August 21, 2018
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Morrill driver seeking elusive first Speedway 95 race win in Sunday’s Pro All Stars Series 150

Alex Barber | BDN
Alex Barber | BDN
Travis Benjamin of Morrill shows off his trophy in this 2013 file photo, after winning the 40th annual TD Bank 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway.
By Larry Mahoney, BDN Staff

Travis Benjamin of Morrill has won at least one race on the Pro All Stars Series Super Late Model North tour in six of the last seven seasons.

He is the defending series points champion and is leading the points after seven races.

But he has never won a race at Speedway 95 in Hermon. He would love to celebrate Father’s Day by taking the checkered flag during the PASS 150 at Speedway 95.

Racing begins at 1:30 p.m.

Benjamin has finished in the top four in three of the last four PASS races at Speedway 95 including a second-place finish a year ago to Hudson, New Hampshire, native Derek Griffith, who captured his first ever PASS win.

“I’ve been second there two or three times. I don’t seem to be quite good enough at the end,” said Benjamin, who also won the PASS points championship in 2012.

Benjamin was one of five drivers who led at least one lap in last year’s race.

“It was cool. On one restart, the inside line (cars) pulled out into the lead and, on the next restart, it was the outside line that led. A bunch of us led the race,” Benjamin said.

Benjamin said track owner Del Merritt’s decision several years ago to put a compound on the inside lane to give it more grip has enabled the drivers to utilize both lanes instead of just the outside lane, which used to be the faster way to get around the track.

“The last couple of years, it has been a real fun race,” said Benjamin. “You can use both lanes. There has been a lot of passing going on.”

Benjamin won May 5 at Starr Speedway in New Hampshire and has four top-five finishes in seven races. Since he won a race, he can’t start any higher than 11th as a result of PASS rules. Everyone who wins a race has to start outside the top 10.

He said when you start that far back, you have to figure out both the inside and outside lanes.

The 39-year-old Benjamin, who drives a Chevy for Biddeford-based Petit Motorsports, said he expects his car to be pretty good this weekend and that he can contend for the win.

Some of the other contenders will be Griffith, who was second two years ago before winning last year’s race; Scarborough’s Garrett Hall, who was third in 2017 after winning in 2016, and D.J. Shaw of Center Conway, New Hampshire, who has finished in the top four the last four years.

Hermon’s Mike Hopkins, who has been working with Benjamin, should be in the mix after fifth- and third-place finishes the last two races at Speedway 95.

Turner’s Ben Rowe and Manchester’s Reid Lanpher also could challenge.

There will be a PASS Mods 40-lap race and a Street Stocks 50-lapper in addition to the PASS 150.

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