Benson returns to Richmond -- and the NASCAR Busch Series. RIR race starts partial NASCAR Busch slate for former champion. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 30, 2002) - Johnny Benson has carved a niche in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. He personifies...
Benson returns to Richmond -- and the NASCAR Busch Series.
RIR race starts partial NASCAR Busch slate for former champion.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 30, 2002) - Johnny Benson has carved a niche in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. He personifies consistency, an attribute that serves him well.
Before becoming known as a consistent driver, Benson was known as a champion driver, in the NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division. He won that championship in 1995, and switched to NASCAR Winston Cup racing the following year.
This week, Benson returns to NASCAR Busch Series competition, in the process returning to a track that was instrumental in his 1995 championship campaign - Richmond International Raceway. Benson finished third in both NASCAR Busch races at RIR that season.
Richmond also has been a friendly track for Benson in NASCAR Winston Cup races. He has a streak of three consecutive top-10 finishes at the .750-mile oval.
"I've said before we'd run 38 races at Richmond if they let us," Benson said."It's about perfect."
Benson is scheduled to commence a limited NASCAR Busch schedule Friday night at RIR in the Hardee's 250 (7:30 p.m. ET, FX), driving the No. 31 Whelen Chevrolet for Ted Marsh Racing. Tentative plans call for five NASCAR Busch races for Benson, who drives the No. 10 Valvoline Pontiac in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Like Benson, his crew chief James Ince also plans to pull double-duty.
And what better place to start than Richmond?
"I'm looking forward to it," Benson said."Going back to the NASCAR Busch Series should be a lot of fun. There are a lot of good people over there and I've had a lot of success in the NASCAR Busch Series. It's going to be fun and competitive but one of the reasons we are going over there is to see what we can learn for our NASCAR Winston Cup deal. It would be great if we can go there and win for Whelen and learn a lot for our Valvoline program."
Transferring knowledge from one series to another during a doubleheader weekend - that's a tactic being used by several high-profile teams, such as those fielded by car owners Rick Hendrick, Richard Childress and Jack Roush. And with cars so similar in NASCAR Winston Cup and NASCAR Busch racing, Benson said, whatever is learned one day can be extremely valuable the next.
"You drive Richmond the same in both cars," Benson said."I mean the Busch car will probably turn better because of the shorter wheelbase. Outside that, as a rule, you drive the cars the same. The groove is the same. I've raced there in the NASCAR Busch Series and watched a lot of races there and it's pretty much the same.
"You are looking at track conditions [in the first race of the weekend] and trying to learn what type of changes to expect from the track. We have always raced pretty well up there. We have great equipment and it's a type of track I like. It's nice and smooth and it's a track where finesse is the key. Those are the kind of tracks where I like to race. Along with everyone else, also."