BNS: Beech Ridge II: Travis Benjamin race notes

Travis Benjamin enjoys Irving Oil 150's hospitality event, finishes 23rd in Race, Travis Benjamin had a busy day on August 24th, when Beech Ridge Motor Speedway was to have held its second NASCAR Busch North Series race of the season, the Irving...

Travis Benjamin enjoys Irving Oil 150's hospitality event, finishes 23rd in Race,

Travis Benjamin had a busy day on August 24th, when Beech Ridge Motor Speedway was to have held its second NASCAR Busch North Series race of the season, the Irving Oil 150. Benjamin, who drives the Irving Oil Ford on the series, split his time during the afternoon of the race between practice sessions and making appearances at Irving's hospitality tent.

Benjamin, a full-time competitor in the series, was a popular figure in the hospitality tent. He posed for pictures, signed autographs, and participated in the pit stop contest, where he was beat by members of his own pit crew.

"I had a great time, it was a lot of fun," he said. "There was a good turnout of people and we gave out those die-cast models of my car. The food was great, and it was a lot of fun. There were over three hundred people there. I got beat in the pit crew contest three times. I used to practice that all the time when I was growing up because I always wanted to either be a driver or a tire changer. Actually, I let my crew guys win."

Turning his attention to the race, Benjamin strapped in to make his qualifying attempt, in overcast conditions and with a light rain falling, and qualified nineteenth.

"The car's decent, but not really blindingly fast," he said. "It didn't feel good so we changed a ton of stuff on it for the race. In time trials we were real loose, we didn't get any bite here. We made a few adjustments and we should be good once we get this race in."

The race didn't get in until two weeks later, as rain washed out the balance of the program. Benjamin, and the rest of the series, would have to wait until September 7th to run the Irving Oil 150.

In the race, Benjamin again struggled with a loose car, and it was only getting looser. He slipped out of the top twenty and, with the pace the leaders were setting, went down a lap. The race went green from the seventh lap to the 93rd, limiting Benjamin's ability to make pit stops and adjust on the car. Once caution came out on lap 93, the pits opened and the Benjamin Motorsports crew put new tires on the car and made other adjustments to try and cure the looseness. The condition continued, leaving Benjamin to struggle on the track until the finish, where he was the 23rd best finisher.

"We were awful loose," he said after the race. "At the beginning of the race we were okay, but then the more we ran the looser it got. I think something might be broken in the rear end, because it didn't feel right back there to me all night long. It felt like something was wrong back there, so we'll check it out. In practice we were decent, just a little loose, and we figured the track would tighten up and we'd hit the setup. But we were real loose.

"The pit stop didn't help any, and that's why I really think something's wrong in the rear end," Benjamin continued. "We put some wedge to it and put some new tires on it, and it didn't help it a bit. We might not even race this car again this year. We'll run at Loudon with the other car and if we make it through there, we'll take that car to Dover. We haven't taken that car to Loudon this year, so we'll give it a shot there and hopefully get a good couple of races out of it."

Loudon, New Hampshire, the home of New Hampshire International Speedway, is the site of the next Busch North race which will be held next Saturday.

-ajc-

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