HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — Joe Gibbs Racing announced Wednesday afternoon that 19-year-old NASCAR Next driver Kyle Benjamin has joined the team for four races in the NASCAR XFINITY Series this season.
The team first broke the news in a Facebook Live appearance streamed from their North Carolina race shop.
Benjamin will kick off his association with JGR at Richmond Int’l Raceway on April 29, driving the team’s No. 20 Toyota. He will also race that entry at Pocono Raceway on June 10, before switching over to the No. 18 Toyota for starts at Iowa Speedway on July 29 and Kentucky Speedway on Sept. 23.
“Kyle has proven to be a quick learner throughout his career,” said Steve deSouza, Executive Vice President of XFINITY and Development for Joe Gibbs Racing. “All you have to do is look at his history and it’s rather impressive to see how quickly success came to him at each stage of his development. We’re excited to have him make his debut with our XFINITY program.”
The Easley, S.C. native started racing competitively at the age of six, and it did not take long for him to start moving through the ranks. He became the youngest winner ever of the Bandolero Nationals in 2007 as a 10-year-old.
By the age of 13, he had moved into the Pro and Super Late Model divisions and in 2011, Benjamin won two Pro Late Model events, one at Florida’s Five Flags Speedway and another at Alabama’s Mobile International Speedway. A year later, he added a Super Late Model championship at New Smyrna Speedway’s World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing to his resume in addition to wins at Mobile, Winchester Speedway, Lucas Oil Raceway and Watermelon Capital Speedway.
Benjamin finished second in his ARCA Racing Series debut at Mobile in 2013, becoming the youngest series pole winner at Toledo Speedway that May and the youngest series race winner at Madison International Speedway that August, driving for Venturini Motorsports.
In 2015, Benjamin was named a member of the NASCAR Next program and ran his first full season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, winning at Bristol Motor Speedway that spring. He returned to the series last year and added three more victories, including wins at Greenville Pickens Speedway and Dover International Speedway and finishing as the highest East regular in the series’ combination event at Iowa Speedway.
Benjamin led the K&N East field last year in poles (five), average starting position (3.9) and laps led (582), finishing second in the point standings.
“I’m thrilled for the opportunity to drive a Toyota in the XFINITY Series for Joe Gibbs Racing,” said Benjamin. “This is going to be an incredible experience. JGR is a first-class organization, and I’m looking forward to learning about how they operate and prepare for each race.”
CREDIT: Joe Gibbs Racing