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May 14, 2014 - 06:23 AM
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16-Year-Old ARCA Driver, Winner Kyle Benjamin Getting Road Course Ready For Great Railing 150 At NJMP
Posted by: newsla on May 14, 2014 - 06:21 AM
NASCAR News
16-Year-Old ARCA Driver, Winner Kyle Benjamin Getting Road Course Ready For Great Railing 150 At NJMP


There's a first time for everything, especially when you're only 16 years old. That's the case for Easley, South Carolina ARCA driver Kyle Benjamin, who is on track to make his road course debut in the upcoming Great Railing 150 June 1 at New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP).

 

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Benjamin, in just 10 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards starts since he turned 15, is already the youngest ARCA winner in series history with his win at Madison Int'l Speedway last year. Then he turned right around and won the race at Salem Speedway two weeks later. He also finished second twice at Mobile Int'l Speedway. There's more; he's the youngest ARCA pole winner too, having accomplished that last year at Toledo Speedway.

"I can't wait to race at New Jersey," Benjamin said.

"I used to run Bandolero cars at Charlotte and Atlanta. They'd put up chicanes on a little make-shift course, but we didn't have to shift or anything. Racing a big, heavy ARCA car on a real road course - with the speeds and all the shifting - is something I've never done."

Despite having never raced a 3,400-lb. ARCA car on a high-speed road course, Benjamin still believes he's got a shot at winning.

"I think it's pretty realistic (the possibility of winning). We wouldn't go there if we didn't think we had a shot at it. I'm not sure who the road course specialist will be there, but I'll be talking to him."

The 'road course specialist' that Benjamin is referring to is Roxton Pond, Quebec's Andrew Ranger, who has won the last three consecutive ARCA road course events at NJMP.

It also helps that Benjamin will be driving for Roulo Brothers Racing at NJMP, the 2012 ARCA national championship team with Chris Buescher as driver. Buescher, who now competes fulltime in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, came back for a Roulo Brothers cameo in 2013 at the Road America road course and won the race. The Roulo Brothers team also finished third at NJMP with Buescher driving in 2012.

"Anytime you're racing for Gary and Russ (Roulo), you've got a shot at winning, no matter where it is. I have no reason to think that we can't win at New Jersey; that's what we're there for."

Benjamin has never seen NJMP in person, but he has watched it on YouTube.

"I did watch it on YouTube if that counts. But we're going to test on a road course somewhere before we go for the race; I'm not sure where though. It won't be at New Jersey. But I think we're going to test right before the race, so it stays fresh in my mind.

"The biggest thing I can tell from watching it online is knowing where the corners are. You gotta know what's coming next - that's the biggest deal from what I can tell. So, basically, you've got to have the track memorized; then that's just one thing less to learn when you get there."

The Great Railing 150 event will mark ARCA's seventh consecutive trip to the state-of-the-art NJMP facility in Millville, New Jersey, and include a wide mix of different road course tours to complement the ARCA Racing Series, including the Trans-Am tour, the Pirelli World Challenge, the SCCA Pro-It tour, and more.

The event at New Jersey Motorsports Park marks the 19th time the ARCA Racing Series has raced on a road course since debuting on the now defunct Meadowdale Raceway road course, just outside of Chicago in 1958.

The list of ARCA road course winners over the years, marked below, is interesting to say the least.

1958: Meadowdale - Fred Lorenzen
1960: Meadowdale - Nelson Stacy
1962: Virginia Int'l Raceway - Curtis Turner
1964: Meadowdale - Elmer Musgrave
1965: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course - Jack Bowsher
1986: St. Louis Int'l Raceway - Bob Schacht
1991: Heartland Park - Ken Schrader
1992: Heartland Park - Darrell Waltrip
1994: Des Moines Grand Prix - Scott Lagasse
2001: Watkins Glen Int'l - John Finger
2008: New Jersey Motorsports Park - Justin Allgaier
2009: New Jersey Motorsports Park - Patrick Long
2010: Palm Beach Int'l Raceway - Justin Marks
2010: New Jersey Motorsports Park - Casey Roderick
2011: New Jersey Motorsports Park - Andrew Ranger
2012: New Jersey Motorsports Park - Andrew Ranger
2013: Road America - Chris Buescher
2013: New Jersey Motorsports Park - Andrew Ranger

Practice for this year's Great Railing 150 at NJMP is Saturday, May 31 from 11:35 a.m. - 12:35 p.m. with final practice afterwards from 1:25 - 2:55. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell follows final practice Saturday at 4:30. Sunday's race is scheduled to roll off at 1:30.

ARCAracing.com will feature live timing and scoring and audio coverage of all on-track activity Saturday and Sunday, including flag-to-flag coverage of the Great Railing 150.


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