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Pennzoil Pontiac Race Preview: Benson on Martinsville

22 September 1997

Benson on Martinsville, Testing

   Pennzoil Pontiac driver Johnny Benson spent a day in South Carolina 
last week testing at an area short track in preparation for Sunday's 
race in Martinsville. Since the Greenville-Pickens track isn't part of 
the Winston Cup schedule, the Bahari' team does not have to count the 
session as one of the seven test dates allocated to each team. There 
is considerable speculation that NASCAR might eliminate testing in 
1998 and add an extra practice day as part of the weekend schedule at 
several tracks.

Benson on:

...preparing for Martinsville:

   "We went to a racetrack in Greenville, S.C. last week to prepare 
for Martinsville. This was our second trip this year.  We don't have 
any test dates available to go to Martinsville so Greenville was the 
closest track we could go to that is similar to Martinsville. We tried 
a couple of new things with the chassis just to see what works and 
what doesn't work. We have only been good once at  Martinsville so we 
need all the work we can.


   "I know NASCAR is talking about banning testing on the tracks we 
race on. I have mixed emotions. People are always going to test even 
if it means you go to a track like Greenville or another track where 
we don't race. I've heard they were talking about letting us come in a 
day early at some places next year. That might work if they treat it 
like a regular test day where they gave us three sets of tires and 
allow us to unload two race cars to decide which Pennzoil car we want 
to race. I think that would be helpful. If they won't let us do that 
then testing really isn't that helpful. 

   "Testing is always going to be around. you need to always test new 
cars because its not a good idea to just throw them out on the track 
in competition. Plus, the newer guys can always use time on the track. 
Heck, I wouldn't be surprised in a few years to see a team or a couple 
of teams go together and build their own test track."

...a lap at Martinsville:

   "You have a lot of horsepower to get down the fairly long 
straight-aways so you really have to avoid spinning the wheels. Then, 
you come to turns with no banking so you have to almost come to a 
complete stop just to get through them.  Your car is definitely going 
to be different midway through the race from the way it started. The 
key is to get the handling close at the beginning so you don't have to 
make as many adjustments during the race or you will wear your brakes 

Johnny Benson's Winston Cup Record At Martinsville

Race/Track          S    F    LC   TL    Status   Winnings 
1996 Goody's 500   18   25   477   500   Running  $ 19,965 
1996 Hanes 500     22   17   498   500   Running  $ 22,600 
1997 Goody's 500   22   17   499   500   Running  $ 22,365

Benson will drive the Dana Dodge in Saturday's NASCAR Craftsman Truck 

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