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NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series: Ford 200

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Ford 200

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series: Ford 200

Johnny Benson
November 16, 2007


HOMESTEAD, FLORIDA

THE MODERATOR: We're going to proceed now with our race winner. You we've got Johnny Benson won this race here tonight. He's driver of the #23 Exide Batteries Toyota, came from behind there in the closing laps to beat Kyle Busch. Johnny, congratulations. Talk about your win tonight.
JOHNNY BENSON: Appreciate it. Our win was great. We were really dominant early on and was just trying to play it cool there. I couldn't figure out how we got so far behind there in the cautions. But we worked our way back up, it looked like we were probably more than likely pretty sure going to run second until that last caution.
I was good enough to catch him but I couldn't really work around him until I got my tires cooled off. I was getting loose and I was gaining on him, but at that time I couldn't do anything about it. So the green-white checkered actually worked out in our favor this time. That was pretty cool.
I've really got to say thanks to Exide Batteries for being on board for this race and everybody at Toyota Certified Used Vehicles, all the Tundra Toyota people and Havoline and Bosch, and just everybody that was involved in Bill Davis racing. It was a great night.
You know, I know Mike Skinner had his problems, but right when his left rear come off, mine was ready to come off, too, so that caution was timely for us. You know, the rest just made for an exciting finish.

Q. You challenged for the title last year. Where do you see your chances are next season?
JOHNNY BENSON: You know, hopefully great. Trip Bruce and the guys have done a tremendous job for us, too. I believe we ended up third. It was a really good year if you really considered what happened. When Rick Ren came on board we worked six months together before we ran into the year. We ran second last year.
Trip came about two days before we left to go to Daytona to test, so for us to have the year that we had with four wins and ended up where we did, it's been a tremendous year. We've been competitive. Mainly all year we've probably had three or four races that we weren't as competitive as we needed to be and we'll work on that stuff over the winter and hopefully we can be a championship contender next year for sure.

Q. Kyle was pretty upset that they threw that caution flag and felt that they should not have because it wasn't that big a deal. What are your thoughts on that?
JOHNNY BENSON: Well, I saw a wrecked truck. I don't know how much you need a caution for. It depends how big a piece of debris you need. I think a whole truck probably classifies for one. I'm not sure, maybe they're looking for small pieces.
You know, I don't know. I wasn't the one that threw the caution. That's his gripe with whoever, but it sure made a great event for those fans in those grandstands and the people on TV. He's been on both sides of those deals. He's made up ground before I'm sure on a green and white checkered deal, and he's lost on them.
Obviously this race here we were able to take advantage of it. He spun the wheels pretty bad, I spun the wheels pretty bad on the restart. At first I didn't think he wanted to be on the outside for sure. I needed to go to the bottom, and I don't think he felt that I was going to be as good on the bottom as what I was, but I was really good all day long down there. I was running top trying to save the tires a little bit.
But he's right, I would have run second had it gone green, but it didn't go green, and we had a green-white checker and I was able to get by him.

Q. (Indiscernible.)
JOHNNY BENSON: Actually I can. He had a good time, right?

Q. (Indiscernible.)
JOHNNY BENSON: I'm sure he didn't look real happy obviously losing the title. That's something that's eluded them for a while, and you know, it just came down to the last race and they had some issues that probably hurt the deal. But Jeff Hensley and their whole crew and Mike Skinner had had a tremendous year. I think Bill Davis Racing can be proud of what they accomplished and what they did in their whole season. Hopefully it's the same way with the 23 team. I just hope that next year comes down to just myself and Mike instead of anybody else in the mix, and I think that'll be a great year hopefully next year for Bill Davis Racing for sure.

Q. Bruce kind of asked the question I was going to ask, but as a teammate how do you feel about that? It had to bother you when you see that kind of misfortune.
JOHNNY BENSON: Absolutely. I wanted to see Mike win this thing as bad as anybody, even though through our whole deal last week I wanted to see him win this. It was something that they needed to race the last couple of races really hard to get it, and I know he caused a little friction last week. It puts it in a very tough situation, but with the problems that he had, it actually got us up in the third spot.
It's things that you need to do -- you know, you can go through every race and find fine points that you either threw it away or that somebody else took from you. It's probably just ill timing last week on our deal.
But Mike and those guys had a tremendous season. You know the Championship comes down to the last race, and unfortunately he had some issues. Yeah, my heart feels for him that they didn't win it because they deserved to win it. But Ron Hornaday and those guys had a great season, also, and they deserved it. So however it ended up, one side is going to be happy and the other side is not.

Q. Could you have imagined it coming down to that, though, wheel coming off, a broken stud?
JOHNNY BENSON: Well, we've seen stranger things. It can be a number of things that happen, and it just happened to happen to them. Like I say, you can pick any race during the year and it can cost you X amount of points because it does take the whole season for the points championship, at least in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series because they count every race; they don't have the Chase. It's unfortunate that it had to happen on the last race for sure.

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