Watkins Glen: Johnny Benson preview

Benson on Watkins Glen ...

Benson on Watkins Glen

#10 Valvoline Pontiac driver Johnny Benson knows he isn't going to be listed as one of the favorites for this weekend's road course race at Watkins Glen International Raceway on Sunday. In addition to the normal highly competitive fields, several teams will bring in road racing specialists to compete against the regular Winston Cup drivers.

Benson and his Crew Chief James Ince admit it puts then at a disadvantage but a very productive test session and the momentum from an impressive 13th-place run at Indy are on the Valvoline team's side this weekend.

Benson is no slouch on the road courses. He led ten laps at Sears Point -- the series only other road course race in 2003.

Johnny Benson on Watkins Glen Strategy:

"We think we have a lot of momentum after Indianapolis. A 13th-place finish isn't something you normally celebrate, but when you start from 40th at a tough place to pass like Indy and climb as high as we did you should feel pretty good. I'm not sure Watkins Glen would be the track we would pick if we want to continue with that momentum but we tested at Virginia International Raceway right after New Hampshire and we found some things that we think will work for this weekend. Everybody's eyes will be on all the road racers, so we'd like to sneak up on people and get a good finish."

Benson on Leading 10 Laps at Sears Point:

"That was a lot of fun. I'd trade all ten of those laps for leading the last lap on Sunday."

Benson on Watkins Glen Strategy:

"You absolutely have to take care of the transmission and stay on course at Watkins Glen. That's hard to do. But, if you do that all day long you will finish pretty good. Now, if you can do that and maintain track position then you have a shot to win. As soon as you can make it on gas and tires you'd like to pit even if it is under green. It takes so long to get around that track that there is really no way you can lose a lap even pitting under green. If a yellow come out and all the other guys have to pit then you move into the lead."

Benson on Road Course Ringers:

"Yeah it makes it tough on us regular drivers, but the guys they are bringing in are the best in the business so it is fun to match your skills against these guys. I'm not a road course racer and don't have the experience some of these guys have, but it doesn't mean I'm going to race the wheels of the car on Sunday."

"I think you can if you can stay with them. They have an advantage of knowing the racetrack. They have an advantage of knowing road course racing. It would be no different than if their series ever ran ovals and we came over and did that. We'd have an advantage. This weekend puts a lot of pressure on those guys because everyone thinks they are going to win."

Crew Chief James Ince On Difference Between Road Course Racing and Oval Racing:

"It's one hundred percent different. You are turning left and right so you have to think backwards to what we normally do when it comes to springs, wedge and track bar. It changes your whole thinking process. The road course car versus the oval car acts totally different. What we do normally never involves turning right."

Valvoline Informed Sources - Story Ideas

Attention Radio Broadcasters:

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 audio 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.

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 on July 13. 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.

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.

For Sale?

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.

Be part of something big

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Jeremy Mayfield , Johnny Benson