Photo by Jeff Kluss/SIT

Johnny Benson in the Winner’s Circle at Kentucky

(Sparta, Kentucky July 20, 2008 ) Johnny Benson finished first in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at Kentucky Speedway this past weekend.

It was Benson’s second NCTS win this season (Milwaukee and Kentucky), and his 11th career NCTS victory. All 11 of his wins have come in the Bill Davis Racing No. 23 Tundra. Obviously Toyota is on a roll since they had 7 of the top 9 cars

Photo by: Jeff Kluss/SIT

Toyota drivers Michael Annett (second), David Starr (fifth), Mike Skinner (sixth), Kyle Busch (seventh), Terry Cook (eighth) and Marc Mitchell (ninth) also registered top-10 finishes. Matt Crafton (#88 Chevy) finished 2nd, Dennis Setzer (#18 Dodge) 4th, and Ron Hornaday (#33 Chevy) finished out the top ten. Congratulations to Toyota and thanks to Ford for the race sponsorship.

Photo by: Jeff Kluss/SIT Michael Annett finished 2nd

Matt Crafton finished 3rd

Tundra drivers have now registered six NCTS wins in 2008. Benson (Kentucky and Milwaukee) and Busch (California and Atlanta) each have a pair of wins.

Kyle “Rowdy” Busch created a lot of excitment

JOHNNY BENSON, No. 23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Tundra, Bill Davis Racing Finished: 1st How does it feel to be in ‘Victory Lane’ tonight? “This is awesome, awesome. Trip Bruce (crew chief) is the man. He just really built a great truck. It was tough. Have to thank TRD and Toyota for the great bodies and the great horsepower. It ran good, but it wasn’t easy today. It may have looked easy, but it was just a little slick out there today. We had great pit stops. We played a little strategy because we had a loose right front tire — which I’m glad that caution came out. These guys continue to do a great job ”

How does it feel to be back in the lead in the point standings? “The race was great. We were in the points lead for those two races which was great. I made a mistake at Memphis and over- revved the engine. We were running second (at Memphis) and had a great run and I felt we would have continued to run well. Trip Bruce (crew chief) and the guys — time and time — have done a tremendous job on our Tundra. It’s just a pleasure to go out there and race with these guys and have an opportunity to win races. Our goal is to try and win the championship. Man, everybody that has got up there in the points has definitely had issues. If you would back up the last two seasons — with the amount of issues that we all have had — there’s no way that any of us should win the championship based off the last two years. It’s been amazing on that aspect. It’s great for Craftsman to have a points battle that’s just unbelievable. It’s a lot of fun to be a part of, I can tell you that.”

How did you make that pass in turn three to take the lead? “It was pretty cool on my end. There are a couple other guys that didn’t like it. We got such a great run off turn two. We started fourth and there were some lapped cars in there. They got tied up just a little bit and I had a tremendous run off turn two. I got alongside the 18 (Dennis Setzer) and I thought; “We’re in pretty good shape here.’ I figured I would hold him up a little bit and we both had a good run on the 22 (Michael Annett). I knew it was going to be — obviously, a 50-50 shot — whether he was going to get off the gas and push him a little bit or turn left. He turned left like I expected him to so I had to turn left. So, it was a mad dash down to the corner. It was just a mad dash down the corner. I went into the corner straight. I stayed as low as I could. Hopefully, I gave those gave those guys more than enough room. At that point in time I’ m sure I had the best spot. I’m glad the 22 (Michael Annett) was able to come out of there in second-place and have a one-two finish for Bill Davis Racing.”

Of course what would a Craftsman Truck race be without a little controversy? On lap 52 Jack Sprague took the aero off Crissy Wallace in the #03 car, and the red flag came out for approximately 25 minutes. Mike Wallace’s daughter let the press know of her upset, but as we say “that’s racin'”.

Photo by: Jeff Kluss/SIT

Crissy Wallace on pit road

Because of an ill-timed pit stop, Kyle Busch had been a lap down and Crissy’s ill fortune was Kyle’s Lucky Dog which gave him the opportunity to make a sixth place finish. All-in-all there were a total of 9 cautions in this 250 mile 150 lap race. Three for debris, two of which were from Crissy Wallace hitting the safety wall.

Photo by: Jeff Kluss

Kyle Busch takes a pit stop and before he comes out of the pit there is a caution

There were a total of 3 leaders with 5 leader changes. Johnny Benson led a total of 94 of the 150 laps after taking the lead in a 4 wide pass. Michael Annet finished in second a full second behind the #23.

Photo by: Jeff Kluss/SIT

John Woods #21 got into Todd Bodine #30 with only 23 laps to go in the race.

One last item. As usual Kentucky Motor Speedway in Sparta, Kentucky was exciting even though attendance was light. KMS always provides a great venue for all types of racing and should always be on the fan’s race calendar. SIT will be covering the IRL race there on August 9th, and we look forward to another great race weekend there.