NASCAR

NOTES: Benson in, Gill out and Americans at Le Mans

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Johnny Benson is returning to the Winston Cup series this weekend at Pocono International Raceway, a month after injuring his ribs in a Busch race. "You always run as hard as you can, and this weekend will be no different, said Benson, driver of MBV Motorsports' No. 10 Dodge who was injured in the May 3 wreck at Richmond. "The recovery has been tough because not only have I missed racing, but I haven't been able to work out a lot. "I don't think it will be that bad. Pocono is a good track to go to. You get a little bit of time to rest on the straightaways, so I think we will be in good shape." Joe Nemechek drove the car to a 12th-place finish in Richmond, and Jerry Nadeau has been behind the wheel the last three weeks, finishing sixth in the final stage of the Winston Open, 28th in the Coca-Cola 600 and 27th last week at Dover.

Gill out

Danny Gill has stepped down as the crew chief of driver Robert Pressley's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team. "Following the race in Dover, it became apparent that Danny was not happy with the progress of the team," said Winston Cup driver Bobby Hamilton, the team owner. "The one thing that I didn't want to do was hold him back in his career, and since I have 100 percent confidence in the driver, it just seemed like the right thing to do was to let Danny move on." Todd Myers will serve as interim crew chief on the No. 18 Dodge this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. "I'm sorry to see Danny go, but things happen," Pressley said. "We still have the goal of winning that championship, and nothing will keep this team from contending." The former Winston Cup driver won the season-opening race at Daytona and is seventh in the series standings.

Busch start

Richard Mitchell is trying to make his second NASCAR Busch Series start Saturday at Nashville Superspeedway. The two-time NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Northeast Region champion finished 35th in April in his series debut at the 1.333-mile track, driving a Chevrolet for Mac Hill Motorsports. "We used the first Nashville race to get our feet wet," the West Virginia driver said. "Despite all of the problems, we were happy with our performance. "We certainly don't have the resources that the full-time teams do, but if we can eliminate the bad luck, I feel we can be competitive with the Busch regulars.

Le Mans bound

Twenty-three American drivers have submitted entries for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Twelve U.S. drivers have helped teams win the overall title, with Davy Jones the last to accomplish the feat in 1996. Last year, Johnny O'Connell and Scott Pruett were part of GTS class-winning Corvette Racing team, and Butch Leitzinger helped steer a Bentley to the GTP title and a third-place finish overall. The race is June 15-16 at the Circuit de la Sarthe in France.

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