JOHNNY BENSON, No. 23 Exide Batteries Toyota Tundra, Bill Davis Racing Finished: 2nd Can you take us through the final lap of the race? "It was a great run no doubt. I couldn't do anything with him (Erik Darnell) earlier. I knew I had to...
JOHNNY BENSON, No. 23 Exide Batteries Toyota Tundra, Bill Davis Racing Finished: 2nd
Can you take us through the final lap of the race?
"It was a great run no doubt. I couldn't do anything with him (Erik Darnell) earlier. I knew I had to get him down on the bottom. I just kept trying to get a run and kept trying to get a run and couldn't get it and couldn't get it. I thought I'd try it on the last lap way down low. I was able to get along side of him, got ahead of him and I thought I was in pretty good shape but he just came motoring on by."
Can you talk about how the race unfolded?
"I saw the win in grasp and got beat at the line. The fans couldn't have seen a better race. I don't think it's going to get any better than that. Trip Bruce (crew chief) and the guys did a tremendous job and we just kept working on it. Scott Speed came up into the picture there and we got battling. I knew the restart there was going to be a lot of fun, but I didn't know if I had a shot or not. I was going to try a couple things differently. I was able to get alongside of him, but I couldn't clear him. Those guys have pretty good engines and we have pretty good engines and it was just a drag race to the line there. We just got beat by a little bit. He started doing a little side-drafting off me and I knew I was in trouble when he started doing that. It was a great run for us and we just really have to thank Exide Batteries and Toyota Certified Used Vehicles for being on board with us. They give us a great truck to race with and it's been pretty cool."
Have you ever been involved in a race with this close of a finish at the end?
"I can say this is probably the first time that I've ever been on the losing end of it. It's great -- I think the fans saw a tremendous race and I think that parts pretty cool. In the beginning it might have been a little boring when Scott (Speed) and Todd (Bodine) just took off and left us all. I think as the race got going and we had a couple cautions and everybody got a chance to work on their trucks -- it became a great race at the end. The only thing I was concerned with, like Scott (Speed) had with his, was when we took on the four tires and a bunch of guys didn't -- we were back in 14th or 15th and I was pretty nervous about that. We were able to just work our way up there and we just ran a very close second place."
Did you take the high line to keep your momentum up?
"I've been here enough and I've made 100 mistakes here. I know on the restarts, every time I go to the bottom and get underneath somebody the guy behind you walks around the outside of you. I knew Scott (Speed) was going to go for the win and that's what he's supposed to do. If I was running second at that point in time then I would have to try the bottom, too. I knew it was going to be a tough move to do so I knew that was the right thing to do and thought maybe I could get a good enough run to get by both of them, but I didn't. It is what it is. I was able to do what I was supposed to do and get through the corner there and get beside the 99 (Erik Darnell) and get ahead of him, but I just couldn't stay ahead of him. I couldn't time it any differently. I ran it wide open down through there and it was tough to do and I got free off four, but that's just what you've got to do. I pulled away from him as fast as I could so we were both unequal there and the minute that he came down and got to the side of the truck, I knew it was going to be close getting to the line. I probably should have gone through the grass. I may have gotten away too fast and that allowed him to get a run down the hill. I don't know what I would have done different if I had to do it again."
Were you deliberately back a few car lengths from the leader on the restart?
"Ron Hornaday kept running into the back of me and kept picking my back tires up off the ground and that's why I got so far behind. I thought he had us turned around once, but he just kept picking the tires up and my tires weren't on the ground so he was pushing both of us. Once I finally got them on the ground and was able to get away from him I was a little bit happier. You expect that from Ron (Hornaday Jr.) that he is going to do that on the restart and I just did everything I could not to wreck. Once we got past that point, he gave us a pretty good shove."
-credit: toyota motorsports