Race: Cool City Customs 200 (Race 10 of 25)
Track: Michigan International Speedway
Date: Saturday, June 14, 2008
Laps Completed: 100
Total Laps: 100
NCTS Points: First
Johnny Benson took his Exide Batteries Toyota Tundra to his hometown track this past weekend with all hopes of winning. Dominating at the two-mile track two years ago, Benson and his No. 23 Exide crew were looking to capture their first win of the 2008 season.
With practice kicking off on Friday morning after the rain storms had cleared, Benson ran strong right out of the box as he ended up 10th on the board at the end of the day. Feeling as if he had a great truck to race with, Benson and his team prepared their truck for qualifying the next morning.
Going out early in the qualifying order, Benson put down a good lap of 41.311 seconds as he would qualify himself in the eighth position for the start of Saturday’s afternoon race.
As the green flag would wave, Benson would soon let his crew know that he was aero tight. As he continued to fight his truck on the racetrack he still managed to make his way forwards. By lap 30, Benson had put himself in the fourth position.
As the field would run under long green flag conditions, Benson would have to make a pit stop along with the other trucks on the track. Pitting on lap 38 for four tires, fuel, a trackbar and an air pressure adjustment in order to free him up a bit, Benson would restart in the seventh position.
As the second caution of the race would come out on lap 44, Benson would dive down pit road for fuel and another trackbar adjustment. Restarting first on lap 50, Benson would hang on to the lead as long as possible. As he lost the lead on lap 55, Benson would remain in the top-three until another caution flag would fly.
Coming to pit road yet again, Benson’s Exide crew would take four tires, fuel, make another trackbar and air pressure adjustment in order to free his truck up some more.
Having to now work his way back through the field from the 15th position on the lap 62 restart, Benson showed that he knew the two-mile track well. And with 20 laps to go, Benson was in the second position once again fighting for the lead.
Maintaining his position well, but doing all he could to catch the leader, Benson would have to now be ready for a restart as the last caution of the race would come out on lap 94.
With just three short laps to go as the race restarted on lap 97, Benson would have his hands full. Not only was he trying to catch the leader, but he was trying to fight off his teammate from behind as well.
As the white flag waved, Benson made his move on the leader and as the two would come around turn four, Benson would have a slight edge. As the two would cross the finish line, Benson would come up short, 1/1000th of a second short. It was the second closest finish in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series history.
Benson will lead the Craftsman Truck Series as the point’s leader to The Milwaukee Mile next week. The race will be televised live June 20th on Speed Channel.