Bill Davis Racing Event Preview
Mountain Dew 250 – October 6, 2007
Talladega Superspeedway – Talladega, A.L.
Johnny Comments After Race
Can you talk about your race today?
“As things got rolling, things were pretty good. My only
concern was when Jack (Sprague) had his problems. I ran
into him pretty hard and knocked my grill out. We tried to
stay out, but got lucky that a caution came out. We needed
to fix it. By fixing it, it allowed us to get back to the
front with an opportunity to win the race.”
were you following Jack Sprague when his truck was
smoking? “At first, the
smoke came out pretty bad and I thought he was blowing
up and I pulled out. I didn’t want to pull out -- I
wanted to stay with him but I thought he was breaking.
It came out pretty sudden so I got out of the way, but
he kept going. I knew it was going to be short-lived. I
pushed him back up to the front and then he broke. I
couldn’t do anything because I had a guy beside me.”
How similar was this race to
the season-opener at Daytona? “In Daytona, I had
to push Jack by somebody to win. This time, I wasn’t
trying to help Rick win because I need to help the Toyota
win. The minute I cut across and got a good run I tried to
get him there on the inside. It was a heck of a race for
Johnny Benson headed to the 2.66 mile Superspeedway with
the highest Talladega statistics in the series.
Finishing ninth in last year’s race, Benson was
determined to take the truck he finished second with in
Daytona earlier in the year to victory lane this past
Running just okay in the first practice session on
Thursday afternoon due to a leaking radiator, Benson and
his No. 23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles team knew they
had to step it up a notch in order to be where they
wanted to be on the charts. After changing radiators,
Benson and team hit the track running for their final
practice session. Posting great times during the Happy
Hour session, Benson would end up as the sixth quickest
truck on the speed chart.
With a qualifying draw near the end of the qualifying
order on Friday, Benson had a long time to wait before
putting down his lap on the Talladega track. With the
sun coming out and the track getting greasy, Benson
mustered all he could out of his lap as he posted a time
of 53.979 seconds, which placed him in the 17th
position for Saturday’s afternoon race.
As the green flag waved over the Craftsman Truck field,
Benson immediately moved forwards. With multiple
caution flags waving within the first few laps, Benson
and his team decided to come to pit road on lap 17.
Needing to be freed up a bit, the No. 23 crew would take
two right side tires only, while making a trackbar
adjustment as well as checking the right rear fender for
damage, Benson and his TCUV Tundra crew would make a
quick pit stop and head back onto the track for the
Trying to find the best draft line to stay in, Benson
would shuffle his position all over the racetrack.
Running anywhere from the 25th position to
the seventh position, Benson knew he needed to get up
front and stay there.
With another caution flag waving on lap 55, Benson along
with the rest of the pack would come to pit road for
some much needed service. Taking right side tires only,
while making another trackbar adjustment and filling the
Tundra up with fuel, Benson’s TCUV team would have a
great pit stop and Benson would restart the race in the
Maintaining his position well, Benson would remain in
the top-five until yet another caution flag would wave
on lap 81. With his No. 23 TCUV Tundra dented in the
front from a wreck in front of him, Benson would be
forced to come to pit road. Attempting to fix the nose
of the truck, Benson would have to work his way back to
the front from the 18th position with just 12
laps to go.
Jockeying for position on the track, Benson would make
his move and soon find himself vaulting through the
field. Battling for the lead the last 100 feet of the
race, Benson would cross the finish line in the third
position as the checkered flag would wave on lap 94.
The Craftsman Truck Series heads to Martinsville
Speedway once again in two weeks. The race will be
televised live on SPEED on Saturday,
Bodine Wins Talladega Thriller
After 250 miles of racing, it all
came down to the final 250 feet. And in the end, Todd
Bodine managed to barely hold off Rick Crawford and Johnny
Benson to claim victory Saturday in a thrilling Mountain
Dew 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Talladega
Crawford remained tucked
behind Bodine for most of the final two laps, with Benson
close on the rear of Crawford. Then as the trio came off
Turn 4 and headed through the tri-oval toward the
checkered flag, Crawford pulled out on the high side and
Benson tried to pass on the bottom of the track. They
crossed the finish line three-wide, with Bodine
maintaining the lead by 0.014 of a second over Crawford.
"This is Talladega. It just lends
itself to great finishes," Bodine said afterward. "Where
the start-finish line is and the way the track is... It's
just the way Talladega is. It's a great place to race, and
a great show for the fans. Jason Leffler finished
fourth, followed by Dennis Setzer in fifth, NCTS rookie
Willie Allen sixth and Ron Hornaday Jr. seventh.
Hornaday's showing was enough to give
him a 14-point lead in the NCTS points standings over Mike
Skinner, who finished 13th. Skinner had entered the race
with a three-point lead over Hornaday. It was the third
time in the past four races that the points lead has
The only thing closer than the points
battle was the final-lap battle for the victory in
Saturday's race. Crawford said he waited until the
last-possible moment to make his move out of concern that
if Benson didn't follow him, he would have lost the draft
and dropped several positions.
"I was getting a really good run off of
(Turn) 4 … but if I had pulled out (too early), I would
have finished 10th or 15th," Crawford said. "So I had to
take the draft, I had to use it as much as I could. I got
the side draft off of Todd, I was just four feet short."
Bodine said he knew Crawford was going
to make a move, he just wasn't sure when. "He had a
great run. He just came up a little short," said Bodine,
the defending NCTS champion. "It was pretty close. I knew
Rick was out there, but I couldn't see his hood (at the
finish line), so I knew we had won. Rick timed it
just a little too late. If the start-finish line was down
another couple 100 yards, he probably would have been by
me. He almost timed it perfectly."
But Crawford, who drives a Ford, said
he was worried that if he had gotten out of line, Benson
would have stayed behind Bodine, since both of them drive
Toyotas. Benson did not dispute that notion. "If
(Crawford) would have had a manufacturer behind him the
same as him, he would have gone on by (Bodine)," Benson
said. "I just tried to win the race myself. I thought we
were going to get there. Between first, second and third,
it had to have been pretty tight."
A victory would have been special to
Crawford, since he is a native of Alabama. "I
thought I made the right move," Crawford said. "If I
second guessed myself or looked in the rear view mirror, I
would have done it the same way... "(It was) a bold move
there at the end to try to make it exciting for the fans
in my home state of Alabama."
The victory was special
to Bodine as well, considering how close he has come to
winning past NCTS races at both Talladega and Daytona
International Speedway. "I'm just glad to come out
on top for a change," Bodine said. "I've always run well
at Daytona and Talladega, I just never quite got it done.
I finally got it done today. That's the best part about
this whole thing."
Bodine Edges Crawford and Benson for Win
Todd Bodine barely held off Rick
Crawford and Johnny Benson in a three-wide finish Saturday
in the Mountain Dew 250 Craftsman Truck Series race at
Bodine, the reigning
truck champion, was out front for a restart with two
laps to go on the 2.66-mile oval, with Crawford and
Benson close behind in a single-file line of
competitors. It stayed that way until the final corner
of the 94-lap race, when Crawford drove high on the
steeply banked track and Benson, a former series
champion, ducked below Bodine.
That's the way they
drove across the finish line, with Bodine beating Crawford
by 0.014 seconds -- about the length of a hood. Benson was
0.028 seconds behind the winner, with Jason Leffler, in
fourth, also less than a second behind Bodine.
"We only made one change
in practice to make this Toyota truck run better," said
Bodine, who started from the pole. "It was awesome."
The wild race included
several crashes, the biggest of which came on Lap 74 when
three-time series champion Jack Sprague dad his right
front tire blow while he was leading. Sprague tried to
slow enough to get to the pits and was bumped from behind
by Benson, turning him sideways and igniting a six-truck
Photos By: VPS Motor Images
Johnny at the top of the charts in final
practice - 6th
Truck Series News & Notes -
One way or the other,
Talladega won't lack excitement: The most unpredictable
weekend of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season is on
tap Saturday as competitors head to Talladega
Superspeedway for the second running of the Mountain Dew
250. The race could be a rerun of Daytona International
Speedway's three-truck photo finish in February. Or it
could mirror last year's inaugural Talladega race in which
a multiple truck incident in Turn 3 of the final lap
allowed Mark Martin to win under caution.
Two things are certain: Martin won't be defending his
victory and Mike Skinner (#5 Toyota Tundra Toyota) owns
the slimmest of championship leads - three points -
entering the 20th of 25 scheduled races. "I like
Talladega; it is a track where you have to be on your toes
at all times," said Skinner, whose best Nextel Cup Series
finish of second came at Talladega in the spring of 2000.
Skinner finished second to Martin a year ago. Skinner will
have help in Bill Davis Racing teammate Johnny Benson
(#23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota). "Skinner is
doing a great job and we'll do whatever it takes to help
him out," said Benson, who finished second at Daytona.
The driver with the top Talladega statistics last season
finished ninth - Johnny Benson. Benson, who sits in
fifth place in the series standings, had a Driver Rating
of 112.8, an Average Running Position of 4.9 and 91 Laps
in the Top 15.
Rick Ren, crew chief for championship runner-up Ron
Hornaday Jr. (#33 Camping World Chevy), is understandably
wary. "There are too many variables and things that are
out of your control that can cause you to have a bad day,"
said Ren. Hornaday, like Skinner a four-time winner this
season, finished 10th in last year's race. "Our current
program is completely different from last year and we
should be even faster this year," he said.
Third-place Travis Kvapil (#6 K&N Filters Ford) didn't
compete in last year's race but has momentum coming off
his fourth victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Kvapil has
competed in three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Talladega
with a best finish of 16th in the fall of 2005.
week’s race truck
for Talladega Speedway is
Benson ran this truck at the beginning of the year at
Daytona International Speedway as he took home a
second place finish at the 2.5 mile track.
Davis’ will host their first annual Chimney Rock 500
cattle sale this weekend, Oct. 5 and 6. The event
will be held in the brand-new 50,000-square foot sales
facility in Concord, Arkansas. The sale will include
a registered female sale on Friday, followed by the
sale of commercial females and bulls on Saturday.
Friday’s festivities in the “cow palace” will also
include the Chimney Rock Celebration, which will
include appearances by NASCAR personalities.
Benson took his week
off to do what you ask…race. Benson participated in
the ISMA Supermodified race at Berlin Raceway this
past Saturday night, September 29. Benson won his
heat and was leading the 50 lap feature when the rear
end let go which forced him to retire from the event.
Benson did however place seventh the night before in
the ISMA Modified race at Delaware Speedway.
Benson and the
No. 23 team will once again be sporting the red colors
of TCUV this weekend at Talladega.
climbed up the NCTS points standings fast. He now
stands in the fifth position in the NASCAR Craftsman
Truck Series points. Only 84 points out of the fourth
Listen and watch…
Dew 250 is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. ET
Saturday, October 6. It will broadcast on the Speed
Channel (TV), MRN (radio) and Sirius Satellite Radio
Johnny Benson on racing at
is a cool place. There is a lot of side-by-side racing
pretty much the whole race. The Craftsman Trucks put on
a great show and we had a ton of fun there last year.
The point's race is definitely getting interesting
especially with just six races to go. Skinner is doing
a great job and we will do whatever it takes to help him
out. We stopped Hornaday from a win earlier in the
year, but there are a lot of good trucks out there right
now and at Talladega it is anybody's race. You just
have to be ready and attentive the whole race. Anything
can happen. It should be a great show for the fans."