Race Weekend Central

Kasey Kahne & Johnny Benson Enjoyed Berlin SRX Debut, Potentially Open to More

MARNE, Mich. — The fourth round of the 2023 SRX Season at Berlin Raceway marked the series’ first visit to the state of Michigan.

And in a race with many firsts, two drivers made their SRX debut: Kasey Kahne and Johnny Benson.

Berlin is the only SRX race on the plate for Kahne, while Benson — the home track hero from nearby Grand Rapids, Mich. — was a last-minute edition to the field after Paul Tracy’s suspension.

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The 100-lap feature at the 7/16-mile oval on Thursday night (Aug. 3) ended with Kyle Busch victorious for the second week in a row. The newcomers didn’t have the same firepower in the main event, however, and they finished shotgun on the field with Kahne in 11th and Benson in 12th.

Benson started the night off with a third-place finish in the first heat race, but his handle of the No. 10 car went away throughout the night.

“I thought at the beginning that we were going to be all good because we freed [the car] up and it felt good, you know,” Benson told Frontstretch. “But then all of a sudden, something happened. I went straight to tight, and I mean, I couldn’t turn.

“I just finished the race, probably should have pulled off because I’m sure I was getting in the way at that point in time.”

The result aside, Benson expressed an interest in returning to SRX in the future.

“Oh absolutely, I’d love to run the whole series just to get a handle on the cars and stuff,” Benson said. “But it was a one-off deal.

“… Obviously we didn’t have a good showing for it, but you know, first time and we’ll go from there. I’ve seen the same thing happen to other people, and it’s just part of racing. It’s no big deal. Gonna go have fun now.”

Unlike Benson, Kahne had never made a start at Berlin prior to Thursday night.

“First for everything tonight at this place, the SRX car, all of it,” Kahne told Frontstretch.

With the race in the history books, Kahne enjoyed the atmosphere of the crowd but also acknowledged that he has some work to do in getting up to speed with the cars.

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“I thought [SRX] would be really cool, and I’m glad I came and did it,” Kahne said. “It was a great crowd, a lot of happy fans and lot of people really enjoying themselves. You don’t see that, you know?

“Glad to be a part of it, I just have to understand the cars a little better.”

Like Benson, would Kahne be open to more SRX races next season?

“Yeah, for sure. I liked it,” Kahne said.

About the author

Stephen Stumpf is the NASCAR Content Director for Frontstretch, and his weekly columns include “Stat Sheet” and “4 Burning Questions.” Stephen also writes commentary, contributes weekly to the “Bringing the Heat” podcast and is frequently at the track for on-site coverage. A native of Texas, Stephen began following NASCAR at age 9 after attending his first race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Follow on Twitter @stephen_stumpf.

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