Travis Benjamin's return to Busch North Series yields 21st place finish Travis Benjamin, making his first appearance in a NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series race since the end of the 2002 season, put together a solid run to...
Travis Benjamin's return to Busch North Series yields 21st place finish
Travis Benjamin, making his first appearance in a NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series race since the end of the 2002 season, put together a solid run to finish 21st at New Hampshire International Speedway in his No. 93 Belfast Variety/Freedom Fuel Ford Taurus.
Benjamin, who has been keeping active in racing by running Pro Stocks in the Pro All Stars Series which runs in Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and in Canada, returned to Busch North, a series in which he ran the full schedule in both the 2001 and 2002 seasons. He had six previous starts at NHIS entering this event, with a best finish of nineteenth.
Benjamin had his work cut out for himself and his Benjamin Motorsports crew on Thursday as he was down on power all weekend. But he persevered through a pair of practice sessions and qualifying time trials, where he was 32nd on the starting grid after turning in a lap of 32.044 seconds (118.862 MPH).
As the race went on, Benjamin made progress through the field, coming up to twentieth by the lap 35 mark, and he had already made his pit stop for enough fuel to get to the finish. Still holding that position as the race crossed its halfway point, Benjamin felt the handling of the car go away and pitted under a lap 69 caution for right-side tires. It turns out that the problem wasn't tires, but a shock absorber had become disconnected when a bolt fell out. Still, Benjamin persevered, held on to a car that wasn't handling nearly as well as it had been earlier, and finished 21st.
"Things didn't go as well as I hoped," he said. "All in all, after the end of the race, it's not too bad. We don't have a whole lot of damage to the car. We have to work on our engine program, though. That's killing us right now, though overall we had an awesome car. I've got to thank Joey McCarthy's team, they gave me an awesome pair of shocks which really made a big difference. The car was just perfect through the corners, in the middle, but halfway down the straightaway everyone was just pulling away from me. I think I know how to fix that, so the next time we come back we'll have that fixed and hopefully we can run the same setup, and we'll go from there. But all in all, I'm happy I guess."
Benjamin commented on whether racing a different type of car affected his driving a Busch North car this weekend.
"I don't think so, you're always racing so it's got to be good," he said. "It's hard to have the two cars set up because they're so different. I talked to Joey about what he's running for a setup, and they gave me the shocks to use, and the car felt awesome. It just didn't have any straightaway speed. I thought we'd have a better run. But the right front shock fell off after a bolt fell out. I felt the car rolling over and thought maybe it was a tire going, but that didn't fix it. We're lucky that we survived and got a decent finish."
Benjamin will run some more Busch North races this year, with his next appearance at the one-third mile Beech Ridge Motor Speedway on August 23rd.