Kyle Benjamin Makes Second-Place Debut with Family Team in Madison

Kyle Benjamin Makes Second-Place Debut with Family Team in Madison

by August 25, 2014 0 comments

Photo credit: Kyle Pokrefky/The Fourth Turn

MADISON, Wisc. — Kyle Benjamin put in a spectacular showing in the Herr’s Life Live with Flavor 200 at the Madison International Speedway, finishing second after starting way back in the field in the 27th position.

The two-time ARCA Racing Series race winner and defending Madison winner made his first start in ARCA on Sunday in a family-owned Benjamin Racing Ford. The 16-year-old Roush-Fenway Racing development driver from Easley, South Carolina previously competed in the series with Venturini Motorsports last year and with Roulo Brothers Racing until after this year’s Elko race.

Benjamin’s plan to methodically pick his way through the field throughout the 200 laps scheduled got off to a bit of a hiccup in the early stages of the race.

“It was actually an eventful race,” Benjamin said. “We had our left-rear tire cut down early on in the race around like Lap 20 or so. We had to go to the back again, which made it even harder, then we came back up to the front.”

Once the driver of the No. 37 @KyleBenjamin71 Ford was able to pit for a new tire, he would receive some adjustments ordered by crew chief Kevin Reed that would bring his car to life.

“We actually made really good adjustments right there,” he continued. “I don’t think we had a car that could come back to second – but, we did make it back to second. We had a long-run car, unfortunately it didn’t come down to a long run. It was only about a 20 lap run to the finish. I say if we had 50 laps we might have been a little bit closer than that.”

Prior to the race during an autograph session on the frontstretch, Benjamin stated that conservation of his car and his tires would be a major key in contending for the win. After the race, he spoke about how exactly he utilized this conservative approach to work his way past 20 cars by the final quarter of the race.

“Yeah, I did,” he stated. “You definitely don’t want to boil the rear tires off of the car. If you do, you won’t go anywhere. We saw a lot of people do that in the race and it kind of slipped back to us. You want to really maintain your pace and let them fall back to you instead of you driving hard and trying to get to them.”

At the end of the day, a repeat of last year’s winning performance was not meant to be for the 16-year-old as eventual winner Justin Boston would power away from Benjamin and cross the line ahead of the defending winner by 2.724 seconds. Despite coming up just short of his third career victory, Benjamin still had plenty to be proud of for such a strong showing out of his family-backed operation.

“It actually means a lot, but I didn’t really expect much less,” he said. “Kevin Reed was our crew chief last year with Venturini so we pretty much have the same car, it’s just a different body.”

Benjamin would also say a thank you to the people who helped put him on the race track this week and would offer his congratulations to Boston as well, going up to the winner in victory lane to shake his hand.

“Good job to Justin. Thanks to Roush-Yates for coming on board and giving us a motor and to my parents, Kevin Reed, and everybody for helping us out.”

Benjamin will next be in a Benjamin Racing ARCA Racing Series car for the Federated Car Care ARCA Fall Classic at Salem Speedway in Indiana. He will also race in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East’s season finale in Dover two weeks later in another Benjamin Racing Ford.

Kyle Pokrefky
Follow Kyle Pokrefky on Twitter at @KPokrefky

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