By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
With the 2017 NASCAR rulebook limiting the number of NASCAR Xfinity Series races that Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series veterans with five or more years of experience can compete in, some teams, like Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), must sign additional drivers. For JGR, 2016 NASCAR K&N Pro East Series runner-up Kyle Benjamin is one of those drivers that has earned an opportunity due to the rule change.
Benjamin, 19, will make his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut in the No. 20 Toyota Camry later this month in the Toyota Care 250 at Richmond International Raceway. He will then compete in the Xfinity 250 at Pocono Raceway, the US Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway and VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 at Kentucky Speedway.
Benjamin was the youngest winner in history of the Banderlaro Nationals, he was 10-years-old when he won in 2007. In 2012, Benjamin claimed the Super Late Model Championship at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway.
Benjamin made his ARCA Racing Series debut in 2013 at Mobile International Speedway, where he finished second for Venturini Motorsports. He earned his first ARCA pole at Toledo Speedway, three races later.
To date, Benjamin scored two career ARCA victories, one at Madison International Speedway, and the other at Salem Speedway. He also has eight top fives and 15 Top 10s in 20 career starts in ARCA.
2015 marked Benjamin’s first fulltime season in the NASCAR K&N Pro East Series. He was also named to the 2015 NASCAR Next program.
In 31 total NASCAR K&N Pro East Series starts, Benjamin has four wins, 13 top fives, 18 Top 10s, and five pole positions.
Benjamin looked forward to his opportunity with JGR,
“I’m thrilled for the opportunity to drive a Toyota in the XFINITY Series for Joe Gibbs Racing. This is going to be an incredible experience. JGR is a first-class organization, and I’m looking forward to learning about how they operate and prepare for each race.”
Steve deSouza, Executive Vice President of XFINITY and Development for Joe Gibbs Racing, was happy to explain the team’s excitement,
“Kyle has proven to be a quick learner throughout his career. All you have to do is look at his history and it’s rather impressive to see how quickly success came to him at each stage of his development. We’re excited to have him make his debut with our XFINITY program.”
Benjamin will now prepare for his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut April 29 at Richmond International Raceway.