BNS: HOlland: Travis Benjamin race notes

Travis Benjamin gets closer to first top ten finish, takes twelfth at Holland. Travis Benjamin's Irving Oil/Mainway Ford Taurus team, which competes on the NASCAR Busch North Series, came within ten laps of recording his first series top ten ...

Travis Benjamin gets closer to first top ten finish, takes twelfth at Holland.

Travis Benjamin's Irving Oil/Mainway Ford Taurus team, which competes on the NASCAR Busch North Series, came within ten laps of recording his first series top ten finish but had to settle for twelfth in the 150-lap race at Holland Speedway on Saturday night.

The second-year driver, who finished 21st at the Buffalo, New York-area track last year, set about to improve on that and started that process by qualifying sixteenth in time trials with a lap of 14.592 seconds.

"That's pretty much where we've always been, but the car felt really good," he said. "We were turning some 14.9s and 8s in practice, and in time trials we turned a 14.5, so I'm happy with that. The car felt good, I think it's going to race good since it's comfortable. We haven't been comfortable very much this year, but we're learning."

While Benjamin finished three laps down to the leaders in this race last year, he showed significant improvement by completing every lap on Saturday night. He got into the top fifteen just thirty laps into the race, and didn't stop there. His big move came after the lap 100 mark, when he first entered the top ten and was running ninth. He was shuffled out of the top ten with 25 laps to go but found his way back, and was sitting tenth on lap 140. A tire was going flat, though, and Benjamin had to back off, forcing him to gave up two spots before the checkers fell. He still finished twelfth, which is his best result of the 2002 season.

"It was a fun race, we finally got to run in the top ten, and I think we would have finished in the top ten if we didn't have a right rear tire going flat," he said after the race. "After the race it only had ten pounds of air in it. I think it's been going down for a while through a small little pinhole. As the race went on the car started getting really loose in the right rear, that was the tire going down. It's just those little things that are getting us right now, but there's nothing we can do about them. We were still running good and the car's in one piece.

"We were overheating starting around lap ten, and that was scaring me because I don't need to blow an engine right now," Benjamin continued. "When we'd go green after a caution I'd have to drop back a couple car lengths and get some space between us to get some air into the radiator. Other than that, I'm happy. We'll go to Waterford and hopefully run in the top ten there."

Waterford Speedbowl, on the Connecticut shore, hosts the Busch North Series next Saturday night.

-tbr-

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Series NASCAR