Travis Benjamin, driving the No. 93 Citi Auto Body Ford Taurus in Saturday's New Hampshire 125, recorded his best finish at the New Hampshire International Speedway when he crossed the line eighteenth, on the lead lap, in NASCAR Grand National ...
Travis Benjamin, driving the No. 93 Citi Auto Body Ford Taurus in Saturday's New Hampshire 125, recorded his best finish at the New Hampshire International Speedway when he crossed the line eighteenth, on the lead lap, in NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series competition.
Benjamin, running just his third series race this season, had additional support on his Ford from System 2000 and Freedom Fuel. The Morrill, Maine native took advantage of two practice sessions on Thursday to work on his setup, which was good, although the car lacked straightaway speed. His qualifying attempt was marred by one car's laying down oil on the track earlier in the session, making the track slick. Benjamin time trialed 24th best.
"In time trials, we accomplished what we wanted to do, we made the car loose and maybe made it a little too loose," he said. "We're starting 24th, and that's not too bad. Hopefully we can adjust and make it a little bit better. I really thought we'd be a lot worse than we were, because the car was real, real loose with what happened to the track. But everybody's in the same situation, so I can't complain there."
Benjamin worked his way into the top twenty during the race's first half, and, most importantly, stayed on the lead lap. He pitted with the field under a lap 38 caution to add fuel to the car and adjust on it, but he did not change tires. He returned to the race in seventeenth and soldiered on to the next caution, where he pitted again and put fresh right side tires on the car.
Following two more stops for adjustments as the race wound down, Benjamin was still on the lead lap and poised for a top twenty finish. Despite the race having to go into extra laps due to the green-white-checker rule and a late caution, Benjamin ran to finish eighteenth.
"We had a good car today, it wasn't the greatest," he said. "I wish it was as good as it was in practice this morning, the car was real comfortable in practice. But during the race, when the sun came in and out, we just kind of missed it a little bit. The car kept going from tight to loose, we just could never get it right where we wanted it. And we're still down on power, it's hard to compete with the Roush engines and Elliott engines. Overall, I'm real happy for the guys. They worked their tail off for us. I'm also happy for System 2000, maybe we can get them for another couple races, maybe for next year.
"We got some more help from Joey McCarthy's team again, so I've got to thank them again," Benjamin continued. "We knew the track would probably tighten up, so we made some adjustments to loosen the car up. But we started the race off tight, so we didn't do quite enough adjustments. We pitted and got it loose, but we made it too loose, then we made it tight. We came in on lap 70 and took on new tires, and I thought we had it covered after that, but the new tires just never came in. I don't understand why. They didn't size up as well as we had hoped, but what can you do."