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 July goes to …
Sometimes being clutch isn’t about a last lap pass, it’s about focusing on a job at hand when your mind is focused elsewhere. That’s just what Michael Bennett did on Friday, August 7th when he picked up the win at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT) and stretched his Late Model division point lead. Just days earlier Bennett’s son, Chace, was diagnosed with Leukemia and was set to begin treatment to combat the disease at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.
While Bennett wanted to stay with his son, he received a lot encouragement from family and friends to “Race for Chace." That became the theme of the night and that’s just what Bennett did. Bennett took the lead three laps into the 30-lap feature and never looked back. When he pulled into Victory Lane, Bennett received a standing ovation. It was hard for Bennett to celebrate that night without his son and family by his side, so as soon as he pulled into the pits, Bennett jumped right into his street car and headed back to Hartford, trophy and flag in hand.
It is Bennett’s ability to show up at his local track with a point title on the line, with his mind far away from racing, pick up the win and then deliver that trophy to his son, Chace, at the hospital just hours later that makes Michael Bennett our Quartermaster Clutch Performer of August.
Here are the drivers who also received votes:
Ali Kern (ARCA/CRA SS) – Ali Kern became just the second female driver to win an ARCA/CRA Super Series event with her win at Kalamazoo in early August. Kern took advantage of contact between leaders John Hunter Nemechek and Grant Quinlan on lap 117 to restart in the second position with eight laps to go. She powered out to the top spot over Quinnton Bear on the ensuing restart and never looked back.
Rico Abreu (Open Wheel/KNEast) – Rico Abreu won the preliminary nights for the Knoxville Nationals, despite knowing ahead of time he would not be able to compete. He, instead, was at Motordome Speedway for the NASCAR K&N East race and made a thrilling charge from outside the top ten. Three days later Abreu won at Lincoln Speedway with another late race charge and passed Bryan Clauson for the win with two laps to go.
Ryan Preece (NASCAR WMT) – Ryan Preece picked-up perhaps the biggest win of his career when he took home the Bush’s Bean 150 in the annual combination race for the NASCAR Whelen Modified and Whelen South Modified Tours at Bristol Motor Speedway. Preece also grabbed a win at Stafford Motor Speedway early in August,
-Text by 51 Staff