JOHNNY BENSON, No. 23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Tundra, Bill Davis Racing Finished: 1st Did you think you had a chance to pass Erik Darnell? "I didn't think it was possible with 10 (laps) to go -- to tell you the truth. Trip Bruce (crew...
No. 23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Tundra, Bill Davis Racing
Did you think you had a chance to pass Erik Darnell?
"I didn't think it was possible with 10 (laps) to go -- to tell you the truth. Trip Bruce (crew chief) and the guys do a great job all the time. It just was real inconsistent. This was a new truck which I could never get a handle on it. Trip made a couple of adjustments. I kept telling him it was horrible until after about 30 laps on the tires -- then it got to where I felt I could do what I wanted. I had him calling the laps down. I knew (Erik) Darnell was going to be tough. I had a really hard time passing the 30 (Todd Bodine) -- he was running pretty strong, too. I thought he had a shot at him (Erik Darnell). Then I saw he (Todd Bodine) kept sliding around and I was able to get by him. I worked on (Erik) Darnell and was able to get to victory lane."
Can you believe you have won three of the past four NCTS races?
"We're having a good year. The last couple of years have been real good. I've been proud of what the team has been able to do the last couple years. This year it seems like we are on a roll. I was really surprised with the stats -- that I was the only driver that was a previous winner at the track. To have another one of these (guitars) is pretty cool. My youngest daughter -- the last three wins she has rubbed on the truck before the race. Before the race I was like: 'Get over there and rub on the truck cause it's not that great.' Thanks to her that worked out great."
How important was the last pit stop after troubles in the pits earlier in the race?
"We did struggle in the pits today -- I don't know why. We just had a couple of issues. The truck was a little low on the left side and we couldn't get it up. The guys do a tremendous job -- I'm not going to complain about having a bad one every once in a while having bad luck. I've made a lot of mistakes on the race track in the past, too. It was fine. We had to do some strategy at the end. I think the first three guys did the same thing. Todd (Bodine) was awesome on new tires. Oh my gosh, he just flat out flew. It took us 30 laps to get going."
How did you get your truck to handle so well tonight when you said it was bad yesterday in practice?
"Trip Bruce (crew chief) changed a couple things. Then, in qualifying it was bad loose. So, it was fairly loose pretty much the whole night. We finally made a couple changes there at the end -- it didn't really wake it up -- but it definitely made it a lot better. It was just a tough run. We took two tires at the end and a lot of the guys didn't take any. I was for just taking gas and coming out (of the pits) out front. And that probably would have worked. So, we had to work a little bit for it. I still don't think the truck was quite right, but it looked like a lot of people had problems out there today just slipping and sliding. I was one of the few that was able to hold the bottom real tight."
How did you manage to make passes and work your way through the field after that bad second pit stop?
"Well, we definitely passed some. At the start of the race, we would definitely pass some people. We started 16th and drove up to fourth. Then we had a pit stop that didn't quite go the way we wanted it to and that put us a little bit behind. Then, that set of tires was pretty challenging -- that's the word to use. Then, that last set that we put on there -- we changed them a little bit, we changed some air pressure -- we did some adjustments on the truck and doing the adjustments is why we were at the back. The tire rolling away -- they got that back in time. We were making some adjustments and at the end we did two tires and gas, and that put us in the top-four or five. I just had a great race with the 88 (Matt Crafton), the 59 (Ted Musgrave), the 30 (Todd Bodine) and the 99 (Erik Darnell). Hopefully, it was a great race for the fans. Obviously, it's easy for me to say it was a great race because we ended up on top. (Erik) Darnell races you clean and the 30 (Todd Bodine) has been pretty clean. We just had great racing. It was a lot of fun."
Was it nerve-wracking out on the track tonight?
"No, it wasn't -- early on it was when the truck wasn't quite right. I was starting to get a little irritated. It was just like practice, everything we did wasn't doing anything. We made a pretty big swing at it at the end and that felt like it made a difference and it was good enough to get us up there. Now, if Todd (Bodine) had been in the lead or somebody else -- it felt like they were a little bit quicker -- it would have been tough. But, (Erik) Darnell did a pretty good job. He held off Todd (Bodine), he held whoever else was up there -- the 33 (Ron Hornaday, Jr.). I really needed it to go green all the way because that's the only time our truck was good -- on really long runs once we got some laps on."
-credit: toyota motorsports