Kyle Benjamin sparked a lot of attention in his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut for Joe Gibbs Racing in the ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday.
The 19-year-old K&N Pro Series East standout started the event second and finished sixth in Stage 1. He broke into the top-five during Stage 2, placing fifth to qualify as one of the four drivers eligible for the Dash 4 Cash bonus. He looked poised to post a solid top-10, until his final pit stop on Lap 240. The driver of the No. 20 ToyotaCare Toyota had to make a second trip down pit road to tighten some loose lug nuts, causing him to start at the tail end of the field.
“We ran pretty good all day,” Benjamin said. “It was a positive day except for what happened at the end. I learned a lot and got to work with (Chris) Gabehart (crew chief) and get a feel for how he does things at the track. To run where I was running I felt like was pretty good for a debut. We had some work to do at the end on that last pit stop to run with those guys. I wish I could’ve seen what we had at the end. I know (Kyle) Larson drove up there, so maybe we could have too. All in all, it was a good day.”
Benjamin will have three more opportunities this year with Joe Gibbs Racing. His next event will be at Pocono Raceway on June 10.
“We just have to bump it up a notch for the next time I get in this car, and we should be good,” he said.
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