Performing in the clutch is what separates a winning driver from the rest of the pack. Flexing muscle at the right time is something that true talents possess. Often luck plays a big role in winning versus losing, but being able to squeeze just enough strength out at the perfect opportunity is what separates winners from losers. Performing in the clutch doesn’t necessarily mean winning, however; it’s all about making the most from what you’ve got.
That’s why Quarter Master, providers of winning clutches & driveline components to racers from Super Speedway to the Bullring, from IRL to Rally, from NASCAR to the “Weekend Warrior,” is proud to honor a weekly “Clutch Performance of the Month” from the short track ranks of America. Each month, an esteemed panel of short track industry insiders will vote on which drivers came through in the clutch. The driver or team with the most votes will then be the “Clutch Performance of the Month.” At the end of the 2015 season, the driver or team that received the most votes throughout the season will then be the “Clutch Performer of the Year” and will be awarded a clutch kit from Quarter Master, valued at $3,500. For more on Quarter Master, visit www.quartermasterusa.com
This edition of the “Quarter Master Clutch Performance of the Month” for the month of April goes to …
NASCAR K&N Pro Series East
Kyle Benjamin has long been a highly-touted prospect, but many were starting to write him off, even at just 17 years old. It’s seemed like the Roush Fenway Racing development driver’s name has been around for a while, but he’s yet to make the jump to the next level. Even we here at Speed51.com said that his stock was falling during episodes of the 51 War Room ahead of the Speed51.com Short Track Draft presented by PFC Brakes.
Benjamin went into the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Bristol Motor Speedway (TN) in April with his back against the proverbial wall. At the end of 125 laps he silenced many of his doubters by scoring a huge win in front of many NASCAR team members and owners.
He started eighth and methodically worked his way to the front of the field. Benjamin took the lead at lap 45 and led every lap from there to the end in a dominating performance in Thunder Valley.
Usually this award is given to someone who wins a race by taking the lead late, or keeping the lead on a late restart. That’s usually what we consider to be the definition of “clutch.” But in this case, we felt that what Benjamin did at Bristol may not have been clutch for that specific race, but clutch for his stock car racing career.
For his clutch performance, Kyle Benjamin has been named Speed51.com’s Quarter Master Clutch Performer for the month of April.
Here are the drivers who also received votes:
Doug Coby (NWMT) – Coby began his title defense at the Icebreaker 150 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (CT), but he did so with a new NASCAR Spec motor, a new LFR Chassis, and high expectations. He more than exceeded every expectation by completely dominating the season-opener, leading 127 of the 150 laps.
William Byron (K&N East) – Byron scored his first win in NASCAR K&N Pro Series East competition in dominating fashion, leading all 152 laps at Greenville-Pickens Speedway (SC). But he still had to hold off Gray Gaulding and Dalton Sargeant on a green-white-checkered finish to take the victory.
Mike Rowe (PASS North) – At the young age of 64 years old, “The Maine Racing Legend” proved he’s still got it during the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) North opener at Oxford Plains Speedway (ME). Rowe came out on top of a fierce battle with defending champion DJ Shaw to carry his first checkered flag in the Petit Motorsports No. 7.
Casey Smith (SSS) – Smith took his first checkered flag in Southern Super Series competition by holding off Bubba Pollard on a late race restart at Mobile International Speedway (AL).
Brayton Haws (CARS LMSC) – The 15-year-old driver held off Justin Crider on a late race restart to win the CARS Tour Late Model Stock portion of the Orange Blossom 300 at Orange County Speedway (NC).
Donny Schatz (WoO Sprints) – Schatz has been dominant all season long, but he scored four World of Outlaws victories during an extremely dominant month of April.
-Text by 51 Staff