Grand Rapids Driver Johnny Benson to Run No. 23 Bill Davis Toyota Tundra in Line-X Spray-On Truck Bedliners 200
BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Johnny Benson, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-native, will return home this weekend to race in the Line-X Spray-On Bedliners 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at Michigan International Speedway, this Saturday July 31.
Benson will be making his 2004 debut in the Craftsman Truck Series driving the Bill Davis Racing No. 23 Toyota Tundra. Last week, Benson tested the No. 23 Tundra at Nashville Superspeedway.
"I'm really looking forward to getting back to Michigan this weekend to race," said Benson. "The chance to drive for Bill Davis Racing and Toyota is a great opportunity -- and the chance to race at Michigan again makes it even better. There are a plenty of places where I love to race -- but if I had to pick just one track -- it would definitely be the one in my home state."
Between 1995 and 1997, the 41-year-old driver made 12 NCTS starts. His most recent NCTS start came at Martinsville (VA) Speedway in 1997 and he recorded his best career NCTS finish -- a second-place -- at Phoenix International Raceway in 1996. Benson also started on the pole at North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway in 1996.
"When we tested last week, I discovered the trucks in the Craftsman Truck Series are a little bit different than when I last drove one back in '97," said Benson. "They seem to have more down force in the front end now and they drive more like a car. I was also impressed with the Toyota engine, which I found to be remarkably smooth."
This season, Benson has qualified for four NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races and 11 Busch Series events. Between 1996 and 2003, Benson made 264 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup starts. He won his only Cup race at North Carolina Speedway in 2002 and captured pole positions at Michigan International Speedway (1997) and Atlanta Motor Speedway (1996). Twice he finished 11th in the final championship point standings (1997 and 2001).
The 1995 Busch Series champion, Benson also earned Rookie-of-the-Year honors in three different series -- the Cup Series (1996), the Busch Series (1994) and the American Speed Association (1990).
A partner in Berlin Raceway (Marne, Mich.), Benson has raced his Late Model at the track located just outside of Grand Rapids three times this year, finishing first and third twice.
Tickets are still available for Saturday's Line-X Spray-On Truck Bedliners 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at MIS, along with Sunday's Michigan Indy 400 and Paramount Health Insurance 100. To purchase tickets, or for more informatioin, log on to www.MISpeedway.com, or call the MIS ticket hotline at 1-800-354-1010. Children 12 and under are free the whole weekend and all seats for Sunday's Michigan Indy 400 and Paramount Health Insurance 100 are just $40. All seats for the July 31 Line-X Spray-On Truck Bedliners 200 are just $30 and a combination ticket for both days, which includes three races, are just $50.