USAR: Carter, Benton Racing 2005 plans

Carter and RBR Looking for More in '05 Longs, SC-On racing's biggest stage, Matt Carter hit his mark. After averaging a 17.5 finish during a four-race slump and dropping to 11th in points, Carter, driving for Ricky Benton Racing, finished...

Carter and RBR Looking for More in '05

Longs, SC-On racing's biggest stage, Matt Carter hit his mark.

After averaging a 17.5 finish during a four-race slump and dropping to 11th in points, Carter, driving for Ricky Benton Racing, finished fourth in the inaugural Food City 150 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

On the surface, Carter's top-five finish was just a solid run by a rookie competitor. But a deeper look reveals much more.

"That was the turning point of our season," said RBR team manager Rick Benton. "That's where our team really started to put everything together."

For the most part, RBR and Carter kept everything together for the remainder of the season, logging four top-10 and two top-five finishes in the Championship Series en route to the 2004 Miller Lite Rookie of the Year title.

With the successful finish of the '04, RBR announced that Carter will remain as the driver of the No. 22 Ford in the Southern Division for the '05 season. But with higher finishes comes higher expectations for Carter's sophomore season.

"We finished out the season like we thought we should have been running all year," said Benton. "But we've always been a winning team, and we want to win. That's why we're out there, and that's our goal this year. Next year, there are going to be 20 guys in the Southern Division that can win. Matt's going to have to take his driving to a new level, and we've got to be hungry as a team, or we're not going to win."

Based off his successes at the end of the year, Carter could quickly turn from contender to winner early in '05.

Carter, son of former Winston Cup owner Travis Carter, led 82 laps in the Championship Series event at Myrtle Beach Speedway and averaged a 5.3 finish in the final three races.

Though his first victory never materialized, Carter believes the time he spent running up front will lessen the time it takes to nab his first Pro Cup win.

"The guys that are winning know how to win races," said Carter. "I've got to learn how to win races. If you stay up front enough, you're going to win one. But I believe racing against guys that know how to win teaches you how to win.

"I don't think I have to change as a driver," added Carter. "At the beginning of last year, I didn't take a lot of chances. But towards the end of the season, I was more comfortable and did what it took. We've got some tracks at the beginning of the season that we're good at. I feel like we can win one, but we've got to be hungry."

RBR will receive help from associate sponsors Black's Tire Service and BB&T Bank.

-usar-

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