ORONO, ON – Longtime weekly Limited Late Model standout Danny Benedict polished off a rookie season on tour with the APC United Late Model Series with an 8th-place finish in the 2019 championship points standings.
A run of five consecutive top-10 finishes to close out the season – highlighted by a spirited runner-up outing at Sauble Speedway in Round 7 – were the ideal way for Benedict to show that he could convert his long-celebrated Limited Late Model prowess to his upstart family-run Pro Late Model outfit.
“Anytime you’re showing up at a speedway and not leaving as the winner there’s going to be a little bit of disappointment,” explains Benedict. “That’s just the racer in you. But, any time we sat down this year and took stock of who we were racing against and how well we were doing with a brand new car, it was tough not to feel that big surge of pride.”
“The top names in the province are on this tour week after week,” adds the second-generation racer. “You really can’t overstate that. If you can be anywhere close to the front in one of these races, I guarantee it didn’t happen by accident. You don’t luck your way into a good finish against these teams.”
For a true grassroots product like Benedict, the chance to rub elbows with the Pro Late Model elite is still very much a surreal experience. Even after a multitude of winning seasons in Sunset Speedway’s notoriously competitive Limited Late Model class.
“Man, Dad and I started with a Mini Stock just trying to have fun and make some memories – that was it,” laughs Benedict of the modest expectations that founded the no frills family operation. “If you had asked me all the way back then if I thought there was any chance our program would have grown into this, I would’ve bet my last dollar that you were crazy.”
“When you roll off the track after a top-10 on tour, and then you look at the race results and see the names that were behind you, it’s a quick reminder that there aren’t any slouches on this roster,” continues the Orono, ON racer.
While Benedict’s off-season is just beginning, plans are already in full swing to return to the tour fulltime for the 2020 campaign.
“The rookie year on tour was all about keeping the car in one piece to go on to the next show and try to take as many notes as we could,” says Benedict. “All that data has put us in a really good place for next year.”
“We want to do all that we can to come out next season and be a factor. I’ve never really been one to compare myself to other guys in my division. But, I don’t feel like we looked out of place this season. That means alot.”
“We work like hell on this car and we know that, as long as we’re putting that effort in, it’s going to come back to us. Pushing ourselves against top level teams has made us better and I’m excited to keep improving.”