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Johnny Benson is a former NASCAR Busch Series champion, but has never won a race at Darlington. As Benson looks ahead to the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 NASCAR Busch Series race, coming up on Saturday, March 20 at the track "Too Tough To Tame," however, he feels his prospects are pretty good.

"I love Darlington because it is such a tricky place to drive. It is one of my favorite places on the circuit," said the driver of the Yellow Transportation Dodge. And I think it is going to be even harder now."

The reason? Benson expects that Darlington, already known as the most difficult track on both the NASCAR NEXTEL and Busch Series circuits, will pose new challenges for competitors due to the recent installation of SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) barriers at the historic facility.

"The racing groove at Darlington has always been real narrow, and now it is even narrower. You are probably going to enter the corners a little bit differently, and I've got to believe that is going to become a little bit of an issue," Benson said. "But the more tracks that add the safety barriers, the better it is for all of us."

Benson has not run a Busch Series race at Darlington since his championship season of 1995. But he remembers finishing second in both races at Darlington that year.

"We had a chance to win both races," he said. "And with the record the Yellow team had last year at Darlington, I can't wait to get there. I think we've got a chance to have a real good day - if we can stay off the wall."

It is often said of Darlington that drivers focus on racing the track itself rather than racing each other. The unique character of Darlington seems to make her a very active participant rather than simply a location or setting for a race. Benson feels that trait could be more important than ever as drivers tackle the slightly altered landscape of NASCAR's oldest, and therefore most familiar, facility.

"If you know you are a little faster than the guy out ahead of you at Darlington, you don't need to race that guy," he said. "Just keep on doing what you are doing, and he'll come back to you, as opposed to saying, 'I'm going to go after him.' If you race that way at Darlington, you are going to abuse your tires that much more, and you can't afford to do that. They fall off fast enough without any help from you!"

Tickets are still available for the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 weekend, which includes qualifying day on Friday, March 19, the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 NASCAR Busch Series race on Saturday, March 20, and the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race on Sunday, March 21.

For tickets or more information, call the Raceway ticket hotline toll-free at 1.866.459.RACE (7223), or log onto

Contact:  Darlington Raceway public relations 843.395.8892




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Revised: February 23, 2013