BNS: New Hampshire II: Travis Benjamin race summary

Engine troubles spell early end to Travis Benjamin's New Hampshire race. Travis Benjamin, driver of the No. 93 Irving Oil/Mainway Ford Taurus on the NASCAR Busch North Series, expected to accomplish a lot more of the New Hampshire 125 at New ...

Engine troubles spell early end to Travis Benjamin's New Hampshire race.

Travis Benjamin, driver of the No. 93 Irving Oil/Mainway Ford Taurus on the NASCAR Busch North Series, expected to accomplish a lot more of the New Hampshire 125 at New Hampshire International Speedway than he did. After showing encouraging speed during practice sessions for the race, he could only complete twenty-two laps of the race before a blown engine forced him to retire from the race.

Benjamin's practice sessions hinted that the Benjamin Motorsports team was finding the speed it had been searching for all season. 26th in the first practice, Benjamin improved all the way to twelfth fastest in the second session. Qualifying found Benjamin trying to do even better than that, but he slipped in the first turn on both timed laps and could only muster the 27th starting position. He was 24th in the final practice run.

"We were OK in the first practice, and then Saturday morning we were real good, we were twelfth," he said before the race. "I was happy with that, it's the fastest that we've ever been here. The car wasn't taped up, we had twenty-lap old tires on it, and we were turning 30.5 second laps. I was happy because the car felt perfect.

"We taped it up and put new tires on it for qualifying, and when we went out there we were real loose," Benjamin continued. "Everybody I talked to said that when we put tape on the front, we had to put some wedge to the car to compensate for that. So we learned something new this weekend that will help us down the road. I think we've got an OK race car for the race, but qualifying back there hurts. I was kind of disappointed after time trials, especially after what we did in the morning practice. I might have tried driving it into the turns too hard and got it loose. If I was smoother I probably would have turned a lot better lap, but I was excited that we were going that fast and I was going for it."

Benjamin's race started out well enough, and he settled into a groove to run in. He had just started thinking about how the car was handling and what changes might need to be made on the pit stop when the engine started showing smoke and he was forced to bring the car to the garage area. He was unable to finish the race, and was classified as being 32nd in the final rundown.

Benjamin will try to bounce back from his short New Hampshire race with a strong run at the Dover International Speedway. Last year at the high-banked concrete mile oval, he finished a strong eleventh at his first time racing on such an intimidating superspeedway. With a year of experience under his belt, he's looking to do even better there this year.

-ajc-

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