The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

Pennzoil Pontiac Race Report: Benson at NHIS

15 September 1997

Country Music Television 300
Loudon, N.H.

Benson Moves into 11th-Place Tie in Points Race

   When Pennzoil Pontiac driver Johnny Benson announced Friday in New
Hampshire that he planned to leave Bahari' Racing at the end of the
season to drive for the fifth Roush Racing team in 1998, the
second-year veteran said there are still two items still on his 1997

   "I'd like to give this team a victory and I really want to finish
in the top 10 in driver points," said Benson. "We have never
accomplished either of those goals and that would be a great way to
cap off my time here at Bahari' ."

   On Sunday, Benson took a step closer to the second item on that
agenda. Although he never threatened to win the Country Music
Television 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway, Benson managed
to finish 19th and on the lead lap despite driving the last third of
the race with less than eight cylinders and surviving a hard crash in
the final laps caused by another driver.

   "I can't believe we managed to stay on the lead lap," Benson said
after climbing from the mangled Pennzoil Pontiac he said Geoff Bodine
wrecked in an ill-advised pass attempt. "We were pretty good all day
and I think we would have had a decent finish but I think we broke a
valve and the rest of the way we just held on hoping to finish. Bodine
got us in the end, but he got a lot of people today."

   Although the accident caused extensive damage, Benson remained on
the track and completed the final two green flag laps of the race
without losing a lap. Jeff Gordon won the race leading Ernie Irvan and
Bobby Hamilton across the finish line.

   Benson benefited from timely caution periods throughout the day
that kept him on the lead lap. But his perseverance paid dividends
after the race as he gained enough points to tie Ricky Rudd for 11th
place in the Winston Cup point standings.

   It was not a good day for any of the drivers battling for the
top-10 in the points race. Rudd finished 42nd due to an accident.
Ninth-place Ted Musgrave suffered battery problems and finished 30th
while 10th-place Jeremy Mayfield finished in 25th place after a
late-race accident. 

   The points race continues on Sunday in Dover, Del. Bahari' Racing
plans on announcing Benson's replacement for 1998 in the next few

For More Information
Contact: Drew Brown
Cohn & Wolfe
(404) 880-5269