WHITEVILLE, NC (WECT) - Despite having a new driver, getting a new crew chief and changing from Chevrolets to Fords, a NASCAR race team from Whiteville made an impressive season debut during Speedweeks this year at the Daytona International Speedway.
And what is impressive is all of the changes took place just five weeks before the first race of the season.
From his Whiteville office, Ricky Benton runs more than 30 of his Black's Tire and Service Centers in the Carolinas. But this time of the year, another of his companies requires a lot of his time - RBR Racing, short for Ricky Benton Racing.
While most of the major race shops are located in the Charlotte area, RBR builds trucks from a building in Cerro Gordo - trucks that run on one of the top three NASCAR programs, the Camping World Truck Series.
Despite running strong in the season's first race at Daytona, Benton said this is what happened when new driver, Ross Chastain, bumped drafted a truck in front of him, with just over 20 laps to go:
We could not get down, and he drove Timothy Peters to the front, and Peters left his out to dry, which I would have too, and then as he came back, probably got a little impatient because the guy got in front of him and he should have bought himself a little time for another lap, so that is just maturity and wanting to go to the front. We are a small team, but we all have a lot of heart and everything was lined up pretty good, so we just needed that little break, and we thought we had it and got a little anxious at the end.
Despite coming back to North Carolina with a wrecked truck, the team is encouraged about the season.
"Well, we learned that we have a good foundation built for this year for us to kind of progress on from where we were before, with the change in the manufacturer and stuff like that," explained crew member Mike Hammond. "It has really helped us out to get a better foundation than what we have had in the years past."
The original plan was to run the first five races of the season, then evaluate where the team is at that point. But if RBR Racing can keep the momentum they had heading into the Daytona race, the Ford number 92 truck will be certainly be a force to be reckoned for the entire 22 races this season, and watch for it in victory lane before long.
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