DOVER, Del. — Justin Haley and Kyle Benjamin led the way as NASCAR’s youth movement conquered the “Monster Mile.”
It was Haley who lifted the big championship trophy at Dover International Speedway, while Benjamin took the final NASCAR K&N Pro Series East checkered flag of 2016.
Haley brought home the No. 5 Off Axis Chevrolet with a fourth-place finish in the Dover 125 to put the finishing touches on his first championship season.
The 17-year-old from Winamac, Indiana, put together a title-winning run with remarkable consistency. His Dover finish was his 13th top five in 14 races. He collected two wins along the way, with a worst finish of eighth-place, to claim the crown over Benjamin by 22 points.
Haley also became the fourth consecutive driver for HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks to win the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East title. He followed Dylan Kwasniewski (2013), Ben Rhodes (2014) and William Byron (2015). He is also the eighth straight teenager to win the K&N Pro East crown, and joins 16-year-old Cayden Lapcevich as a NASCAR champion this season. Lapcevich won the NASCAR Pinty’s Series title in Canada earlier this year.
Benjamin did everything he could in his No. 40 Ranier Racing with MDM Chevrolet. The 19-year-old NASCAR Next alum from Easley, South Carolina, led the most laps (84) and won for the third time on the season. A late caution pushed the race to 126 laps, but Benjamin was able to pull away from the field on the green-white-checkered finish to secure the victory.
Rain washed out qualifying and Haley started on the pole. He led 42 laps before Benjamin took over.
Fellow NASCAR Next alum Jesse Little came home second, followed by Dominique Van Wieringen with her third straight top five finish. Rev Racing and NASCAR Drive for Diversity driver Ruben Garcia Jr., also a NASCAR Next alum, was fifth. With Van Wieringen, from Ontario, Canada, and Mexico native Garcia, three countries were represented in the top five.
NASCAR Next drivers Harrison Burton and Tyler Dippel finished sixth and seventh respectively, followed by Riley Herbst, Chad Finley and Trey Hutchens III.
The top eight drivers were under 21.
Garcia’s Rev Racing teammate Collin Cabre, the defending race winner, finished 21st after being sidelined with a flat tire on Lap 102 while running second.
The Dover 125 will air on NBCSN on Thursday, Oct. 6 at 4 p.m.
Behind Haley and Benjamin, Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidates Tyler Dippel and Hunter Baize finished third and fourth, respectively, in the championship standings. Noah Gragson rounded out the top five.
Haley, Benjamin and other top performers from the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will be honored on Saturday, Dec. 10 in Charlotte for the NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Awards celebration. The event will be held at the NASCAR Hall of Fame at the Charlotte Convention Center for the seventh consecutive year.
-NASCAR Home Tracks Press Release
-Photo Credit: NASCAR Home Tracks Twitter
NASCAR K&N PRO SERIES EAST-Dover 125 Results (Start position in parentheses)
- (2) Kyle Benjamin, Easley, S.C., Chevrolet, 126 laps, 93.797 mph.
- (19) Jesse Little, Sherrills Ford, N.C., Toyota, 126.
- (10) Dominique Van Wieringen, Amherstburg, Ont., Ford, 126.
- (1) Justin Haley, Winamac, IN, Chevrolet, 126.
- (11) Ruben Garcia Jr., Mexico City, Mexico, Toyota, 126.
- (8) Harrison Burton, Huntersville, N.C., Toyota, 126.
- (5) Tyler Dippel, Wallkill, N.Y., Chevrolet, 126.
- (18) Riley Herbst, Las Vegas, Nev., Toyota, 126.
- (21) Chase Dowling, Roxbury, Conn., Chevrolet, 126.
- (22) Chad Finley, DeWitt, Mich., Ford, 126.
- (20) Trey Hutchens, Lexington, NC, Chevrolet, 126.
- (24) Eddie MacDonald, Rowley, Mass., Chevrolet, 126.
- (13) Ali Kern, Fremont, Ohio, Toyota, 125, accident.
- (14) Chad Finchum, Knoxville, Tenn., Toyota, 125, accident.
- (6) Hunter Baize, Bremen, Ky., Chevrolet, 122.
- (27) Clair Zimmerman, Denver, Penn., Ford, 120.
- (23) Tyler Hughes, Cordova, MD, Ford, 119, accident.
- (12) Enrique Baca, Monterrey, Mexico, Toyota, 119.
- (26) Brandon McReynolds, Mooresville, N.C., Chevrolet, 116, electrical.
- (9) John Holleman IV, Winston-Salem, N.C., Ford, 111.
- (7) Collin Cabre, Tampa, FL, Toyota, 102, accident.
- (25) Codie Rohrbaugh, Petersburg, W.Va., Chevrolet, 81, accident.
- (15) Dillon Bassett, Winston-Salem, N.C., Ford, 73, sway bar.
- (3) Noah Gragson, Las Vegas, N.V., Ford, 61, accident.
- (4) Spencer Davis, Dawsonville, Ga., Toyota, 54, accident.
- (16) Ronnie Bassett, Jr., Winston-Salem, NC, Ford, 46, transmission.
- (17) Christian Celaya, Caborca, Mexico, Ford, 5, exhaust.
Time of Race: 1 hour 20 minutes 36 seconds
Margin of Victory: Under Caution
Fastest Qualifier: C.Due to Weather ( mph, 999999 seconds)
Caution Flags: 7 for 26 laps.
Lead Changes: 1 among 2 drivers.
Lap Leaders: J. Haley 1-42; K. Benjamin 43-126.
Standings: 1. J. Haley, 580; 2. K. Benjamin, 558; 3. T. Dippel, 475; 4. H. Baize, 463; 5. Gragson, 454; 6. C. Cabre, 447; 7. H. Burton, 444; 8. S. Davis, 440; 9. D. Van Wieringen, 429; 10. R. Garcia Jr., 425.