Coming off of two top-ten finishes at the first two
races of the season, Johnny Benson and the No. 23 team
were looking to keep their streak going in Atlanta.
Benson, whose truck was adorned with the Exide batteries
logo this weekend for the first time this season, would
start the weekend off with a small delay. With rain
showers placing a halt on all activities until noon on
Friday, Benson was forced to only one practice session.
Starting off a little slow in practice the No. 23 team
quickly made many changes to the truck and by the end of
the session, Benson had improved significantly. He
ended up fifth quickest during practice.
However after getting back to the garage Benson’s team
realized a problem, which forced them to change
engines. Going into the late afternoon qualifying
session Benson would attempt to qualify as the last
truck out on the racetrack. Running a stellar lap of
30.738 seconds at 180.363 mph, Benson would qualify his
Exide machine in the third position.
As the green flag would drop for the 130 lap race,
Benson would have to start from the tail end of the
longest line, due to his motor change earlier in the
day. That however, would have no effect on Benson
charging through the field. Picking off positions one
by one, Benson would soon find himself within the
top-ten by lap 30.
Soon thereafter though Benson would run into some
unfortunate luck, without power by lap 33 Benson would
have to come to pit road under green to assess what was
wrong with his truck. The No. 23 team jumped onto pit
road and raised the adorned hood of the Exide machine.
With flames flying everywhere, the team soon realized it
was the carburetors that were on fire. Putting out the
fire and changing carburetors fast, the No. 23 Exide
Toyota Tundra would soon come back on the racetrack by
Fighting to gain positions for the rest of the night due
to being 16 laps down, Benson would drive hard and
salvage a 28th place finish as the checkered
flag fell over the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series field.
Johnny Benson will be sporting a green machine in two
weeks at Martinsville Speedway. He will be representing
Team Green with 360 OTC adorning the sides of his truck
in a few weeks. The race will be televised live
Saturday, March 31st on Fox.