8/22/07

Benson Breaks Bristol Drought With Truck Series Victory

Johnny Benson and Travis Kvapil were clearly the strongest competitors in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Unfortunately it was a mistake by Cup Series regular Kyle Busch that determined dictated which driver would claim the winner’s trophy.

Kvapil started on the pole and made his first pit stop the majority of the field during the evening’s second caution. Benson inherited the lead failed to follow the others down pit road and stayed then out front until he made his first stop under caution just past the halfway point of the 200-lap race. That put Kvapil back in control of the lead and he held onto to until Lap 180 when Kyle Busch got a little overanxious and spun both trucks out in Turn 4 of the tiny track.

By then, Benson had fought his way back up to third and when the first two trucks spun out he was right there to take advantage of the situation. The Michigan native scored his first victory in 25 combined Cup, Busch and Truck Series starts at the half-mile bullring, which is known for its tight quarters racing.
Benson was chased to the checkers by Brendan Gaughan, Mark Martin, point leader Mike Skinner and Rick Crawford. “I was confident we could get to the front because we had forty lap fresher tires,” said Benson, who led 84 laps. “I was surprised when they all came as early as they did. Everybody on this team did just a great job. This truck was awesome and I couldn’t be happier.”

Kvapil was seeking his second consecutive victory and after leading a race-high 91 laps he was deeply disappointed with what turned out to be an 11th place finish. “(Kyle Busch) is definitely one of the best and one of the hardest drivers out here,” said Kvapil. “There were numerous restarts before that, so I figured I’d be able to hold him off. He got down on the bottom and I know he was loose down there and he just got up into me. We had a fast Ford and we weren’t able to capitalize on it.”

Skinner held onto his lead in the driver standings with a fourth place finish and gained another ten points on Ron Hornaday, Jr. who finished two positions behind his title rival. Just 92 points separate the two drivers as the series heads to Gateway International Raceway for the next event scheduled for Sept. 1.