ARCA's youngest winner Kyle Benjamin back to defend Madison title; debuting own ARCA team

ARCA's youngest winner Kyle Benjamin back to defend Madison title; debuting own ARCA team

(TOLEDO, Ohio – August 21, 2014) – When Kyle Benjamin wheeled his way to Victory Lane last year at Madison Int’l Speedway, the Easley, South, Carolina driver, who was 15 at the time, became the youngest winner in ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards history.

The occasion was a big deal all the way around, but for Benjamin, there was something even bigger.

“Being the youngest winner…that was definitely a big deal,” Benjamin said, “but not as much as it was to win my first ARCA race there. That was huge.”

Benjamin, now 16, is coming back to Madison to defend his title in the Herr’s Live Life With Flavor 200 Sunday.

It’s already been a season of change for the two-time ARCA Racing Series winner.

He started the year with Roulo Brothers Racing, but switched gears midway through to drive for his own Benjamin Motorsports ARCA team, which will debut at Madison.

“It’s really exciting to race with our own team. That’s how we did things with our late model and it worked out pretty good. We should have just as good of a car as we had last year when I drove for Venturini Motorsports; I’m really looking forward to it.”

While there’s been plenty of change for Benjamin in 2014, some things remain the same. He’s still in the mix in the Roush Fenway Racing driver development program and he's got Kevin Reed coming back as his crew chief. Reed crew-chiefed Benjamin to the win at Madison as well as the victory at Salem Speedway last September.

“Obviously Kevin (Reed) and I communicate really well. He really understands my feedback and gets a lot from what I say, and I certainly get a lot from the adjustments he makes to the car. I’d say it works out really well.

“I like working with Kevin Reed. We mesh really well, and he seems to always make the right adjustments based on my feedback. We’ve got a connection that really works.”

Reed has been commuting to Benjamin’s race shop in South Carolina to get the car ready for Madison.

“Kevin set the car up; it’s all him, and I’m good with that.”

Benjamin is also good with Madison, a track he likes very much.

“Madison is an interesting place altogether. You definitely have to save your tires for the end of the race, so it’s not just a hammer-down place; you’ve got to manage your way through the race, and I like that. You can easily burn your tires off there if you’re not careful.

“It’s the ultimate finesse track. You just can’t get the gas all the way down…you really have to half-throttle it. There are not a lot of places like that. The corners are really tight…that’s another cool thing about it. I love the track; I think I have a pretty good handle on it.”

ARCA’s seventh trip to Madison Int’l Speedway
The ARCA Racing Series stretches out over five decades at Madison Int’l Speedway, having first raced there in July of 1970 – two-time ARCA champion Ramo Stott earned the victory. Tom Bowsher won the ARCA race at Madison in May of 1971, and Bruce Gould is in the history books as the 1973 ARCA victor. However, nearly 40 years would elapse before the ARCA Racing Series would return to Madison in 2011. 

Film Star Blake Rayne to perform
Blake Rayne, star of the film “The Identical” opening in theaters nationwide on September 5, will be performing a pre-race concert in conjunction with the autograph session as well as singing the national anthem prior to the Herr’s Live Life with Flavor 200.

Madison’s ARCA race to be broadcast on CBS Sports Network
The Herr’s Live Life with Flavor 200 will also be the third ARCA Racing Series race that will be broadcast on the CBS Sports Network in 2014. CBS Sports Network ARCA racing coverage at Madison will be live at 2:00 p.m. local Central time.

Weekend schedule/On-track autograph session
Practice for the ARCA Racing Series at Madison is scheduled for Saturday, August 23 from 1-1:45 p.m., followed by a final practice from 2:15-3. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell is at 4:30.

Raceday Sunday gets started with an on-track autograph session from Noon – 1 p.m., followed by pre-race ceremonies and driver introductions at 1:30. The 200-lap Herr’s Live Life with Flavor 200 at Madison begins at 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon, August 24. The race will also feature live timing and scoring at