Performing in the clutch separates the best drivers from the pack. When the laps are counting down and the lights are shining brightest, the top racers thrive under pressure. Each month during the 2019 season, Tilton Engineering will honor a “Clutch Performer of the Month” from the world of short track racing.
The winner of the Tilton Engineering Clutch Performer of the Month Award for the month of August is...
Super Late Models
Throughout the careers of even the best drivers, there are always bound to be dips along the way where even the quest to find Victory Lane can be a struggle. But, there will come the right environment and opportunity along the way in which a driver can rise to the occasion. Sometimes, it can even come in some of the most difficult races to win.
This was the case for Travis Benjamin entering the Oxford 250 on August 25. The No. 7 Petit Motorsports camp had ended 2018 strong with a win at Seekonk Speedway (MA), but the team was unable to pick up where they had left off when the 2019 season began. With winning performance continually eluding the former Pro All Stars North champion, the time came to put all of their eggs in one basket in the race which Benjamin had won previously in 2013 and 2014.
With the Maine team showing promising speed during all the practice sessions at their home track of Oxford Plains Speedway on the two days leading up to race time on Sunday, Benjamin showed that he had a car capable of racing in his 20-lap heat race.
Starting the 46th Oxford 250 from the 11th position, Benjamin spent much of the race moving forward to become a contender, while the Petit crew had their driver on the correct pit strategy while providing solid pit stops over the first 200 laps of the race. The efforts all came to a head with under 50 laps to go, with Benjamin catching up to leader Cassius Clark and fighting his way to the top spot on Lap 210.
Benjamin would hang on over multiple late restarts, defeating a late challenge by Derek Griffith, to come up with an emotional third career win in the Oxford 250. Celebrating the triumph with family and friends, Benjamin was a last able to put five months of struggles behind him, take home a sturdy winner's check, and get set to enter the fall stretch with renewed confidence.
For breaking a season-long funk in one of the greatest Super Late Model races in all the land, Travis Benjamin has been named the Tilton Clutch Performer of the Month for August. Benjamin will receive a $250 product certificate from Tilton Engineering for his clutch performances.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor - Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51