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Kyle Benjamin’s Dream Of Winning At Bristol Motor Speedway Comes True

Kyle Benjamin’s Dream Of Winning At Bristol Motor Speedway Comes True

by April 18, 2015 0 comments

Photo Credit: Wayne Thomas

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Kyle Benjamin in the No. 27 Eibach Ford led the final 81 laps in the PittLite 125 at Bristol Motor Speedway to claim his first career victory in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East on Saturday.

Benjamin, a 17-year old from Easley, S.C. only has seven starts in the series, including this weekend. He’s currently a development driver for Roush Fenway Racing. Benjamin captured the victory by holding off Greenville-Pickens Speedway winner, William Byron in the closing laps. So far in 2015, Benjamin has one win, a fifth place finish at New Smyrna and a 12th place finish at Greenville-Pickens Speedway. He currently sits third in the championship points standings.

“It’s really cool to get your first NASCAR win at Bristol Motor Speedway,” Benjamin said. “It’s one of the toughest tracks on the schedule. It’s one of the tracks you really dream about winning, and to finally pull it off is awesome.”

William Byron came up just short of the victory on Saturday, but he did finish an impressive second. Byron was the only other driver to lead the PittLite 125. He started fourth and led the first 44 laps. Byron is the current point leader, just three points ahead of Austin Hill and nine points ahead of Kyle Benjamin.

“It was really fun out there,” Byron said. “It was my first time at a big track, so I’m just learning the aerodynamics and everything like that, but a lot of fun out there. I just had a blast.”

Byron’s HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks teammate, Scott Heckert finished third after rolling off in the sixth position. Heckert currently sits eighth in the point standings with two top-five and two top-10 finishes in 2015.

“We had a really strong car in practice,” Heckert said. “I thought it was one of the better ones out there. Just the way the track changes with all of the rubber down from the Sprint Cup and XFINITY guys – just a little off, a little tight in the center, and I just tried to keep up front and tried to run the outside and not let anyone by. I’m pretty happy to come out with a third place.”

Coming home in the fourth position was Ben Kennedy Racing’s Kaz Grala. He started deep in the pack back in the 12th position, but it didn’t take long for Grala to make his way up through the field to capture his first top-five of the 2015 season. Grala currently sits fifth in the standings with one top-five and two top-10 finishes.

“Oh man, what a day for us,” Grala said. “The Kiklos Camry started in 12th place on the high side. Right off the bat, we started picking up positions. I think our high was third, and me and Scott Heckert in the 34, we were trading back and forth –third, fourth, third, fourth on the restarts, so that was a blast. I got into him last week, so I really appreciate him racing me clean this week. I thought we had an exceptional race and as well, the 33, Brandon Jones. We had some really tight racing there, but it was a blast.”

Rounding out the top-five on Saturday afternoon was Brandon Jones who was making his first appearance of the season in the series. Jones is coming off his first full season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. Last year, he captured the victory at Iowa Speedway. On Saturday, Jones had a strong car, but he came up just a little short.

“This whole weekend, we’ve had one of the best cars I’ve had here ever, honestly,” Jones said. “I put it in the back right there at the start, and that didn’t really help. I had to burn it up trying to get to the front. I think if we had started second, we probably could have held the wear out and had a shot at it at the end there.”

Last year’s winner of the PittLite 125, Eddie McDonald finished sixth after spinning early in the race. Austin Hill finished seventh, followed by Daniel Hemric who was making on his second start in the series. JJ Yeley finished fourth, and Rico Abreu rounded out the top-five.

Up next, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will visit Iowa Speedway on Saturday, May 16 for the Casey’s General Store 150.

PittLite 125 Results:
1.) #27 Kyle Benjamin
2.) #9 William Byron
3.) #34 Scott Heckert
4.) #3 Kaz Grala
5.) #33 Brandon Jones
6.) #71 Eddie McDonald
7.) #22 Austin Hill
8.) #20 Daniel Hemric
9.) #5 JJ Yeley
10.) #98 Rico Abreu
11.) #12 Gray Gaulding
12.) #31 David Garbo Jr.
13.) #15 Nick Drake
14.) #40 Travis Miller
15.) #04 Ronnie Bassett Jr.
16.) #14 Trey Hutchens
17.) #17 Chad Finchum
18.) #44 Dillon Bassett
19.) #49 John Holleman IV
20.) #18 Sarah Comett-Ching
21.) #42 Jay Beasley
22.) #7 Codie Rohrbaugh
23.) #19 Charles Buchanan
24.) #2 Collin Cabre
25.) #97 Jessie Little
26.) #51 Dalton Sargeant
27.) #4 Kenzie Ruston
28.) Devon Amos

NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Top-10 Point Standings:
1.) #9 William Byron 128
2.) #22 Austin Hill 125
3.) #27 Kyle Benjamin 119
4.) #12 Gray Gaulding 116
5.) #3 Kaz Grala 104
6.) #15 Nick Drake 104
7.) #51 Dalton Sargeant 101
8.) #34 Scott Heckert 100
9.) #98 Rico Abreu 96
10.) #31 David Garbo Jr. 95

Hunter Thomas
Hunter Thomas is a journalist who grew up in Darlington, S.C. His first motorsports-based endeavor was working as the Public Relations Director at Dillon Motor Speedway in Dillon, S.C., and his journalism start came while he was freelancing at his hometown newspaper, the News & Press while in college.

Hunter has been working within the NASCAR industry since 2010, and throughout the years, he has done everything from PR/Marketing for drivers and teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, to working at Rockingham Speedway. As a journalist, Hunter has covered everything from regional short tracks to NASCAR, ARCA Racing Series, World of Outlaws, Red Bull Global Rallycross, NHRA and much more.

Follow Hunter Thomas on Twitter by following, @HunterThomas08

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