(O’Reilly Raceway Park, July 25,2008 )
Johnny Benson earned his third victory in the past four NCTS races when he took the checkered flag first at ORP Friday.
Photo by: Jeff Kluss/SIT
Johnny Beneson makes it to the winner circle again!
Still only 1 point ahead of Matt Crafton, and only 5 points ahead of Mike Skinner after the ORP race at Indianapolis, a joyous Johnny Benson takes the trophy once again.
How does it feel to win at ORP? “Man, it’s pretty cool. I don’t know how many times I’ve run second here. I was like, ‘man I do not want to run second.’ Ron (Hornaday, Jr) was doing the protective deal. He was running where I was running, stuff like that. I was laughing because I said, ‘he (Ron Hornaday, Jr) got by me without hitting me, that was cool.’ He’s a great racer and I love racing with him. He started running my groove so I thought I’d try his groove in (turns) three and four. That Toyota just stuck there. I thank Vemma for coming on board this week, Toyota Certified Used Vehicles, Excide Batteries and everybody that does thing. Triad puts bodies on these things and they’re awesome – great job on the engines. I wasn’t real happy with the tire to start with but as the race got going the track got going, Goodyear brought a good tire. We could pretty much run it all night. It was a little slick and sliding but I think a lot of that was the tracks. That was pretty cool to get us in victory lane. We’re pretty happy obviously. This is way to cool.”
Can you talk about your battle with Ron Hornaday, Jr? “He ran a great race, he really did. I was watching what he was doing, watching his line and trying not to heat up my Goodyears too bad. I just waited and bided my time. The minute I saw him run my line I thought I was going to be in trouble. I was running the outside and trying to stay in clean air. If he’d run the bottom, I’d run the top and if he ran the top, I’d run the bottom just keeping air on the nose. He went to the top and I let her eat there through that one time and it stuck. That’s all it took. We were able to get in front and hold them off. Everybody knows these restarts with Ron behind you are no fun. It was a great day for us for sure. Tripp Bruce (crew chief) and everybody at Bill Davis Racing does an awesome job every week.”
How was your night? “It was a pretty good race at least from where we stood. We qualified eighth and we thought we’d be a little bit better but I heard someone say they always win this from further back than fifth so we’re pretty proud about that if that is a true fact. We had a pretty good run there from the start. We were running fourth and then worked on Bobby East who did a good job this weekend of sitting on the pole and running good. I’m not sure what happened to him late but that was a shame as I would have liked to see him have a good run. We got by him than I worked on (Jack) Sprague and it took me a long, long time. We were trying to race him clean and race him hard – we did that. Of course Ron (Hornaday, Jr) pretty much dominated the race but we got the trophy. That’s the cool part about it. It’s fun racing Ron. We know he’s a tough competitor and we got by him on the pits and he got by us on the track and we were able to get back by him again. It was a lot of fun racing with him.”
Photo by: Jeff Kluss/SIT
Is the driver’s championship within reach for you? “We’re hoping we’re one of the guys to beat but we no way have our hands around this thing. We’ve been 50 points ahead and fell to fourth in one race. It’s going to be a tough battle all the way to the end. That’s one of the things that’s great about the Craftsman Truck Series is that. The championship race isn’t going to be over until they throw the checkered flag down in Miami, that’s just how it is. You can be dominant and have something happen and lose the race and the championship. There’s no way anyone has their hands around it. It’s probably going to be about four of five but nobody has their hands around it right now.”
What has your team grasped which is the reason that you’re having so much success this year? “I think we’ve been good all year we just hadn’t won a race. We’ve been decent all season. We had our little mishap at Atlanta and of course Martinsville those things there put us quite a bit behind. We fell back in the points and we’ve been working hard to get back up there. Our season has been good. Trip Bruce (crew chief) has done a phenomenal job with all the guys on the race team. It’s been a pleasure to race with them and race with these guys. They have the confidence in to go and get the things we need to in order to go and be competitive. I have all the confidence in them working on this Toyota Tundra. It’s been a fun year but it’s also been a complicated year, too. There are a lot of things you have to do to go right. Maybe I haven’t had 100 percent of the race but when I needed it to be, things have been good.”