's No. 1 on his Tommy Bahama Valvoline Mangusta, opting for the same No. 88 used during last year's title run. Second, he has now joined forces with former series titlist Tom Gloy, new owner of Simo's team. Gloy returns to Trans-Am competition after a three-year absence.

-Valvoline Racing

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Drivers Matt Hines , Joe Amato , Ron Krisher , Johnny Benson , Brian Simo , Tom Gloy