JOHNNY BENSON TAKES HOME A RUNNER-UP FINISH IN THE RAIN DELAYED O'REILLY AUTO PARTS 250 Mother Nature wreaks havoc on Kansas Speedway. Benson and the ...
JOHNNY BENSON TAKES HOME A RUNNER-UP FINISH IN THE RAIN DELAYED O'REILLY AUTO PARTS 250
Mother Nature wreaks havoc on Kansas Speedway. Benson and the #1 Red Horse Racing team bring home a second place finish on Monday afternoon.
KANSAS CITY, KS. (April 25, 2009)- Johnny Benson and his Red Horse Racing team headed for the heartland with one goal; to secure their first win of the season. Mother Nature had other plans. Rain and a threat of severe weather postponed Saturday's event after just 52 laps. The 167-lap event restarted on Monday just before 2:00p.m. but thunderstorms loomed once again and the race was called 35 laps before the scheduled end. Benson made the best of the situation to secure a second place finish and earn his second top-five of the season. He also moved up to fifth in Camping World Truck Series driver point standings.
During two practice sessions on Friday afternoon, the #1 Red Horse Racing team tweaked their truck until it was ready to take on the competition at the Kansas Speedway. After qualifying fifth for the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250, Benson was ready to get the race underway. Just after 5:00p.m. that evening, the green flag dropped as thunderstorms began moving into the area. Keeping a careful watch on the radar, the # 1 team knew they needed to get to the front as fast as possible. On lap three, Benson encountered a close call when the # 4 of Ricky Carmichael spun right in front of him and barely grazed the nose of the #1 Red Horse Racing machine. Fortunately, Benson avoided any damage during the brief contact and was able to stay on the race track but slid back a few spots. He restarted seventh and after a few green flag laps, Benson reported that the truck was becoming just a little tight in the center of the corners. Determined to get back the track position he had lost, Benson went to work and quickly gained spots. He took over the fourth position just four laps later.
Still fighting a tight condition, Benson was anxiously awaiting a chance to hit pit road for adjustments. Shortly after reporting he was really tight in traffic, a caution came out on lap 37 and gave him the opportunity to pit. Crew chief Trip Bruce called for four tires and an air pressure adjustment on lap 39. Benson returned the following lap to fill up with fuel. He restarted eighth.
The race resumed under green flag conditions for three more laps before thunder and lightening moved over the track. The rain was coming down so hard that Benson reported he could not see out of the windshield. NASCAR threw the caution flag and eventually brought the drivers to pit road to park their trucks. The race was postponed until Monday morning. Just as crews were putting away their pit equipment for the day, the tornado sirens went off. Everyone took shelter until the all clear was given. A tornado touched down a few miles from the track but no one was hurt.
Benson and his #1 Red Horse Racing team returned to the track on Monday morning but rain showers still loomed over the Kansas Speedway. Scattered storms lasted until nearly noon and NASCAR was able to dry the track and get it race-ready by 2:00p.m.
The competitors ran several caution laps at first to make sure the track was safe for racing. NASCAR threw the green flag on lap 61 and Benson started part-two of the event in the seventh position. The caution came out on lap 71 and Trip Bruce opted to leave Benson out on the track when a few of the other trucks hit pit road. The decision earned them three positions and the #1 restarted fourth. On lap 85, Benson told the crew he thought he was wearing out the right rear tire. NASCAR threw a competition caution on lap 85, and the #1 headed to pit road for fresher tires. Taking four fresh tires and an air pressure adjustment for the right rear tire on the first time by, Benson returned the following lap for fuel. Pitting off sequence with some of the other trucks, he restarted 18th.
It didn't take Benson long to get those spots back. Just two laps later he had already grabbed the 14th spot. He broke back into the top-10 on lap 96 and continued his march to the front. Benson was running the fastest laps on the racetrack as he took over the fifth spot on lap 110. The caution came out on lap 112 and Bruce knew that the #1 needed more fuel to make it to the end of the race. He brought Benson to pit road on lap 114 for a splash of gas. Taking only the amount of gas needed, he beat a few trucks out of the pits and claimed the fourth spot for the restart. When the green flag waved, Benson made a three wide pass to take over the second spot. Just one lap later the rains came again and soaked the track. NASCAR threw the caution and brought the trucks to pit road. With no sign of the rain letting up, NASCAR called the race complete 35 laps from the finish. Benson didn't get the chance to race for the win but was happy with the runner-up finish after such a long weekend.
The NASCAR Camping World Series will enjoy two weeks off before racing resumes in Concord, North Carolina. The NC Education Lottery 200 at Lowe's Motor Speedway is scheduled for Friday evening, May 15th.