Teed Up And Ready To Drive

Johnny Benson, driver of the No. 10 Valvoline Pontiac, will have a little extra help this weekend at Talladega when he is joined in the pits by New Zealand late model stock car racer Steve Williams.

Williams also has a high profile day job.

He’s Tiger Woods’ caddy.

If golf is Williams’ job, then racing is his passion. As owner and driver for Caddyshack Racing he spends the New Zealand summer (our winter) racing on dirt tracks in his native country.

“Racing definitely gives you some adrenaline every time you race, I certainly get nervous before racing but not before caddying,” Williams said.

Williams was already a Tour regular with vast international experience when Woods asked him to work for him three years ago. “I’d worked for Peter Thompson, Greg Norman and Raymond Floyd and knew my way around,” Williams said.

What’s it like working for the world’s best golfer, a perfectionist whose every move is scrutinized? "Tiger and I are very good friends, we respect each other and we both know when it is time to be serious and when it is not. Tiger and I are very similar in that we always give it 100 percent and both try to be as best prepared as we can.”

Benson hopes Williams’ success rubs off on the Valvoline team.

"We don’t get to watch a lot of golf because we are normally busy on Sunday afternoons,” Benson said. “But everyone knows about their success. If he can bring Tiger’s success to our team then we’ll let him caddy for us at every track.”

Valvoline signed Williams this year to wear the Valvoline logo at all Tour events.

Benson said Williams will see an exciting race on Sunday.

“(Crew Chief) James (Ince) once said we could race rental cars around Talladega and put on a good show. I’m sure it will be the same Sunday. Race hard, miss the big wreck, try to win the race at the end is about all the strategy there is."

Benson was part of the lap 5 accident in April that eliminated half of the 43-car field. He said an early wreck at Talladega is a race driver's worst nightmare.

"I think the main thing the driver worries about at Talladega is getting through those first couple of laps," Benson said. "The last time we were there somebody had a tire come apart and there we were 15 or 20 cars behind him and were caught up in a wreck that normally you wouldn’t even be close to if you were on any other track."

He said normally all drivers are on their best behavior at Talladega.

"We are starting to figure out that you don’t want to hit people on the superspeedways and not to bump and bang, but when you have a mechanical issue it always seems to catch 15 or 20 cars in the deal. No matter how you cut it, restrictor plate racing, especially at Talladega is always going to be a hair raising deal."

The EA Sports 500 at Talladega Superspeedway will take the green flag at 2 p.m. ET Sunday.

Visit the RacingOne FanShop for great deals on golf merchandise.

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