JOHNNY BENSON, No. 23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota Tundra, Bill Davis Racing Finished: 1st How excited are you to get the win at Martinsville today? "That was pretty cool. I don't know what to say. Trip Bruce (crew chief) and...
No. 23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota Tundra, Bill Davis Racing
How excited are you to get the win at Martinsville today?
"That was pretty cool. I don't know what to say. Trip Bruce (crew chief) and those guys did a great job and week in and week out they always build me great trucks to go race with. I've got to thank Toyota Certified Used vehicles and Exide Batteries and of course Toyota for everything that they do, TRD, just everyone involved. I learned a lot today. Probably more from the 24 (Jeff Gordon) today sitting down in one and two during our three hours worth of sitting around waiting for the race to start. So I sat down there and watched (NSCS practice) for a bit. I watched a bunch of different lines down there and Trip (Bruce) gave me a good truck no doubt, but just a couple of different lines down there really worked out great. I love Martinsville. I don't like sometimes how it races here but it's cool to be in victory lane here, I can tell you that."
Was the planned four-tire pit stop the difference for you today?
"We came in the same time they did so our fuel aspect was about the same but I knew that with the different plate that we got that nobody else has got it uses more fuel and I was really having to be easy on the gas. Our Tundra cornered so good. It was just unbelievable. That's where it made all the time up was through corners and then right at the end I was starting to peddle a little bit when I had that lead and then of course I saw -- I don't know what happened to Ron (Hornaday Jr.). I don't know if he ran out of fuel or what he did but the minute I saw that I just assumed it was fuel I let right off the gas and just half throttled the last two laps. I saw Kevin (Harvick) coming but I figured he'd probably be close too and in the same boat. I'm pretty sure we were out and I wasn't going to go around and do a victory lap because I'm sure we're out, too."
What was your strategy the final time you took the lead?
"That was pretty exciting there a couple of times when we were battling for the lead there -- both myself and Ron (Hornaday Jr.), but we had a great battle. It was pretty cool. I knew Ron was having a little problem braking and getting into the corner. I'd see him locking up the left front (tire) every once and a while. So I knew if I got beside him I'd run him hard enough that hopefully he had locked it up and I think that's really what happened and I was able to get by. Trip Bruce (crew chief) and the guys week in and week out build me great, great trucks to drive and it's a pleasure to be able to drive them. Hopefully the fans saw a great race. It was cool for us. I can at least attest to that. We've got great fans throughout all of the country and of course here in Martinsville. It's one of those tracks that has got such a rich history so it's cool to get in victory lane here."
How great is it for you to win here at Martinsville after a disappointing finish in the spring?
"We weren't going to win it in the spring, but second was looking pretty good. It's one of those deals where you wish you could go back, but you wish you could do that for every race that you go through except for the one's that you won. It was very cool to be in victory lane here -- I've run second a few times here, both in Cup cars and of course in the trucks here too. It was really cool to get into victory lane. This track's got such a rich history for it's many years and I've always kind of complained a little bit about how people race here, but it's definitely a neat place to come. I think the fans see a fairly decent race and I was hoping this truck race was pretty good for them. It's very cool to be in victory lane for sure."
Are you happy to regain the points lead?
"It could turn the other way. We were 119 (points) ahead not too long ago. We had some misfortune with a tire problem at Vegas. That caught up pretty quick. Ron (Hornaday Jr.) and those guys have been doing a tremendous job and our guys have too so it's making it a very interesting points chase anyway. It's great. I want to thank Goodyear. They had a great tire here."
How good was your race truck today?
"Trip Bruce (crew chief) and the guys gave me a good truck. To run well in qualifying was a big key. I don't think I've ever qualified better than 16th here in the trucks so we were pretty excited to be able to start fifth and be able to see the front at the start of the race. I think that was probably key for us -- our truck was good, but it's so hard to pass. The top-three, four, five people -- all the way there except for the running out of fuel aspect of it -- that's where everybody was going to finish. That shows you how tough it is to pass here. We did our pit strategy that we were looking at doing and that was coming in anywhere from lap-30 to lap-70 depending on how the cautions flew. We came in and got four tires and the old Sunoco fuel and move on. It was something that we didn't expect some of the guys to now put any tires on -- that kind of threw us for a loop there. We fell from third back to fifth or sixth, but we were able to get them back pretty quick. Dennis (Setzer) runs around here pretty good so we followed him for a while. Kevin (Harvick) runs really good here too and he wasn't going to give me the bottom so I went to the outside and I was impressed that it remotely worked. There was no doubt that he wasn't going to give us the bottom so we tried the top and got by. Then I was able to get by Ron (Hornaday) on the bottom, but we did have a pretty good race earlier on when I got alongside of him, but I wasn't able to complete the pass. He was doing pretty good at that point in time. I don't know if he was getting loose or tight -- he was doing a little bit of both and our truck stayed pretty consistent most of the race and we were able to get by him with about 40 or 50 to go. It still wasn't easy, but it sure was nice not to see anything in front of you."
How much of a difference did the tires have on today's race?
"We saw some wear in practice this morning, but we were the first ones on the track. We didn't have any rubber in there so we knew it was going to be tough. Goodyear brought a great tire and you could run all 200 laps on it, but just how much were you going to fall off at the end? That may have been the difference, but it may not have. I don't know -- I watched a lot of the Cup practice and saw a lot of the guys put new tires on there and run really fast for about eight laps and then they would all run about the same as they were. I didn't get by those guys in the first eight laps -- it was very difficult. Goodyear brought a great tire. I beat the side walls off of them pretty good today with all the bumping and banging that goes on here. It ended up being good for us. I think that probably had some influence on us winning the race."
-credit: toyota motorsports