By its nature, short track stock car racing is a sport built on the foundation of friendship. A driver who’ll try everything they can to beat you to the finish line will often be the first to offer a hand with set-up advice or a little sweat equity that it will take to put your equipment back into battle after a rough outing.
While they haven’t been best friends their entire lives, Danny Benedict and Brandt Graham have become fast friends on the oval raceways of Central Ontario and in the hallways at Clarke High School. Saturday, July 12th the youngsters from Orono, Ontario – who share a passion for speed that they inherited from their fathers – logged some solid results in action at Peterborough Speedway, a venue known as Canada’s Toughest 3rd of a Mile Paved Oval.
Benedict parked his #54 Don’s Auto Shop/Integrity Driven Solutions/ Wallace Auto Supply – Carquest/Mayhew Graphics/Mark Rainford of Roger Swan Auto Sales/Camsport Truck Caps & Accessories/B & W Enterprises/ Kim Irwin of Irwin Tax/Baudo Auto Services/Clarke Motorsports Communications Mustang in victory lane during the night’s first Mini Stock qualifying event. Not to be outdone, Graham performed the same feat with his #12 Full Circle Automation/Hot Rod Swag/Auto Care/Clarke Motorsports Communications Cavalier in the second preliminary round.
By virtue of their heat race victories and track handicapping, Benedict and Graham would both start the night’s 25 lap feature event from deep in the pack, but knowing – even at their young age – that no race can ever be won on the first lap, they worked their way through the field; taking advantage as opportunities presented themselves and moved toward the front. At the checkered flag, Danny Benedict finished 4th. Brandt Graham was 5th. Not the race win either was looking for, but each driver rolled their equipment onto the trailer in one piece and ready for another day at the races and a moment shared between 2 fast friends.