BNS: New Hampshire: Travis Benjamin race notes

Travis Benjamin fights ill-handling car at NHIS to finish twenty-eighth. Travis Benjamin struggled at New Hampshire International Speedway this past Saturday when he raced in the NASCAR Busch North Series' New England 125. Benjamin's Irving Oil...

Travis Benjamin fights ill-handling car at NHIS to finish twenty-eighth.

Travis Benjamin struggled at New Hampshire International Speedway this past Saturday when he raced in the NASCAR Busch North Series' New England 125. Benjamin's Irving Oil Ford Taurus switched between being loose and tight trying to come to grips with track conditions that changed between Thursday's practice and qualifying and Saturday's race day, leaving him twenty-eighth in the final rundown.

Benjamin was optimistic about his speedway car's chances following Thursday, where he qualified 26th best in a field of 37 cars.

"The car feels real comfortable so I'm happy about that. We didn't have quite the speed, but the car's comfortable so I'm excited," he said on Friday. "The car should race better than it qualified so I'm going to try a few things in Saturday morning's practice to try to get some more speed. The car feels good through the corners, I just don't know if we're carrying enough speed down the straightaways. The engine's got good power, we're going to do a few little things to try to get some speed out of it. We'll work on getting the car to work more consistently on longer runs, so we'll run ten or twenty laps and see if we can keep it running the same speed."

From the start of the race on Saturday, Benjamin was struggling with a car that didn't like a track that had just had 200 laps of Craftsman Truck Series tire rubber, which is fairly incompatible with Busch North bias-ply rubber, laid down on it. Benjamin was racing Dave Dion 43 laps into the race when he drifted high into Dion and spun by himself, bringing out the first yellow of the race.

"I got into Dion," Benjamin said, "I drifted up a little bit and the car was loose anyway so it didn't take much to go around. I'm just glad I didn't wreck him and didn't wreck anybody else."

He came to pit road under caution for fresh tires and a significant chassis change. A second pit stop was made with under twenty-five laps to go, and Benjamin ran the balance of the race cleanly to finish twenty-eighth.

"We weren't that good," he said after the race. "I think it was just the rubber that was on the track. On that first run, the car went from loose to tight. We came in to make a few adjustments and the car was good for four or five laps. In practice the car felt decent, but I don't know. This place has been tough to me.

"We always learn something when we come here," Benjamin continued. "Time on the track is good for me. I think we had a good car, it was just the rubber that was on the track at the beginning there didn't help, and we blistered a couple tires today."

Benjamin's short-track car gets the call this Friday night when the Busch North Series heads back for the second of three visits to Stafford Motor Speedway in Stafford Springs, Connecticut. Benjamin finished sixteenth there in June, and is looking forward to improving on that finish.

-ajc-

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