Travis Benjamin of Morrill made his first NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series race since last September’s New Hampshire 125, when he ran in the Kobyluck Corporations 150 at the .375-mile Waterford Speedbowl in Connecticut on Saturday, July 17.

Driving his No. 93 Belfast Variety Ford Taurus, the Belfast Area High School graduate enjoyed a trouble-free race to finish 14th on the lead lap.

Benjamin, who had been racing with the Pro All Stars Series touring series for Pro Stocks in Maine, returned to Busch North to better prepare himself and his Benjamin Motorsports team for this August’s Irving Oil 150 at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway.

Benjamin’s trip to Waterford was important as his car got through inspection, which, for the first time each year, is a lengthy process. It also gave his team valuable information regarding the car setup and the new Goodyear tires.

Following inspection, Benjamin practiced and then moved on to qualifying, where he took the 15th starting position.

“We didn’t get a lot of practice time, because this is our first race of the year and we had to get through the whole tech procedure,” Benjamin said before the race. “In the first practice we were second from last, but then we made some big changes and put on some good tires and it was a lot better. We were hoping to scuff but we didn’t get a chance to do that since we had to change the gear and we had to change the camber. But the car felt pretty comfortable considering I didn’t know what the car was going to do so I was trying to be careful. I think we’ve got a good race car.”

Benjamin settled into 14th in the early going. He was up to 11th just before the halfway point. It looked as if he might be in position to better his series’ best finish of eighth, scored last year at Beech Ridge.

However, Andy Santerre got underneath Benjamin and a group of cars passed him. Benjamin settled back into 14th, which is where he finished.

“The car was decent the whole race,” he said. “We didn’t get a whole lot of practice time, so we made a lot of changes between time trials and the race, which were in addition to the changes we made before time trials that picked us up a half a second. We threw a lot of stuff at it for the race, since we were behind the eight ball all day long with the rules and inspection. But we finished on the lead lap and we were pretty decent the whole race, so I’m happy. Hopefully, we can go to Beech Ridge in a few weeks for the big Irving Oil race and do even better than we did last year.

“We learned a lot about these tires, since they were a lot different than what I thought they were going to be,” Benjamin said. “We ended up running with a lot more stagger than I thought we were going to be able to run here. We had to make a lot of adjustments because of that, and we were just throwing stuff at it. The guys worked so hard to get us here, and we had a decent car. We came in the pits once to make an adjustment and that worked out pretty well for us. We’re not here points racing, so we took that opportunity to learn a little more about the car and the tires. We’re happy.”