The high banks of Winchester Speedway in Indiana have intimidated drivers of all ages and experience levels for decades. It wouldn’t have been unordinary for the track to gobble up a rookie like 14-year-old Kyle Benjamin in his first-ever appearance at the half-mile.
Instead, Benjamin was the one who showed Winchester who’s boss. The Easley, South Carolina became the youngest-ever winner in the track’s history, which dates back to 1916, after winning the Winchester 100 JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour event Sunday afternoon.
“This is just amazing,” said Benjamin after the race. “I never expected to win in my first race here, especially at this place. This JEGS/CRA series is really strong from top to bottom. I wish there was a tour like this down south. I would run the entire series if there was. We’re going to try and run a few more shows this year with the tour.”
Benjamin was among the fastest cars in practice at Winchester on Sunday and had a solid ninth-place qualifying effort. He swiftly worked his way through the field and was in second by the race’s halfway point. Benjamin rode in the tire tracks of the leader and defending series champion Erik Jones for several laps before overtaking Jones for the lead on lap 57. From there, Benjamin cruised on to victory.
“I was back there following Erik, who’s really fast here. I was just learning the line around here, which is pretty crazy. You have to run right up against the wall and the banks here are so big. This is definitely one of my favorite tracks to race on. When you look at, it’s like looking at Darlington and you’re going so fast. This has got to be one of my favorite wins. It's just a cool track to race.”
Initially, Benjamin and his No. 71 team decided to make the trip to Winchester as a race-day test session to get ready for one of the most prestigious races of the season, the Winchester 400, in October. After taking the winner’s trophy back to South Carolina, it’s safe to say the test session was a successful one.
“We only decided to make the trip up here late last week so we could get some seat time for the Winchester 400. I never expected to win at all, I was just out there turning laps and hoping for a good finish.”
The Winchester win was Benjamin’s fifth of the season and second victory in eight days, as he took the victory in the Super Late Model Miller Lite 100 at Mobile International Speedway in Alabama on April 28th. Benjamin will look to extend the win streak to three in his next scheduled race at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida on Friday, May 25th.
Be sure to “like” Kyle Benjamin on Facebook by searching Kyle Benjamin #71, follow him on Twitter via @KyleBenjamin71 and visit KyleBenjamin.com.