Benjamin Goes Back-To-Back at Greenville Pickensby Hunter Thomas April 8, 2017
EASLEY, S.C. – Kyle Benjamin capitalized on a late-race restart to win the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150 at Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway on Saturday night.
Benjamin started on the pole after running a track record lap of 19.144 seconds at 94.024 mph. The Easley, South Carolina, native ran inside the top-five nearly all night long and led 46 laps. At the halfway mark on lap 75, Benjamin in the No. 40 MDM Motorsports Toyota was running third.
On lap 108, Benjamin passed Dillon Bassett for the race lead in Turn 3. Benjamin maneuvered through lapped traffic and held off the hard charging cars of Ruben Garcia Jr., Todd Gilliland and Dillon Bassett. A lap 144 caution set the field up for a two-lap dash to the finish. Benjamin was able to stay out and front and win his second race in a row at Greenville Pickens Speedway.
Ronnie Bassett, Jr., who entered the night coming off his first-career NASCAR K&N Pro Series East victory at New Smyrna Speedway, finished second on Saturday. Bassett Jr. qualified 10th, but he was able to battle back for a solid finish. He has now finished within the top-five in his last three visits to the half-mile oval. The driver of the No. 04 Bassett Gutters and More Chevrolet currently leads the point standings by eight points over Harrison Burton.
In his first visit to Greenville Pickens Speedway, Todd Gilliland qualified seventh and finished third. Gilliland entered the weekend coming off three wins in a row in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. Saturday night’s race marked his first visit to Greenville Pickens Speedway, and he was able to capture a very competitive third-place finish. While he has found success in the K&N Pro Series West, Saturday’s third-place finish is his best effort this year in the K&N Pro Series East. He finished ninth at New Smyrna Speedway.
Rounding out the top-five was Harrison Burton and Tyler Dippel.
Dylan Murry finished sixth in his debut start in the series. Hunter Baize finished seventh. Dillon Bassett and Ruben Garcia Jr. both ran up front all night long, but late-race issues forced them to finish eighth and ninth respectively. Reid Wilson completed the top-10.
There were four lead changes among two drivers. Throughout the night, there were eight cautions.
The caution that set the field up for a two-lap dash to the finish occurred with 11 laps remaining in the 150-lap feature, when Chase Purdy spun in Turns 3 and 4 after contact with Ronnie Bassett Jr. Purdy finished 11th following the contact.
Up next on the schedule for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will be the Zombie Auto 125 at Tennessee’s Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, April 22.
The broadcast for the Kevin Whitaker 150 at Greenville Pickens Speedway will air on NBCSN at 9 p.m. on Saturday, April 15.
Photo Credit: Grant Halverson/NASCAR via Getty Images