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Pennzoil Pontiac Race Report: Johnny Benson at Dover

22 September 1997

MBNA 400
Dover, Del. 

Benson's Yellow Flag Luck Runs Out

   A week ago at New Hampshire it seemed whenever Pennzoil Pontiac
driver Johnny Benson needed a yellow flag one magically arrived. On
two occasions as the leader nearly lapped the Pennzoil Pontiac a
yellow flag came out enabling Benson to eventually finish on the lead

   Last week's luck seemed to even out Sunday in Dover when Lady Luck
was particularly mean to Bahari' Racing. In the course of the 400-lap
race only one caution flag fell - it just happened to fall during a
10-lap segment that couldn't come at a worse time for the 1996 Rookie
of the Year.

   Benson began Sunday's race in 29th spot and held his own in the
early going despite reporting handling problems. Near the 70-lap mark,
race leader Mark Martin passed Benson. The Bahari' crew decided to
bring Benson into the pits a little bit earlier than the leaders to
correct the handling problem and avoid falling even farther behind.

   The Bahari' crew serviced Benson and he returned to the track
trailing Martin by 3 laps. A pit stop on the high-speed mile oval will
always drop a driver a lap behind a car still on the track.

   Then luck intervened and not for the good. Just seconds after
Benson's return to the track, a multi-car accident brought out the
caution flag allowing Martin and the leaders to pit under caution.
Benson still remained down three laps.

   The rest of the race remained without caution never allowing Benson
much of a chance to race with the leaders and get any of the laps
back. In fact, when the 3 hour race ended, Benson trailed Martin, who
won the race, by 8 laps and in 28th position.

   Benson occupies 12th place in the Winston Cup points standings.

   The Pennzoil Pontiac returns to the track on Sunday at 

   Benson plans to drive the Dana Dodge in Saturday's NASCAR Craftsman
Truck race. Benson's teammate is Tony Rains, driver of the Pennzoil
Dodge. Roehrig Motorsports fields both trucks.

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