Roush Fenway Racing Development Driver
A Dominant Showing...17-year-old Roush Fenway Racing development driver Kyle Benjamin won Saturday afternoon's NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Bristol Motor Speedway in a dominant showing, leading 81 of the event's 125 laps. The victory is the first for the Pro Series East Rookie of the Year candidate, coming three races into his first full NASCAR season.
The win also serves as his second top-five finish in that three-race span, ranking him third in the series point standings, a mere nine points behind the leader.
Key Moment...After starting eighth, Benjamin rhythmically picked off track position, placing himself third in the running order by lap 12. He took the race lead on lap 45 and never relinquished it.
Kyle Benjamin on His Win at Bristol:
"This is one of the toughest tracks on the schedule, and one you dream about winning at when you're a kid. It's a big confidence booster for us. Our car was pretty good. It was a better long-run car and that helped us get out front and restart in front of the field.
"I also want to think Roush Fenway and Ford for all the support they gave me."
For more information on Kyle Benjamin, please visit kylebenjamin.com.
About Benjamin Motorsports...Based in Easley, S.C., Benjamin Motorsports is a family-operated race team that competes in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and ARCA Series with support from NASCAR championship-winning organization Roush Fenway Racing. Owned by Steve Benjamin, the team has scored 16 victories and two regional championships in various Super Late Model divisions and one win, at Bristol Motor Speedway, in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series.
Kyle Benjamin, the youngest race winner in ARCA Series history and a development driver for seven-time NASCAR championship-winning organization Roush Fenway Racing, will run a full-season slate of NASCAR K&N Pro Series East races in 2015.
The 17-year-old driver will pilot a No. 27 Ford Fusion out of his family’s race shop in Easley, S.C. Kevin Reed, a race-winning crew chief in the ARCA Series, will serve in the same capacity for Benjamin’s team.
“This is shaping up to be a really big season for my family’s team and for me personally,” said Benjamin. “NASCAR’s K&N East Series is filled with young talent – it’s where the competition is – and I view 2015 as a chance to prove myself against some of the best young short track talent in the country.”
Though 2015 will be his first full season competing in a NASCAR-sanctioned series, Benjamin is familiar with the K&N East division. In his first K&N East start, he started and finished third at Dover International Speedway (Del.) in 2013. Benjamin is also a two-time race winner in the ARCA Series and has amassed 16 victories and two regional championships across various Super Late Model divisions. In 2013, he was voted by a panel of short track racing experts as Speed51.com’s “No. 1 Draft Pick” among racing’s top young drivers.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East begins its 14-race schedule on Sunday, Feb. 15 at New Smyrna Speedway (Fla.), where Benjamin claimed the World Series of Asphalt Super Late Model championship in 2012. The series will also travel to tracks such as Bristol (Tenn.), Richmond (Va.), Iowa, New Hampshire, Watkins Glen (N.Y.) and Dover, acting as companion events for NASCAR’s three national touring series.
For more information on Kyle Benjamin, please visit kylebenjamin.com.
About Benjamin Motorsports: Based in Easley, S.C., Benjamin Motorsports is a family-operated race team that competes in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and ARCA Series with support from NASCAR championship-winning organization Roush Fenway Racing. Owned by Steve Benjamin, the team has scored 16 victories and two regional championships in various Super Late Model divisions.
MADISON, Wis. (August 25, 2014) - In his debut ARCA Series race driving for his family team, Kyle Benjamin started from the last row and finished second Sunday at Madison International Speedway.
After his car showed top-five speed in practice Saturday, qualifying was canceled due to inclement weather. By rule, Sunday's field was lined up by owner points - which Benjamin's No. 37 Ford lacked completely. That didn't prevent the 16-year-old driver in his quest for a second win at the half-mile track, the first of which made him the youngest winner in ARCA history in 2013.
Benjamin, a development driver for Roush Fenway Racing, raced his way into the top five and, when the first- and second-place racecars suffered mechanical woes late in the 200-lap event, he capitalized, placing his Roush-Yates Engines-powered Ford in the runner-up spot by the time the checkered flag dropped late Sunday afternoon.
The second-place finish was his fourth finish of seventh or better in ARCA competition this year and his 10th career top-10 finish in 14 starts over the last two seasons.
KYLE BENJAMIN QUOTE:
"(Today) was like a test for us. I really have to thank [crew chief] Kevin Reed and my dad for giving me a great car. We were really good on long runs. That short run late in the race was tough on us. If we would have had 40 laps at the end, we might have been able to get a little closer."
IRVINGTON, Ala. (March 24, 2014) - Kyle Benjamin's first race with the No. 17 Roulo Bros. Racing team nearly ended with a win. Benjamin, who is already the youngest winner in ARCA Series history, continued his stellar track record in ARCA, notching a second-place finish Saturday afternoon at Mobile International Speedway.
After qualifying 10th, the 16-year-old Roush Fenway Racing development driver utilized 11 start/restart opportunities to pounce on track position. Aided by strong pit stops from his Roulo Bros. Racing crew, Benjamin was able to make gains on the close-quarters half-mile track without relying heavily on bump-and-run tactics.
Ironically, he also finished second in 2013 at Mobile, in what was his debut race in the ARCA Series. Benjamin has now accumulated five top-five finishes, which include two wins, in nine career ARCA starts.
KYLE BENJAMIN QUOTE:
"It was a really cool day for us. I thought the pit crew did a nice job and Gary (Roulo, crew chief) freed up the handling for me just enough. It was my first time tackling double-file restarts in ARCA today and I felt we were able to take advantage of them as best as we possibly could."
ABOUT KYLE BENJAMIN:
Kyle Benjamin (@kylebenjamin71) is a barnstorming Super Late Model driver, who is running a sweeping national slate of Late Model and ARCA Series races in 2014. Hailing from Easley, S.C., Benjamin scored 16 victories over the last three years across seven different racetracks. He was voted as the "Number One Pick" in the 2013 Speed51.com Short Track Draft by a panel of short track racing writers and analysts. For more information, please visit kylebenjamin.com.
CORNELIUS, N.C. (February 24, 2014) - 16-year-old racecar driver Kyle Benjamin, a development driver for Roush Fenway Racing, ended Speedweeks on the strongest possible note, winning the 100-lap Bruce Gowland Memorial last Saturday at New Smyrna Speedway, the final event for the Super Late Model division in the 48th annual World Series of Asphalt.
The victory was Benjamin's first this season - he collected 15, including two ARCA Series wins, in 2012 and 2013 - and came after a seven-race span in which he won two pole awards and collected six top-five finishes. His only outlying race happened to be his NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour debut last Tuesday on Daytona International Speedway's Battle at the Beach course, in which his night ended prematurely with a broken tie rod.
On Saturday, everything was smooth sailing for Benjamin, who was piloting his family-owned entry and took the lead from former NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Steve Wallace on lap 77 and never relented.
"This was pretty incredible," said Benjamin. "We fought handling issues all week, just trying to get the car perfect for some of the shorter races here. This is big for us. It's our first 100-lapper of the year and we went out and won it. Michael (Masters, crew chief) and everyone else here gave me a great ride tonight."
It was announced last weekend that Benjamin would compete in select ARCA events this season for Roulo Bros. Racing, as part of his affiliation with Roush Fenway Racing.
Kyle Benjamin (@kylebenjamin71) is a barnstorming Super Late Model driver, who is running a sweeping national slate of Late Model and ARCA Series races in 2014. Hailing from Easley, S.C., Benjamin scored 16 victories over the last three years across seven different racetracks. He was voted as the "Number One Pick" in the 2013 Speed51.com Short Track Draft by a panel of short track racing writers and analysts. For more information, please visit kylebenjamin.com.
Fifteen-year-old Kyle Benjamin went into the 2012 edition of the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway simply looking for some experience-building races over the course of nine nights. He went on to win three races and the “Smyrna Speedweeks” Super Late Model Championship.
Now as the defending series champion, Benjamin is returning to New Smyrna’s World Series armed with the title belt, the confidence from even more victories and championships from a successful 2012 Super Late Model campaign and a win at New Smyrna Speedway already in 2013 inthe Pete Orr Memorial 100.
“I’m looking forward to defending the Speedweeks title,” said Benjamin. “We have a lot of confidence going into the series after the win at the Pete Orr Memorial. We had a great car at that race and learned a few things to make us even better.
“I feel like we can compete for the win on a nightly basis, but it take a lot of luck to win the points for the series championship.”
Benjamin had originally not planned on running for a Smyrna World Series championship in 2012. But after finishing sixth in his first night out and by following that up with three straight feature wins, the then-14-year-old ran the rest of the series and was rewarded with the championship. He beat out current NASCAR phenom Kyle Larson to become the youngest Super Late Model Champion in the 46-year history of the New Smyrna World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing.
He then became the youngest winner in the brief history of the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Presented by Chevrolet Performance and the youngest winner in Winchester Speedway (IN) history when he won at the historic half mile in May of 2012. He also became the youngest winner to win a race in the ARCA/CRA Super Series when he scored the victory at Lucas Oil Raceway (IN) in July.
The 2013 racing season will see Benjamin make his debut in the ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards for Venturini Motorsports on March 9 at Mobile International Speedway (AL), in addition to a full slate of Super Late Model events.
“This year will be a lot like last season with the Late Model,” added Benjamin. “We plan on traveling around a little more this year and visit some new tracks. We’re going to put a lot of emphasis on the big races this year primarily.
“I’m really excited about the ARCA deal. We have teamed up with Venturini Motorsports for five races in 2013. I’ll get my first start at Mobile, a track that I’ve had a lot of success at in the Late Model. From there we’ll race Salem, Toledo, Winchester and Iowa.”
The 47th Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing kicks off at the half-mile New Smyrna Speedway in New Smyrna Beach, Florida on Friday, February 15. Racing action continues nightly through Saturday, February 24.
Kyle Benjamin is looking to do what only two other people have done before - take the Tom Dawson trophy back to South Carolina.
The Dawson trophy symbolizes the winner of the Snowball Derby at Five Flags speedway in Pensacola, Florida. Only Butch Lindley (1984) and Gene Morgan (1982) have pulled off this feat for the Palmetto State as Benjamin looks to be the third.
Considering the year Benjamin has had there is no thought that it can’t be done. The 16-year-old driver has already put himself on the national map as the top pick in the Speed51.com Short Track Draft. He followed that up with a pair of ARCA wins and six top 10’s in only eight starts. Along the way he was a Speedweeks winner, a Rattler 250 winner and even took his first Blizzard Series win at Five Flags Speedway.
He’ll look now to transferring a season’s worth of success into Pensacola for a run at a Snowball Derby victory.
“Five Flags hasn’t been my best track.,” said Benjamin, “We’ve have been trying some different setups and we were able to pull out a Blizzard win this year. The last race we didn’t run well because of mechanical problems, but I was very happy with the handling of the car. So I feel like we’ll have a fast car and a good combination for the race.”
Benjamin won his Blizzard race based on solid pit strategy and track position that put him out front for the final 50 laps where he could drive defensively and not aggressively. That proved to be a winning combination they would like to repeat, but at the Derby the tense strategy begins as soon as the cars hit the Pensacola half-mile.
“I’m a little concerned about pole night though,” added Benjamin.. “That’s definitely not my best qualifying track. We’ll work hard on getting a good qualifying lap so there isn’t so much work to do from the start of the race.”
The top 30 lock into the field and Benjamin was able to time in 17th on his way to a seventh-place finishin 2012. That was his first ever Snowball Derby after missing the show in 2011 as a raw Super Late Model rookie.
“Just about everyone racing in the Derby is strong. A Snowball Derby win would me a lot it is such a prestigious race. It is a really big deal to win.”
This is the first year in which Benjamin will focus only in the Snowball Derby and not both Derby and the Snowflake. The pressure of not running two cars will allow them to focus on the Derby.
“The Derby itself takes so much time to prepare for,” explained Benjamin. “ It takes about the same amount of time to prepare for and tune in for the Snowflake and we want to focus our efforts entirely on the Snowball Derby.”
Kyle Benjamin was looking for a top-10 finish in the All-American 400 at the Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville, but was involved in a late race accident that sent him back to a 17th place finish.
On lap 283, Benjamin was involved in a five-car tangle going into turn one. The car had front and rear end damage, but he was able to finish on the lead lap.
“We were struggling all weekend to find the balance on the car. We threw the kitchen sink at it,” Benjamin said. “We started 17th and were running 10th when the accident occurred.
“We had so much rear brake in the car because it was so tight. It was more than what I usually have. They checked up ahead of me and I hit the brakes and the car slid right up into Bubba Pollard. If he was not there, I still would have wrecked anyways. I feel bad that he was involved.”
Next up will be the 46th Annual Snowball Derby for the driver who just turned 16 this past Sunday.
“I am really looking forward to going back to Five Flags Speedway,” Benjamin said. “We won a Southern Super Series race there earlier this year and the last time we had a motor problem which we solved since then. We have a lot of confidence going into the Snowball Derby.”
The short track racing game requires just as much luck as it does skill. Kyle Benjamin doesn’t lack any talent, that’s not the issue. But in a test of endurance in one of the most grueling races in the country, the Winchester 400, luck plays a big part in the level of success after the race. That was the part that the 15-year-old Benjamin lacked on October 13 at Winchester.
Still, Benjamin and his abilities were overcoming the lack of luck throughout the weekend on the Eastern Indiana high banks. A broken suspension part kept the No. 71 from a better qualifying effort than 16th. On the pace laps of Sunday’s 400-lap main event, the two-way radio in his car malfunctioned, forcing Benjamin to start the race from the rear.
Undaunted by the early bad luck, Benjamin wheeled his racecar through the field with a vengeance. He got up to the lead just after halfway, proving he had a race-winning car under him.
The lead was short-lived, however, as the bad luck struck again. Contact from another driver trying to take the lead away cut a tire and rippedapart body panels on Benjamin’s racecar. That incident got Benjamin off sequence with the leaders and there just wasn’t enough time to make up the laps lost due to the incident and repairs. Benjamin crossed beneath the checkered flag in 14th, a result that did not reflect just how strong Benjamin’s Winchester effort was.
“We had a really good car when we took the lead,” said Benjamin. “Unfortunately another driver cut our tire down. We went to the back and stopped to go one lap down instead of going four laps down. We just couldn’t recover from there. We had a lot of damage from him ripping the door off and cutting the left-rear tire. After that, the car wasn’t handling right.
We got caught by the leaders because we couldn’t pit. We had a good car if that hadn’t happened.”
Benjamin now will look to get back to his winning ways in the next major Super Late Model event of the season, the 29th Annual All American 400 at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (TN) November 1-2.
“I’m excited about Nashville,” added Benjamin. “We had a good car there last time and if we can get some luck, I think we’ll have a good run there too.”
15-year-old Kyle Benjamin placed third in his NASCAR K&N Pro Series East debut last Friday at Dover International Speedway in a come-from-behind effort on the fast concrete mile track.
Driving for Ken Schrader Racing, Benjamin qualified his No. 52 RainEater Wiper Blades-sponsored entry third and led three laps before experiencing mechanical issues that caused him to lose spots in the running order. A halfway break allowed his KSR crew to identify the problem and alleviate it for the second half of the race. Benjamin drove from 10th to a finish of third in the final 75 laps.
“We had a really good car,” said Benjamin. “We started off extremely loose at the beginning and towards the end the car got really tight, but the RainEater Wiper Blades car was really good today overall.
“The Monster Mile has a lot of speed, definitely the fastest I’ve gone (in a racecar) which wasn’t really too big of a problem. It was a lot of fun.”
His remaining slate of races includes four prestigious short track racing events: the Winchester 400 at Winchester Speedway, the Governor’s Cup 200 at New Smyrna Speedway, the All American 400 at the Nashville Fairgrounds and the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla.
Kyle Benjamin is a barnstorming 15-year-old Super Late Model driver, who has run a sweeping national slate of Late Model and ARCA Series races in 2013. Hailing from Easley, S.C., Benjamin scored six Super Late Model victories in 2012 across four different racetracks: Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, Winchester Speedway, Mobile International Speedway and New Smyrna Speedway. He was voted as the “Number One Pick” in the 2013 Speed51.com Short Track Draft by a panel of short track racing writers and analysts.
Kyle Benjamin is getting a big learning experience at the age of 15 this year. This Friday, he will add a start in the NASCAR K&N Pro East Series to his already-impressive racing resume. Benjamin will make his K&N debut at the “Monster Mile” of Dover International Speedway in the Ken Schrader Racing No. 52.
“I can’t wait to go to Dover later this week,” said Benjamin. “That place looks really cool. I’m hoping to go and keep all of the fenders on the car and finish up front.”
The Easley, South Carolina driver has been successful in a variety of stock cars this year. Earlier this year he won the Rattler 250 Super Late Model race and recently won a Southern Super Series/Blizzard Series event at Five Flags Speedway.
He also has made waves in the ARCA Series presented by Menards by winning two of the last three events for Venturini Motorsports. He became the youngest driver in ARCA history to win a race when he went to victory lane at Wisconsin’s Madison International Speedway and his second win just came recently at Salem Speedway in Salem, Indiana.
Having the ARCA experience under his belt should help ease the learning curve when the 15-year-old gets to Dover’s high banks for the Drive Sober 150 this Friday.
“Both cars are about the same with the only difference is that the K&N cars have a little less horsepower,” Benjamin said. “The big thing is getting used to the track as quickly as I can so we can make the right adjustments for the race.”
Benjamin has yet to compete at Dover, but will have the experience of crew chief Donnie Richeson atop his pit box. To get even more exposure to Dover before strapping into the RainEater Wiper Blades No. 52, Benjamin has been doing a lot of iRacing on the track to try to get some experience.
“It almost appears that Dover almost has some of the same characteristics like Mobile International Speedway in Alabama,” Benjamin said. “That is a high-banked half-mile oval that I have raced on with my Super Late Model and my ARCA car.”
Dover’s fast concrete surface has intimidated many racers over the years - enough to earn the “Monster Mile” moniker. But don’t count Benjamin as one of those intimidated drivers.
“I am more excited than nervous about going up there to race,” Benjamin said. “This has been an awesome year for me. We have had a lot of good runs in good cars and had a variety of different opportunities. I can’t wait to get up there.”
The Drive Sober 150 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East event will get the green flag at 4:45pm ET on Friday, September 27.
Kyle Benjamin made another visit to Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida this past Friday night to compete in the Southern Super Series/Blizzard Series event. The Easley, SC driver was looking for another victory after winning the most recent event at the half-mile in late July.
The 15-year-old and his team returned Five Flags to find that the track conditions weren’t the same when he picked up the Southern Super Series/Blizzard Series win back in July.
“The difference between now and then is that the track picked up about three-tenths of a second,” Benjamin said. “We had enough motor last time but not enough this time.”
Benjamin started 10th and finished eighth in the Buddy’s Home Furnishings 125.
“We had a good car all night, but it didn’t seem like we had any drive off the corners,” added Benjamin. “It felt like the motor wouldn’t pull at all. It handled well in the corners but we would lose so much ground down the straightaways.”
He was looking forward to heading over to Mobile International Raceway the next night, but that event was rained out and has been rescheduled for Saturday, October 5.
Kyle Benjamin picked up the ARCA Series Presented by Menards victory this past Saturday night at Salem Speedway in Salem, Indiana. It was the second ARCA win in his last three starts for the 15-year-old from Easley, NC.
Benjamin took the lead from Kyle Weatherman with eight laps to go to take home the win at the fast high-banked half-mile oval.
“We had a good car all day, but it was a little on the loose side which helped us in the race,” Benjamin said. “The other cars were getting tight and we were good on long runs. Kevin Reed (crew chief) made an awesome call on the last pit stop to get me two tires. Those two new tires were able to get me by Weatherman for the win.
“Weatherman and I had good race going all night. We would battle back and forth. I would get a car length on him and then he would get a car length on me. We were pretty equal all night. He was on older tires near the end and I had those two new right tires.”
Benjamin and Weatherman swapped the lead back and forth over the final 135 laps of the 200-lap event.
So far this season, Benjamin has made eight starts in the series with two wins, four top-five and six top-10 finishes and one pole award in ARCA competition.
“I have to thank everyone at Venturini Motorsports for giving me an awesome car on Saturday night,” Benjamin said. “They have given me some awesome cars all year and Kevin Reed has been a great crew chief to work with. He made the right call at the end to get us the victory. Thanks to Billy Venturini and the entire team for a great night.”
It was only his second visit to Salem Speedway.
“Salem Speedway is an awesome fast track to race around. Turns three and four remind me of the turns at Winchester Speedway where you just burp the engine in the corners in order to get a lot of speed out of the corner,” Benjamin explained. “It almost feels like you are shot out of a cannon.”
Benjamin led the most laps as he was on top of the leaderboard for 70 of the 200 laps after starting fourth in the event.
Kyle Benjamin will get behind the wheel of his Super Late Model for the Southern Super Series Gulf Coast Weekend this Friday at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida and Mobile International Raceway in Mobile, Alabama on Saturday night.
Learning fast has been the name of the game for Kyle Benjamin. A first-time ARCA winner in his most recent start at Madison (WI), Benjamin teamed back up with Venturini Motorsports on September 7 at Iowa Speedway looking to make it two in a row.
Although things didn’t work out for a return to victory lane, Benjamin could hold his head high as he posted a strong finish in the top five once again in his first visit to the Iowa. His fifth-place finish marked his third top five of the year and fifth top 10 in seven starts.
“We never got the car perfect,” said Benjamin. “We made adjustments to fix the loose conditions that we had early in the race. I really liked the track with the different racing line and grooves. It was a lot of fun to be running the those speeds.”
The 2013 season for Benjamin is almost in the books as he will make his final ARCA series start at Salem Speedway (IN) on Saturday, September 14th. Benjamin is looking improve on his 11th place run at Salem in the spring. He did start the race from the front row.
“Everywhere we go we have been fast,” said Benjamin. “I’d want to end the season in victory lane for a second time. I know our cars are good we just have to avoid the bad luck.”
Along the way the Easley, SC driver has led laps in four races for a total of 190 overall. He has an average starting position of 3.0 and a finish of 8.1.
Benjamin will once again pilot the number 15 Venturini Motorsports Toyota on the Salem high banks for the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 by Federated Car Care.
At the age of 15, Kyle Benjamin showed maturity beyond his years Sunday as he broke through to become the youngest winner ever in the ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards. Benjamin led the final 130 laps of the Herr’s Live Life With Flavor 200 at Madison International Speedway in Oregon, Wisconsin behind the wheel of the
Venturini Motorsports No. 15 Toyota. Having already won numerous races in Super Late Models throughout the country, Sunday’s win at Madison brought Benjamin’s career to a whole new level.
“It is the biggest win in my whole life so far,” Benjamin said with a huge smile on his face in victory lane. “It is cool to come out to a track like this that is so technical and it really is a driver’s track. It’s one of the few where if you are off your mark a little bit, you are done. If you miss the bottom, it is going to cost you. There is a lot a driver can do behind the wheel to get it done here and I like tracks like that. This one definitely a unique one.”
Benjamin inherited the lead on lap 70 after he stayed on track instead of pitting during the second caution of the event. He would go on to lead the final 130 green-flag laps to his first victory in his sixth start with the series.
“When (the crew) told me there were 70 laps to go, I said there is no way this is going to go 70 laps without a caution,” Benjamin recalled. “I started to think, I might have to save tires and prepare for a restart. Then they said 30 to go and I said this is too good to be true. With 20 to go, I was counting it down in the back of my head. I did not want there to be a caution.”
Benjamin would eventually pull away from Ross Kenseth in the late going of the race, while fellow Venturini Motorsports racer Justin Boston rallied to second. At the checkers, Benjamin held on by a margin of 7.090 seconds over Boston for the win.
“I was saving my brakes and that is a big thing here at Madison,” Benjamin said. “I was trying to keep the heat out of the right-front and trying not to wear out the right-front too. I was letting off real early just in case of a restart. I was saving everything just for a restart and taking care of my car.”
With this being his biggest win so far in his young career, Benjamin was glad to do it with the team assembled at Venturini Motorsports.
“They are great guys. I figured it was a matter of time with them,” Benjamin said. “Kevin Reed is such a great crew chief as you saw in this race. He gave me the perfect adjustment to get back out there and do what I needed to do to get to the front and win the race. Billy Venturini is one of the best team owners ever. He is really funny and fun to be around. He brings the mood up at the racetrack. You couldn’t ask for a better group of guys to be around.”
Benjamin’s name will also be in the record books as the youngest winner in ARCA history. Current NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver James Buescher held the record when he won at USA International Raceway in Lakeland, Florida in 2007, just two days shy of his 16th birthday. Benjamin turns 16 in November.
Benjamin’s next ARCA Series presented by Menards event will be Saturday, September 7 at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa.
“We’ve got Iowa Speedway next and that should be fun. I already sat in my car for that event and it looks nice and fast,” Benjamin said. “I hope it is fast as it looks.”
Kyle Benjamin used a seventh-place finish in his most recent Super Late Model race, the 30th Annual World Crown 300 at Georgia’s Gresham Motorsports Park, to build some momentum moving towards his next ARCA Racing Series start. Benjamin will be back behind the wheel of a Venturini Motorsports entry in the August 25 Herr’s Live Life With Flavor 200 ARCA event at Madison International Speedway in Wisconsin. The 15-year-old has been ever-so-close to victories in several ARCA starts this season and now has hopes that he will be able to break through into victory lane at the Wisconsin half-mile.
“I’m definitely looking forward to running the ARCA race at Madison,” said Benjamin, who has never made a start at Madison before in ARCA or Late Models. “From looking at pictures of the track, it looks like it is close to New Smyrna Speedway, which I have had a lot of success at. I can’t wait to go and race there.”
Fresh off a victory in the Southern Super Series at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida, Benjamin and his team ventured to the SSS event at Gresham Motorsports Park, the World Crown 300, and had a solid effort with a seventh-place finish.
The strong run was on pace for an even better result, though, but a lack of late-race cautions that would have allowed the No. 71 team to put on their best set of tires kept Benjamin from battling for the win.
“We had a good car, but the cautions didn’t go our way,” said Benjamin. “We ended up not having the tires the leader had at the end witch caused us to go a lap down. At the end of the race we had 200 laps on our tires and a full set left in the pits. Most everyone else had used all of their tires. If we would’ve had a caution with 50 to go, we would’ve been hard to beat.”
The Herr’s Live Live With Flavor 200 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards will go green on Sunday, August 25 at Madison International Speedway. The race will air on NBC Sports Network on August 29 at 11pm ET.
Kyle Benjamin picked up his first Southern Super Series win this past Friday night at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida. After almost two years of ever-so-close attempts at cracking into Five Flags victory lane, finally the 15-year-old was able to earn his first Super Late Model win at the home of the Snowball Derby.
“This is probably one of my more satisfying wins in my career,” Benjamin said. “Five Flags Speedway has been a challenging track for us over the last two years and we finally got over that hurdle.”
An invert at the 75-lap break helped Benjamin get the win on the tough half-mile oval.
“Bubba Pollard and Daniel Hemric were real strong in the beginning and our car felt good,” Benjamin recalled. “At the break, we made some changes and the car was so much better in the second half. In fact, it was the best my car has ever felt at Five Flags.
“This was a huge breakthrough for our team. We tested two days before the event and that really helped us. We got some real good notes and now we feel like we have a good baseline setup. We have one more Southern Super Series event at Five Flags before the Snowball Derby to improve on those and get some real good notes for the big event in December.”
Tire management, as it almost always is at Five Flags, was a key to Benjamin’s success Friday.
“We put on two right side tires during the break. Along with our adjustments, the car was better and starting up front didn’t hurt,” Benjamin said. “You had real good grip in the tires for about 10 laps to where if anyone really wanted to make a run, you had to do it then because the tires drop off a little after 10 laps, but we were still running faster lap times than the first half.”
Not only was the win satisfying because it was at Five Flags Speedway, but it was also a combination Southern Super Series/Blizzard Series event.
“There is real good talent that comes and race in both series,” Benjamin exclaimed. “There are at least 10 drivers that can win any event. Winning a race in these series is a big deal, especially at Five Flags Speedway where Bubba Pollard knows his way around this place. This felt good.”
Benjamin plans on competing in the World Crown 300 on August 10 at Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson, Georgia. He will then return to the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards on August 25 at Madison International Speedway in Oregon, Wisconsn.
Kyle Benjamin picked up two more top 10 finishes this past weekend as he and his team competed in back-to-back Southern Super Series events. He finished sixth on Friday night at Five Flags Speedway (FL) and third on Saturday night at Mobile International Speedway (AL).
On Friday night, the Easley, NC driver qualified ninth for the 125-lap event at the famous half-mile oval in Pensacola, FL. He struggled most of the night in the latter half of the top-10, but held on to a ninth place finish.
Benjamin and his team traveled about an hour west to the half-mile track located outside of Mobile, AL.
He qualified fifth for the 125-lap event where he stayed in the top-five all night.
In the closing laps, he challenged John Hunter Nemechek for second where he was able to get on the inside of him with two laps to go, but Nemechek had momentum on the outside and would hold off Benjamin for the runner-up spot.
“We had a pretty good car all night,” Benjamin said after the race. “Everybody was so close, that it was hard to get track position. We rode around the top-five for a while. The car came around towards the end of the first half. We took on two tires at the break and about 30 laps into the final run, the car came around again about 30 laps in to the run and we ran down John Hunter Nemechek.
“I thought I was going to have enough to get by John Hunter Nemechek but came up short,” Benjamin said. “It was a lot of fun racing with him but he was better off of turn four and I couldn’t get by him for second.”
Benjamin will be back behind the wheel of a Venturini Motorsports ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards car this upcoming weekend at Elko Speedway in Elko, MN.
Easley, SC (May 6, 2013): The Sell It Again Sam 125 Presented by Great Deals Magazine for the ARCA/CRA Super Series Powered by JEGS at Anderson Speedway in Anderson, Indiana on May 4th was the first time 15-year-old Kyle Benjamin had ever seen the fast quarter-mile oval in Central Indiana. He and his Benjamin Motorsports team were at Anderson to get seat time for the Redbud 300 in July, which is part of the possible $100,000 JEGS Triple Crown. He left the tight bullring with a second place finish and a notebook full of notes.
“That was my first time racing at Anderson, but it’s probably one of the most fun race tracks I’ve been to,” said Benjamin. “We felt like we were pretty good with some minor adjustments to what we unloaded with. We still threw a lot of different setups at it in practice to see what worked best. We didn’t have the speed we were hoping for in qualifying, but ended up real close for the race.”
Benjamin qualified seventh quick for the race and when Fast Qualifier and eventual race winner, T.J. Reaid drew the maximum inversion of an eight. That placed Benjamin on the outside of the front row for the drop of the green flag and Benjamin shot to the lead on the first lap with his No. 71 ride. He lost the lead a lap later, but gained it back on lap 43. He held on there for a while until eventual winner Reaid overtook him. Benjamin fought tooth and nail with Reaid the rest of the event, but Benjamin wound up settling for second.
“I tried to save what I could in the race, but had to get up on the wheel for most of it. I needed to turn a little better in the center to run with TJ. I got on the outside of him for the three-lap shootout and had a shot as long as I could stay there. He kind of ran me up the track in turn one on the final lap and I had to get out of it and fall in line. We’re pretty happy with second for our first time there. The important thing is that we will know what direction to go for the Redbud later this season.”
The next race overall on the calendar for Benjamin will be back in the ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards is at the famed half-mile Toledo Speedway in Ohio for the running of the Menards 200 Presented by Federated Car Care on Sunday afternoon, May 19th. This will be the third of six scheduled starts for Benjamin with Venturini Motorsports.
Kyle Benjamin has owned the early part of the 2013 racing season. He has nabbed six wins, and finished either first or second in all but one event he has competed in prior to the Southern Super Series opener on Saturday. Benjamin started third, and quickly established himself as one of the top cars in the field at historic Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, before a rare engine issue forced the No. 71 to head for the garage early. Benjamin was officially scored in the 22nd spot.
“We had a really good car tonight, but I don’t think that we had anything for Bubba (Pollard, race winner),” said Benjamin. “A couple laps after a restart, the motor just blew sky high. I think it is the first motor issue we have ever had in the Super (Late Model), so that is a plus I guess.”
Benjamin also said that the troubles at Nashville did not alter his confidence in himself or his team.
“Our crew just works so well together,” said Benjamin. “Our cars have been not so good at times, and they have been able to make them good. They make it easy for me because the cars are always so good.”
Benjamin and No. 71 team will take a short rest before returning to the track in two weeks at Toledo Speedway in Ohio for an ARCA/CRA Super Series event. The trip to Toledo will mark Benjamin’s first ever trip to the high-banked oval.
“I am looking forward to going up there,” said Benjamin. “It has a lot of speed and should be a lot of fun.”
Two of Kyle Benjamin’s most vivid racing memories have occurred on the front stretch of South Alabama Speedway.
In 2012, Benjamin wound up on his roof after flipping down the front stretch while battling for the win in the prestigious Rattler 250. A second and far better memory came Sunday when the 15-year-old took a knee in South Alabama’s victory lane, draped a live Rattlesnake around his neck and flashed winning smile after capturing the checkers in the 37th Annual Rattler 250.
Throughout the weekend in Opp, Alabama, Benjamin had one word in mind and in his car: redemption.
“I call this win right here redemption,” said Benjamin. “It is a great turnaround from last year, definitely. We had a good car last year too, but landed on our lid. The whole team did a great job all weekend and the pit strategy by Freddie (Query, Benjamin’s crew chief) was awesome.”
Benjamin started third and ran with the leaders throughout the early stages of the 250-lap Super Late Model event. He pitted during a caution flag period at lap 94, just six laps prior to a competition yellow. Query keyed the radio and told Benjamin to pit now, allowing them to have track position over the drivers that pitted under the competition break.
By the time the competition caution came, the leaders pitted and gave the top spot to Benjamin.
“That strategy was just awesome,” said Benjamin. “He figured it out where we could put four tires on almost every time and that was huge. It came down to the end, and I am super happy with the way things worked out. The entire crew did an awesome job.”
Benjamin out-hustled veteran Casey Smith on a restart with fewer than 40 laps to go to get in position for the win. The young South Carolina driver dove to the bottom of the race track in turn three on lap 223, after trying to work by Smith for several laps, for the final lead change of the day.
Over the later stages of the event, Benjamin checked his rear view mirror and saw a familiar foe inching towards him, Stephen Nasse. Benjamin and Nasse dueled against one another nightly during the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway last month and went toe-to-toe for the win again on Sunday.
Nasse and Benjamin traded quick laps over the last run of the race, as Benjamin’s newfound rival began to inch close to the rear bumper of the No. 71. Benjamin held off Nasse and pulled away down the stretch to capture the win, despite two broken wheel studs on the right-front.
“I never ever knew those were broken,” said Benjamin. “It never vibrated one time. I thought Nasse was going to get us because I was getting really tight in the center. They told me on the radio that I had a big lead, so I guess he got loose or something. I’m just so happy to get this win.”
Benjamin is riding a big wave of momentum in to the 2013 racing season, having already scored six wins this season. In addition to his success in Late Models, Benjamin scored a second-place finish in his ARCA Racing Series debut last week at Mobile International Speedway in Alabama.
“It has been an awesome start,” Benjamin said. “I am excited to see what the year holds for us.”
Benjamin’s next trip to the track comes April 6, when he will kick off the inaugural season of the Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco at the historic Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville in Tennessee.
Team PR - On the heels of their dramatic ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season opening victory at Daytona, Venturini Motorsports (VMS) shifted gears and turned their attention to short track racing this weekend at Mobile International Speedway.
Saturday’s VMS entry list for the ARCA Mobile 200 consisted of ARCA championship contender, Justin Boston, Venezuelan native, Milka Duno and a pairof teenagers making their ARCA debuts, 15 year-old Kyle Benjamin and 17 year-oldTaylor Ferns.. Kyle Benjamin, a native of Easley, S.C., has caught the attention of the racing world with performances well beyond his 15 years.
Living up to the pre-race hype, Benjamin delivered the goods. Driving his No.15 “The Truth Band” sponsored Chevrolet; Benjamin showcased his raw talent and battled veteran drivers, en-route to a second-place finish in his highly anticipated ARCA debut.
“What an experience to come here in the ARCA car and accomplish what we did in our first race out,” said Benjamin. “Venturinis gave me a great car and the team worked hard all weekend. They did a great job and Kevin (Reed) made great calls on the pit box. We had an almost flawless day.”
Benjamin, who qualified fourth, battled race winner, Grant Enfinger for the top spot leading a total of 26-laps during the race. Benjamin’s second-place finish earned him SCOTT Rookie Challenge honors for the ARCA Mobile 200.
Coming off a near perfect showing with four wins and seven fast-time awards in his Super Late Model last month at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway, Benjamin made more headlines this weekend by becoming the youngest competitor in the 61 years of ARCA racing.
Benjamin, driving part-time for VMS in 2013 will make his next start at Salem Speedway on April 28th.
23-year old driver, Justin Boston, driving the No.25 ZLOOP Computer & Electronics Recycling Toyota rebounded nicely from a disappointing 31st place finish at Daytona with a solid sixth place finish at Mobile.
“Today’s race is exactly what we needed after our Daytona finish. Rebounding and getting a solid finish under our belt was important for this year’s championship run,” said Boston.
Justin Boston, a native of Baltimore, Maryland is focused on a full season effort in the ARCA series.
Qualifying ninth, Boston kept his sleek looking ZLOOP Toyota in the top-10 the entire day. With a limited stock-car racing resume the former motocross racer continues to impress his new team and adjust to his new surroundings within his 3,400 lb. stock car.
“The car was good all day long and I think we’ll be even better when we bring the car back to the track. Can’t thank ZLOOP and VMS enough for giving me the opportunity to represent them both. I plan on doing my part with strong finishes for all their hard work.”
Boston looks to build on his recent success and carry it over to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series this weekend where he’ll be fielding the No.25 VMS entry at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Another impressive debut was turned in by Shelby, Michigan’s, Taylor Ferns. Ferns, the all-time leading feature winner among women in United States Automobile Club (USAC) history made a strong impression with her solid 10th place finish.
With her sights set on a top-5 finish, Ferns was running in the 6th position with 12 laps to go before a hard charging car spun her going into turn one. Keeping her composure, Ferns got back in line to salvage her inspiring ARCA debut.
“My first ARCA race…that was awesome,” said the energetic Ferns. “I had a great car and learned a bunch from the guys on the team, especially my chief, Kevin Caldwell. I’ve still got a lot to learn as I’m transitioning from open-wheel to stock cars. I’m not use to shifting on the restarts, so I definitely need to work on that part, but overall, a great day for our team.”
Ferns, who qualified fifth, drove an impressive race behind the wheel of her No.55 Motor City Auto Transport Toyota. Following suit with teammates Benjamin and Boston, Ferns showed consistency and proved she’ll be a driver the ARCA field will have to contend with every time she hits the track.
Ferns, the 2011 USAC Mopar D1 Midget Champion, is scheduled to make six more starts in the ARCA Racing Series this year, with entries at Toledo, Elko, and Iowa Speedways. She will also race at larger tracks such as Pocono Raceway and Kentucky Speedway, and compete in the Labor Day dirt race at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds.
Caracas, Venezuela driver, Milka Duno who signed on with VMS during the off-season made her return to Mobile this weekend driving her No.35 CANTV/Milka Way Chevrolet.
Coming off her career best qualifying effort at Daytona (outside pole position), Milka Duno drove a solid race Saturday afternoon taking the checkered flag in the 14th position, giving VMS four top-15 finishes in the 200-lap event.
Duno, who qualified 17th for the ARCA Mobile 200 consistently picked up speed throughout the day gaining valuable short track experience which will undoubtedly provide more confidence going into ARCA’s next event at Salem Speedway on April 28th.
With nearly a month off before the next scheduled ARCA event Venturini Motorsports looks ahead to next weekend where they’ll be pulling double duty at Bristol Motor Speedway, fielding Justin Boston in the NASCAR K&N East Pro Series event and making their team debut in the NASCAR Nationwide Series with Daytona winner, John Wes Townley behind the wheel of the No.25 Zaxby’s Toyota.
Already in 2013, young Kyle Benjamin has turned heads in the racing world with performances well beyond his 15 years. This week at Mobile International Speedway in Alabama, Benjamin will become the youngest competitor in 61 years of ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards competition. Benjamin earned four wins and seven fast-time awards in super late model action at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing just weeks ago at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway. With Venturini Motorsports this week, the Easley, S.C. driver will aim for more success and his first ARCA win in Venturini Motorsports’ No. 15 The Truth Band Chevrolet. While he’s a rookie by series standards, Benjamin is no stranger at Mobile’s high-banked, half-mile oval. Last year, he competed in each race of the five-leg Miller Lite Super Late Model Series at the track, winning on April 28 and finishing second on June 23. The year before, he competed three times in pro late model action, winning once.
“I’ve been there a handful of times in a late model and won a few races, so I have a fair amount of laps on the track,” said Benjamin, who will follow his debut with ARCA races later this season at Toledo, Winchester, and Iowa Speedways. “ARCA cars are obviously different than late models so I have some things to learn. They’re both really hard to drive, just in different ways. The ARCA car handles completely different. They’re both competitive, so it’s a huge learning deal that’s going on now. I’ll have to learn everything, how the car falls off, what happens when the tires wear, all that stuff.”
Benjamin and his Venturini teammates were among a group of over 10 drivers who tested at Mobile Saturday to gain extra seat time before the Mobile ARCA 200.
“In race runs, our car was stout,” he said. “It didn’t seem to drop off as fast as everybody else, so I’m pretty excited about the race.”
Last season, Venturini driver Erik Jones made his ARCA debut at Mobile, becoming the series’ youngest competitor at 15 years, 284 days. Born on November 3, 1997, Benjamin will make his first series start even earlier, at 15 years, 126 days. Jones started third and led 14 laps in his debut, and Benjamin feels he can contend in the same way.
“We wouldn’t go if we didn’t think we could win the race,” he said. “Obviously, it’s going to be tough because I’m still learning a lot every time I get in the car. Everybody in the ARCA Racing Series is really experienced, so we’ll see how it goes. I feel like I’ve proven myself in a late model and I want to do the same in an ARCA car.”
Benjamin said Venturini teammates Justin Boston, Taylor Ferns, and Brennan Poole have been helpful in his development and transition to ARCA competition. Poole ran the full season last year and has four series wins. Boston made his debut at Daytona last month, and Ferns is joining Benjamin in a debut effort this Saturday.
“They’ve been nice to me and have given me information to help me transfer into the ARCA car and speed up the learning process.”
If Benjamin’s recent history - the New Smyrna success, ARCA CRA Super Series victories in the prestigious Watermelon 100 super late model race and at Lucas Oil Raceway last year, and the 2012 ARCA CRA Super Series Southern Tour championship - are any indication, that learning process may very well move through Victory Lane at Mobile International Speedway.
Benjamin’s race sponsor, rock band The Truth, will kick off the Mobile ARCA 200 weekend at the Home Mortgage of America Green Flag Party this Thursday, March 7. The party will take place at Grand Central on Dauphin St. in downtown Mobile. The Truth vocalist Ayesha Scott will perform the national anthem for Saturday’s race.
Two 45-minute practices are scheduled for Friday at Mobile International Speedway, beginning at 2:30 and 4:15 p.m. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell is scheduled for that evening, at 7 p.m. Benjamin and the rest of the ARCA Racing Series field will participate in an on-track autograph session at noon Saturday, just before the 200-lap, 100-mile race at 2 p.m. All times listed are Central.
About Venturini Motorsports
Venturini Motorsports (VMS), fielding cars for over 30 years in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, is one of the premier NASCAR driver development programs in the country. With multiple team championships and consistent on-track success, VMS has evolved into one of the most recognizable names in motorsports. Since 2007, VMS has assisted in the career development of notable NASCAR drivers such as Joey Logano, Justin Allgaier, Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, Brian Scott, Kevin Swindell, Miguel Paludo, John Wes Townley, Josh Richards, and Ryan Reed. In 2012, VMS was inducted into the National Italian Sports Hall of Fame, and 2013 will highlight the team’s debut in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
About the TRUTH Band
National Recording Artists, THE TRUTH BAND, formed in Pittsburgh, PA by lead vocalist and guitarist Paul Benson, brings a driving rock and roll sound back to the forefront from the days when bands rocked arenas. This eclectic group of musicians’ debut album, “Can’t Let Go”, was produced by Kid Rock’s Kenny Olson and features original songs written by the band and co-writers Jeff Thurston and legendary, number one song writer Bernie Nelson. Founder, Paul Benson has had a passion and uncanny musical ability from a very young age. Both Paul, a veteran performer of the big stage, and drummer Josh Gerba, a road warrior, have performed hundreds of live shows with various bands. Shayne MacLaughlin brings the distinct guitar sound Paul has been searching for. Beautiful and multi-talented vocalist Ayesha Scott, who joined Paul after several guest appearances on his live shows, has been collaborating on music and lyrics ever since, gelling their musical styles together to form the sound of The Truth. The band will be touring this summer with the ARCA Racing Series, serving as the official ‘Music Partner” of Venturini Motorsports and has a full fall college tour scheduled. www.TheTruthRacing.com
Kyle Benjamin started the 2013 season much like he did in 2012. For the second-straight year, Benjamin won the most races of any driver during the eight-race World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway. In 2012, he turned the February Speedweeks success into a breakout season full of victories in the Midwest and Southeast.
Now the 15-year-old is looking to turn the four wins and seven fast-time awards he earned in this year’s eight Super Late Model events at New Smyrna into another head-turning season in both Late Models and the ARCA Racing Series.
“It was an even more fun week at New Smyrna this year than it was last year,” said Benjamin. “I’m proud of my team that we were able to win half of the Super Late Model races down here. My guysworked hard all week and we kept improving each night. Those guys, plus Hamner Racing Engines, Advanced Racing Suspensions and ARbodies, all helped get us to the front each night.”
Benjamin’s four wins came in four consecutive nights of Super Late Model action.
“It was tough racing all week down here, but it was great seat time for us going forward this season,” added Benjamin. “I learned a lot every night and I think that will help keep us going through the rest of the year.”
Benjamin had a shot at winning a fifth consecutive Super Late Model race in the division’s 100-lap finale on Saturday, February 23. The Easley, South Carolina racer battled door-to-door with Florida racing star Travis Cope for the week’s most prestigious victory, only to come up just a few inches short of victory.
“Even though we came up just a bit short of winning the 100-lapper, it was probably the most fun I had all week,” said Benjamin. “It was definitely the hardest I had to work all week. I gave it all I had, but Travis did a great job. There were a lot of great drivers in the field and finishing second was something I can definitely be proud of.”
The next step in Benjamin’s racing career will be made on Saturday, March 9, when he competes in his first-ever ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards event at Mobile International Speedway in Alabama. Benjamin’s first ARCA event will come behind the wheel of a Venturini Motorsports entry and will make him the youngest driver ever to compete in the series. The Mobile event will be the first of four scheduled ARCA races for Benjamin with the Venturini team.
There’s no better way to start a racing season then to come out of the box with a visit to victory lane, especially when it’s one of the bigger races to start any race year anywhere in the country.
Fifteen-year-old Kyle Benjamin not only took the checkered flag first in the Pete Orr Memorial Orange Blossom 100 at New Smyrna Speedway in New Smyrna Beach, Florida on January 19th, but he led all 100 laps in doing so.
“I’m happy we got the pole with such a good field here. It really took the pressure off of us from the start,” Benjamin stated in victory lane. “I got to set my own pace and everyone else was just riding at the start, but when they all started going hard, I honestly didn’t know if I had anything left in the car. But we held on down the stretch with some really good cars coming for me there at the end. To win our first race of the year in our first start is a great way to kick off the season.”
After timing in fourth quickest of the 21 cars on hand, the redraw amongst the top 10 qualifiers would see the Easley, South Carolina teenager draw the first starting position. Benjamin, the 2012 New Smyrna World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing Super Late Model Champion, jumped out to a huge lead right from the start 100-lap feature at the high-banked half-mile New Smyrna Speedway.
After the first caution flew on lap 16 and from each restart on, Benjamin would utilize the outside groove in the double-file restarts to use the momentum from the high side to keep the lead away from Matt Tifft and then from Florida racing standouts Rich Clouser, Stephen Nasse and Travis Cope.
A red flag period allowed the other contenders to get to Benjamin’s back bumper late in the race, but Benjamin was not going to be denied.
“That red flag certainly helped as it cooled off the right front and I could go,” added Benjamin. “I was able to get a pretty big lead over them, which I didn’t expect at all. We were defending pretty hard out there. This was a hard race. Clouser was catching me there before the red flag, that’s for sure.”
Fresh off a breakout season in Super Late Model racing, Kyle Benjamin picked right back up in 2013 where he was so often in 2012 – in victory lane.
“We were very fortunate to pick up where he left off from last season. We have a great group of guys, Freddie, Joey, Michael, my Dad, everyone on the team. We didn’t have anything fall off the car in the first race. Dad wasn’t here tonight and we won, so maybe he needs to stay home.”
Prior to the start of the race, Benjamin’s Crew Chief Freddie Query received the Pete Orr Sportsmanship Award from race officials, which made the win by Benjamin even more special.
“Freddie told me about the significance of this race, it’s so important to him and a lot of people who raced with and knew Pete Orr. I’m happy that Freddie got that award and I know it means a lot to Freddie. It’s a cool award and Freddie talks about him a bunch.”
Next up for the Kyle Benjamin and the No. 71 team will be SpeedFest 2013 at Watermelon Capital Speedway in Cordele, Georgia on Friday-Sunday, January 25-27. Benjamin will take part in the ARCA/CRA Super Series sanctioned non-points 200-lap main that will highlight the Sunday afternoon portion of the weekend.
Fifteen-year old racing prodigy Kyle Benjamin from Easley, South Carolina has committed to taking his career to the next level by choosing the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards and Venturini Motorsports as the next step in his driver development process. Armed with heaps of talent and self-possessed goals of one day becoming a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver, Benjamin has signed on with Venturini Motorsports for a partial season deal which will include visits to Mobile International Speedway, Toledo Speedway, Winchester Speedway and a nationally televised race on FOX Sports Media Group’s SPEED Channel in September at Iowa Raceway.
“I’m excited to announce our plans with Venturini Motorsports this upcoming season. They’ve got a great history of success with young drivers and it gives me a great opportunity to gain experience and add more seat time to my 2013 racing schedule,” says Benjamin.
Despite his seemingly brief career Benjamin has excelled in everything he’s driven helping him showcase his talent and cast a spotlight which is currently shining bright on his budding career.
Benjamin, a first generation driver is no stranger to the racing community. Since the early age of 6 he’s been honing his skills and calculating his career path competing and winning championships in everything from Quarter Midgets, Bandoleros to the Pro and Super Late Model divisions around the Southeast.
During a career trending one break-out season after another, Benjamin once again found himself re-writing the record books by capturing the 2012 ARCA/CRA Super Series Southern Championship becoming the youngest champion in the series’ history.
Already with an impressive racing resume Benjamin’s most recent championship adds to a growing list of accomplishments including the 2009 Pro Challenge Southern Division Champion, 2008 Bandolero Winternationals Champion, 2008 Battle of Bristol Champion, 2008 Speedway Champion at Atlanta Motorspeedway and the 2006 & 2007 South Carolina State Bandolero Championship.
In 2012 Benjamin captured more national headlines by beating out Kyle Larson and scoring three-straight wins during “Speedweeks” at New Smyrna becoming the youngest Super Late Model Champion in the 46-year history of the New Smyrna World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing event.
Adding to his list of notable accomplishments in 2012 Benjamin captured the checkered flag in Indianapolis during the Fatheadz Eyewear 100 at Lucas Oil Raceway securing his place in history as the youngest winner in the ARCA/CRA Super Series.
Benjamin also found himself center stage following the late summer ARCA/CRA Super Series Winchester 400 making a dramatic last lap pass - 100 feet from the stripe on Ross Kenseth to seemingly win the all-star event but was later disqualified for a technical infraction.
Completing his season Benjamin finished seventh in his debut at the 45th annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida and scored a third place finish in the preceding Snowflake 100.
Benjamin’s impending Mobile Int’l Speedway debut (March 2013) in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards will make him the youngest driver ever to compete in the series. This record is currently held by VMS driver, Erik Jones, who entered the record books as “ARCA’s youngest competitor” at the very same track during the spring of 2012.
In addition to Benjamin’s 2013 ARCA racing schedule he will concentrate on running selective “big” late model and super late model events which include trips to the RedBud 300, World Crown 300, Winchester 400 and Kyle Busch’s Rowdy 250 at Berlin Raceway.
Official: www.KyleBenjamin.com | Twitter: @KyleBenjamin71 | Facebook: Kyle Benjamin #71
About Venturini Motorsports
Venturini Motorsports (VMS), fielding cars in the ARCA Racing Series, is one of the premier NASCAR driver development programs in the country. The 2012 season marks the team’s 30th Anniversary of competition in the ARCA Series. Multiple team championships and consistent on-track success, VMS has evolved into one of the most recognizable names in motorsports.
Since 2007, VMS has assisted in the career development of notable NASCAR drivers such as Joey Logano, Justin Allgaier, Steve Arpin, Brian Scott, Max Gresham, Miguel Paludo, Josh Richards, Ryan Blaney, John Wes Townley, Scott Lagasse, Jr., and Kevin Swindell.