Former NASCAR champion Johnny Benson will drive the #21 Racing Awareness Chevrolet owned by MRN Radio announcer Jeff Striegle in the May 7 Boyne Machine Super Late Model series event at Michigan's Berlin Raceway. Benson was previously announced as Racing Awareness’ primary driver for 2011, but was not scheduled to drive his first race until June. A schedule change made him available to be behind the wheel for the opening event, and also make a run at the series championship.
“The schedule opportunities worked in our favor,” said Benson. “We still have a race conflict later this summer, though, so we will just have to see how it plays out."
Track officials have said that each driver's worst finish will be dropped when tallying points toward the championship. Benson will now be able to compete in all but one series race, giving him a shot at the title. “Knowing that we already have to drop the race I can’t attend puts us behind, but we’ll at least have a shot at (the championship),” said, who won his last track championship at Berlin Raceway in 1989.
The new #21 Late Model will carry the same paint scheme as Benson’s 1993 ASA championship-winning car, along with the logos of Racing Awareness’ charity beneficiary, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. Check out www.racingawareness.com/events for the team's complete schedule.
Benson, who currently resides in Cornelius, North Carolina, grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan and followed in his father's racing footsteps, eventually winning the 1995 NASCAR Nationwide Series championship and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title in 2008. He also has a win in 274 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts.