Follow by Email

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Johnny Benson Jr. #18 Hella Lights / Performance Friction Chevrolet

    Hello, and welcome back to the NASCAR Racing Champions blog!~ I've had a busy schedule the past couple weeks, so I missed last weeks post, but I'm still ahead of schedule, so I hope you'll forgive me~ :P Today's post is on Johnny Benson Jr.'s #18 Hella Lights/Performance Friction Chevrolet, which he drove a total of 7 races in during the inaugural season of the Truck Series~

    He technically only drove this Hella Lights version of the truck in the "1995 Skoal Bandit Copper World Classic", which was the first race of the season, held at Phoenix International Raceway, but ran a similar looking truck during the remaining 6 races he ran throughout the year~ He also failed to qualify for the Lowe's 150 @ North Wilkesboro, which would have brought his total to 8 races ran during the season~ Anyway, let's look back at Benson's time in the #18 Kurt Roehrig Racing Chevrolet~

                                      Benson's only time in the Hella Truck - Phoenix 1995~
Johnny Benson #18 Truck 1995 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Kurt Roehrig Truck Series

    As I stated above, Benson's only race with this specific sponsor came in the 1995 Skoal Bandit Copper World Classic, @ Phoenix~ He qualified 4th for the event, and Ron Hornaday Jr. won the first official pole award in the series, driving the #16 RCCA Products Chevrolet, owned by Dale Earnhardt Inc.~

    After leading the first 23 laps of the race, Hornaday faded back, while Terry Labonte and Mike Skinner put on a show for the fans, battling back and forth for the lead for the remainder of the race~ Lobonte was driving the #5 DuPont Chevrolet, which was painted up like Gordon's old Rainbow Warrior car, while Skinner's truck resembled Earnhardt's famous GM Goodwrench machine~

    In the end, Skinner came home victorious over Labonte, with Ken Schrader finishing 3rd, followed by Joe Bessey, and Geoff Bodine, who finished out the top 5~ Benson was near the front all day long, but faded away near the end of the race, settling for a 10th place finish~

                                            Benson awaits the start of the race @ IRP 1995~

Johnny Benson #18 Truck 1995 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Kurt Roehrig Truck Series

    Due to Benson also running the full BGN Series schedule during 1995, a season in which he ultimately won the Series Championship, he didn't run another Truck Series event until the 10th race of the season, the "Sears Auto Center 125" @ Milwaukee~ He qualified 12th for the race, while Mike Skinner won the pole, and eventually the race, in the famous #3 Chevrolet~

    The race was a three way battle between Skinner, Dennis Setzer, and Ron Hornaday Jr., with the trio combining to lead all but seven laps of the event~ Setzer finished second, followed by Hornaday, Rick Carelli, and Bill Sedgwick~ Benson was able to hold out for a 7th place finish, but never was much of a factor during the race~ He would race in the series again three races later, and would have his best run of the year at IRP~

    Benson qualified on the outside of row number one for the "Action Packed Racing Cards 150" @ IRP, with "Mean" Mike Skinner sitting on the pole~ Skinner led from flag to flag, and never looked back on his way to a dominating victory~ Benson finished in second place, right where he started, and was followed by Rich Carelli, Rodney Combs, and Scott Lagasse~

                                             Benson battles hard with Skinner - 1995 IRP~
Johnny Benson #18 Truck 1995 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Kurt Roehrig Truck Series

    Johnny qualified 5th in the "Fas Mart Supertruck Shootout" @ Richmond, and the pole was won by Terry Labonte in the #5 DuPont Chevrolet~ Though Benson qualified well, he never was a factor in the race, and finished in 11th place~ The race was won by pole sitter, Terry Labonte, with Geoff Bodine coming in second, Mike Skinner third, Joe Ruttman fourth, and Ken Schrader finishing in fifth~ Derrike Cope finished in seventh place, in one of only 15 career appearances in the Truck series~

   Benson had his poorest qualifying effort of the season in the Goody's 150 @ Martinsville, with a 22nd place effort, due to qualifying being rained out~ The pole award was given to points leader, Mike Skinner~ Though he didn't lead any laps, Benson proved to have a strong truck by plowing through the field on his way to a third place finish~ Mike Skinner led a race high 134 of the 150 laps, but in the end, he was outsmarted by a Truck Series legend~

    Joe Ruttman was able to get by Skinner with two laps remaining in the race, and drove the 1-800-COLLECT Ford to victory lane~ Mike Skinner finished in second, followed by Benson, Kenny Wallace, and Hermie Sadler~ I must also not that Kenny's Red Dog truck was super awesome, and one of the best looking trucks of all time~ Also, Ernie Irvan attempted to make his comeback from the crash at Michigan, but failed to make the race, due to qualifying being rained out~

                                                        Benson on track at IRP - 1995~
Johnny Benson #18 Truck 1995 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Kurt Roehrig Truck Series

    Benson made his next to last start of the season in the "Spears Manufacturing 200" @ Mesa Marin, where he qualified in the 11th position~ The pole award went to Bill Sedgwick, driving the #75 Spears Manufacturing Chevrolet~ Benson didn't improve much in the race, only moving up one position, to finish in 10th place~ The race was won by Mike Skinner, followed by Mike Bliss, Ernie Irvan, Jack Sprague, and Joe Ruttman~

  Johnny's final race of the 1995 Truck Series came in the "GM Goodwrench/Delco Battery 200" @ Phoenix, where he qualified 15th~ The pole was won by Jack Sprague, driving the #25 Budweiser Chevrolet~ The race was again dominated by Mike Skinner, who led 89 of the 124 laps, on his way to victory, and eventually the series championship~ Skinner was followed by Ernie Irvan, Geoff Bodine, Ted Musgrave, and Ron Hornaday Jr.~

 Benson finished the season with 7 races, 2 top 5's, and 5 top 10's, with an average start of 10.1, and an average finish of 8.6~ He eventually went on to become the 2008 Truck Series Champion, and hasn't raced in the series since 2010, following a bad crash in 2009, that pretty much ended his career~

                          Johnny Benson Jr. #18 Hella Lights/Performance Friction Chevrolet~
Johnny Benson #18 Truck 1995 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Kurt Roehrig Truck Series
                                                                Click pics to enlarge~
Johnny Benson #18 Truck 1995 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Kurt Roehrig Truck Series

    As I've said in previous posts, I'm a big fan of the Truck Series, and consider it to be the finest of the NASCAR series'~ I like this truck, but it really isn't anything special~ The card is kind of boring, and the truck is basically the same.. just a little boring~

    I was a fan of Johnny Benson, especially during his tenure in the #74 BGN car~ I feel like he should have had more success in the Cup series, but was always on a second hand team, as with Roush~ All of the good Roush cars were given to Mark Martin back then, but drivers like Benson, and Ted Musgrave still managed mild success with their cars~

    On the Racing Champions quality scale, this truck is getting a C+, because it lacks any stand out logos, and doesn't really have a good paint scheme~ The card is also very boring, so it can't get any higher than a C+~ With this truck out of the way, let's move on to the bonus car, shall we?~

                                         Mark Martin #6 Folgers prototype.. never released?~
Mark Martin #6 Folgers Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Custom Prototype Never Released

    This car was sent to me in photo form from a friend of mine that I met through the blog~ As far as he knows, it is a prototype of Mark Martin's #6 Folgers Ford, that was never released by Racing Champions, but a few were made as test samples~ I asked Fred Wagenhals, and he never heard of the car during his time with the company, but did mention that the car was made by his other company, RCCA, which I have in my collection~

    I can't say one way or the other on this one for sure, but my guess is that it is a custom made diecast, and not a true Racing Champions version~ It does have real tampos, and not decals, so that kind of puts me on the fence about my decision~ The color is definitely off for one thing, and I don't recall Martin using chrome rims, though perhaps he did at some point~

    I still like the car, and would certainly enjoy it in my collection, regardless of how it came to be~ I'm gonna give it a C- on the Racing Champions quality scale, since it's the wrong color, wrong rims, doesn't come with a card, or any kind of verification of its authenticity~ If it came with a story of its existence, it would easily be a B+ car, even with its flaws~

    Thank you all for stopping by the blog again~ I'm now an affiliate with the NASCAR Superstore, so along with the videos below, I'm also going to be offering links to special deals on NASCAR merchandise soon~ I tried to do it this post, but it kept saying error when I clicked on it~ :P     
                                          Johnny Benson/Kyle Busch Incident Martinsville~

                                                     1993 Detroit Gasket 200 - Benson flip~

                                               Benson's 2008 Truck Series Championship~

                                       1995 Red Dog 300 - Huge wreck - Benson involved~

No comments:

Post a Comment