In the Pits - MBV
Changing of the Guard
Johnny Benson went out with style.
In his last race behind the wheel of the No. 10 Valvoline Pontiac, Benson posted
his best finish of the 2003 season. Benson finished fourth at the season-ending
Winston Cup event at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Nov-ember before packing
his bag and heading for home. Scott Riggs will replace Benson in the No. 10
car for the 2004 season.
Homestead marked not only Ben-son’s final race for car owners MBV Motorsports
and Valvoline, but the final race for Pontiac in NASCAR and the final race for
Winston as the series sponsor.
“You always want to do well, but when you know it will be the last time
for everyone together on this team, the last time for Pontiac and the last time
for Winston then this race is probably a little extra special,”
Benson said shortly before Homestead. “Things change in this sport pretty
fast,” Benson continued. “Hey, we went from this team being nearly
bankrupt in 2000 to winning a race. All of the credit goes to the crew guys
who have worked on this team.
“Winston and Pontiac leaving the sport proves that nothing stays the same.
Both have been great for the sport and helped get it to where it is these days.
But I’ll miss the people with Winston and Pontiac the most. We welcome
the new folks coming in, but
it’s kind of hard to see the others leave.”
The fourth-place finish at Homestead marked Benson’s second top-10 finish
of the season. He was fifth at Dover. As of the first week in December, Benson
had yet to announce his plans for 2004. Riggs, meanwhile, is busy preparing
for the 2004 season-opener at Daytona.
“I appreciate the confidence that Valvo- line and MBV Motor-sports have
placed in me,” Riggs said. “I’m going to work with the team
to get everything I can out of the cars and hope to
reward them with some wins.”
Riggs, 32, began his racing career in motocross competition. He moved into
NASCAR's Mini Stock Division at age 17, and posted 12 wins in just three years.
The Bahama, NC native conquered Late Model Stock Cars and was named track champion
at Southern National Speedway twice before joining the NASCAR Craftsman Truck
Series in 2000. In 2001, Riggs finished fifth in points with five victories
and 14 top-five finishes in 24 events.
Riggs moved into the NASCAR Busch Series in 2002. He earned Rookie of the Year
honors after winning two events and scoring 13 top-10 finishes en route to a
10th place finish in the series point standings. This season, Riggs posted two
wins and finished sixth in the battle for the championship.