Johnny Benson and the #10 Valvoline Pontiac team finished in 11th place in the points in 2001. The Pontiac driver scored a career-best six top-five finishes and led 101 laps during the 2001 season. This season he will be hoping for more and that elusive first Winston Cup victory.

Q:
Johnny Benson - Are you excited to get going again?

Johnny Benson:
Oh, absolutely. I'm looking forward to the test. With the new rules package, it's going to be interesting to see what goes on. I'm really looking forward to doing some drafting. Hopefully we'll spend one of the days down here doing some drafting. I think that will be good for everybody. Outside that, we've got some other tests that we're going to do before the season. I'm really looking forward to those because you get the driver involved a little bit more in those and I can have a little more input. I'm just excited. I'm excited about the year 2002. There are a lot of good things going on and hopefully it will be a good year for the Valvoline Pontiac.

Q:
With the rules package as it is right now, do you feel you can be competitive at Daytona?

JB:
We feel like we're going to be competitive. Since I've been in this Pontiac, we've been really competitive on the speedways, so I'm always excited about that part of our program. With the new rules it will be a little bit more single-file and two-wide as opposed to two-wide and three-wide. It's going to spread it out a little bit and it's going to have some effect, but all-in-all, you're still going to have a great race here. I don't think that is going to change. We'll know more as Speed Weeks gets going - as they run the Bud Shootout and as we run the '125s.' It will give us a better idea what you're going to see in the Daytona 500.

I hope that they don't sit there and tweak the rules every time that we turn around. But, at the same time, they're going to do what they have to do and they're going to try to make it as equal as possible. Hopefully, there just won't be too many changes as we go.

Q:
You have the same core group of team members returing this year...

JB:
Our main core group on this Valvoline Pontiac is the same that it's been since I started there [prior to the 2000 season], which is a really good thing. Our group seems to be pretty strong. It's a close-knit group and it's worked really well. I'm real proud of the guys. We've got some goals that we want to accomplish - things we haven't done, yet. But outside, they are just a great group of guys. They work extremely hard. They want to win as bad as I do and I think that at times and on some teams, that's hard to find. They're enthused about the season and I know that I am.

Q:
What is the biggest thing this team needs to improve on this year?

JB:
If you really look at it, you've got to be better everywhere, just because it's a year later. You have to make sure that you keep up with the times. We need to get better everywhere. I need to get better as a driver, we need to be better as a team, we need better pit stops - but none of those are new things. We always work on those things. I think the guys can be proud of what they accomplished last year, but I know they are not going to be happy if we don't do a lot better than that this year. And that is a feeling that I like. We finished 11th last year and we should be extremely happy with that. We had a good season. But they felt the same way that I did. We didn't accomplish some of our goals, so we're going to make sure that we do that this year. That is what makes this group so nice to be around."

Q:
What are some of those goals?

JB:
The goal is to finish in the top six in points and win some races. Those are the same goals we had last year basically and we need to work hard at trying to accomplish that.