It’ll be a hometown show for Johnny Benson Jr. when the SRX series heads to Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The Grand Rapids-born driver got his start racing at local Michigan short tracks, and he’ll be returning to his roots when the series takes on Berlin Raceway.
He’s certainly familiar with the track, having won a late model championship there in 1989 before heading to NASCAR in a successful career that included Xfinity Series and Truck Series championships.
He’s also familiar with SRX, serving as pace car driver for the series in 2021.
“I’m really excited to have the opportunity to race in the SRX series. Not only to compete against some of the best drivers in the country, but to return to my home track, Berlin Raceway,” Benson said.
Benson joins the series at the invitation of CEO Don Hawk. Paul Tracey’s suspension left a vacancy that Hawk had to scramble to fill, ultimately selecting Benson.
“It’s not often you have the opportunity to invite a good friend and a multiple different series champion to drive in SRX at his hometown track,” Hawk said.
“I believe this announcement will be warmly received by all those great race fans at Berlin Raceway.”
It does mean replacing an open-wheel driver with a stock car driver, creating more of an imbalance in the series that drives fendered cars on short ovals.
Hawk responded to a criticism of that on Twitter, though.
“I can assure you I tried to do that, on this short notice we had limited options, some hurdles and limited availability,” he wrote.
Since Benson is only joining the series at Berlin, it leaves Tracey’s spot open. That could potentially be filled by other drivers or Tracey himself if his indefinite suspension is lifted.
SRX heads to Berlin Raceway on August 3rd, followed by Eldora Speedway on August 10th and Lucas Oil Speedway on August 17th.
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