15 Year Old Benjamin Youngest ARCA Winner

Oregon, WI – Kyle Benjamin may be just 15-years old, but he drove like a veteran Sunday as he captured the Herr’s Live Life With Flavor 200, ARCA Racing Series race at the Madison International Speedway.

Piloting a Venturini Motorsports Chevrolet, the young Easley, SC rookie started third behind Ross Kenseth and Justin Boston. He restarted in fifth after a lap 47 caution and took over the top stop for good when he stayed on the track after most of the leaders went to the pits during the final caution on lap 68.

“The car was really good; it was a top-five car in the first run. Then we made that first stop and we changed two tires and we made an awesome adjustment to run good in the second (part of the race). He (crew chief Kevin Reed) gave me a really good shot to win the race,” the excited Benjamin proclaimed in victory lane.

Kenseth, who led the first 50 laps from the pole in his first ARCA start, hoped to match the win that his father Matt had scored on Saturday night at the NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Bristol,TN. The second-generation driver dropped to eleventh, however after the first caution when he was the only leader who pitted- twice.

He had moved to fourth by the second and final caution, but after challenging Benjamin for the lead, he slipped to a sixth-place finish when he experienced some self-inflicted handling trouble on his Blain’s Farm and Fleet/Ken Schrader Chevrolet.

“We had one pit stop, made an adjustment and went the wrong way with it; got way too loose and it killed the right rear tire during the long final run with no more cautions. I screwed up on pit road and that pretty well sums it up, ” Kenseth admitted.” It was 100% my call to work on the car; we should have left it alone. I spun on pit road and that put us in an even bigger hole. We probably had the best car here today but I just didn’t get it done.”

Justin Boston, whose ZLOOP/Venturini Toyota started in the front row next to Kenseth and fought Spencer Gallagher through much of the final 100 laps before final getting by him on lap 180. He went on to finish second after first passing Kenseth and then veteran Frank Kimmel to secure second.

“I was just kind of biding my time early in the race, Boston noted. “I was just trying to not use up my equipment too soon. We had problems with cars in front of us chopping us down. He (Benjamin) had such a big lead it was hard to get to him. I wish a caution had come out so I could have given Kyle a battle.”

Benjamin’s margin of victory over Boston was 7.090 sec. in a race that went the final 131 laps caution free. The two-caution race took only 1h:15m:44sec (NTR).

Kimmel, who is bidding to become the winingest driver in ARCA’s 61-year history, was happy with his finish here, but will have to wait a week to take another crack at breaking his tie with Iggy Katona at 79 career series’ wins.

“Just didn’t have enough to catch those guys in front of us. We ran the left rear tire right completely off of it. But it was the best day we’ve had here,” the nine-time series’ champion said. “We’ll go to DuQuoin next and try to get it (the record 80th win) on the dirt mile there on Labor Day.”

And as for the winner; he was worrying that a caution near the end might give Boston a final crack at him.

“I thought, well, this is too good to be true to get all the way to the end green like this. I didn’t think that we wouldn’t have a caution there at the end. Forty to go; no cautions. Thirty to go; no cautions. Please, no cautions. I’m really happy.”

• Bristol-winner Matt Kenseth flew in from North Carolina on race morning to watch Ross make his first ARCA start at a track that is like home to the family. Matt watched the first part of the 200-lapper from a suite with his family, and then moved to the NBCSports TV booth for the rest of the event. The race will be shown on a delayed basis on Thursday, August 29th, at 11:00pm ET.

• Twenty-six cars started the Madison event, but only sixteen finished on a sunny and humid ninety-degree day.

• Madison track-owner Terry Kunes stated that he wants the ARCA series back again in 2014. He also said that the track will return to regular weekly Friday night racing in 2014, replacing a more special-event oriented schedule that was tried this season.

• Former NASCAR driver, 78-year old James Hylton, made his final driving appearance at Madison Sunday as he winds-down his racing career that started in NASCAR in 1966. Hylton said that he would be back in 2014 as a team owner with “one of the young kids” as his driver. He finished 17th today.

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