Kyle Benjamin To Drive For LFR On Whelen Mod Tour In 2019

(Press release from LFR)
ThinkLite Becomes Primary Sponsor on No. 15 Modified Race Car
Kyle Benjamin (Photo: Courtesy LFR)

Rob Fuller, owner of LFR, has announced that Kyle Benjamin will drive the No. 15 ThinkLite / 15-40 Connection modified during select races in the 2019 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

Benjamin, a 21-year-old driver from Easley, SC, has a wealth of experience and accomplishments in multiple forms of racing including NASCAR Truck Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series, K&N East, ARCA and Late Model racing.

In just eight starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series over a two-year period, Benjamin scored two Top-5 finishes, three Top-10s and won two Poles.  In his NASCAR Truck Series debut early in the 2018 season, Benjamin finished second at Martinsville Speedway (VA) after leading 74 laps.  

“The Whelen Modified Tour puts on an exciting brand of racing and I’m grateful for the opportunity given to me by LFR, ThinkLite and 15-40 Connection,” said Benjamin.  “Rob has built an impressive team, both in terms of crew and resources, and I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together.”

LFR cars have pulled into Victory Lane over 30 times on the NASCAR Modified Tour and secured all championships in the past four years.

Fuller announced that the team plans to compete at Thompson, Stafford and Loudon this race season and is looking forward to introducing another young driver to the series and team.

“I think it’s great to bring in new talent to the series,” said Fuller.  “Kyle seems to be a great kid with a ton of talent. I’m looking forward to introducing him to the Modified community and scoring some great finishes for our team and sponsors. Stephen Kopcik will return as our crew chief – he’s a great resource and gives us a strong team again this season.”

In addition to a new driver behind the wheel of the No. 15, ThinkLite, a global lighting efficiency company that custom designs, manufactures, distributes, and installs energy efficient LED solutions, has joined the team as the primary sponsor.  ThinkLite is headquartered in Natick, Massachusetts with operations in over 14 countries.

“We are looking forward to showcasing the ThinkLite brand through the NASCAR outlet that Rob and LFR are providing,” said Danny Wadhwani COO-CFO of ThinkLite.  “Just like ThinkLite’s energy efficient lighting solutions, Rob’s product and professionalism are both topnotch, so I really believe that this partnership will be successful for both parties. We are excited to be the primary sponsor, to attend our first-ever NASCAR event and are cheering on Kyle!”

LFR 2019 Whelen Modified Tour car (Courtesy: LFR)

15-40 Connection will continue to be a part of the No. 15 team, entering its sixth year in the sport. 15-40 Connection is a growing national organization devoted to improving cancer survival rates by empowering people with the skills to identify and act on the early warning signs of cancer. 

“We’re thrilled to partner with Rob again for the 2019 season,” said Tricia Laursen, Executive Director of 15-40 Connection. “The No. 15 car is consistently one of the most competitive in the Whelen Modified Tour and the attention it garners also raises awareness for 15-40 Connection among race fans. Rob continues to be a great advocate and is part of our team that is saving lives by teaching people how to detect cancer early. We are excited to cheer on the No. 15 car, driver Kyle Benjamin and his crew.”

In addition to ThinkLite and 15-40 Connection, the No. 15 LFR modified sponsor line-up includes: Draco, RJF Commercial Properties, Evolution Baseball and Safe N Secure Self Storage.

The No. 15 ThinkLite / 15-40 Connection team will kick-off their race schedule on Sunday, April 7 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.  

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  1. What happiness to Chase ?

  2. Bud Byron,

    Chase and the team parted ways following the 2018 season. Here’s the story from October: Rob Fuller Motorsports Cutting Back To Part-Time Whelen Mod Tour Schedule In 2019

  3. Good to see a new young kid in a modified, but I think more importantly is a brand new sponsor to the sport , best of luck to all involved. And bud Chase is part time for Jamie tomaino

  4. Kyle Benjamin will be a great addition to an already stellar field of modified drivers. Will be interesting to see how he adapts to open wheel competition.

  5. Just to set the record straight. LFR has won all the driver’s championships in the last four years. In 2017 the #6 of Ed Partridge won the owner’s championship in a Troyer car

  6. Ed J. Really dude? Troyer is hanging on by a very thin thread. Your statement proves it. Digging deep bro. LFR has set the bar VERY high and others are still looking up. Let’s see how the Troyer TALFR does in 2019.

  7. It will be interesting to see if the teams who switched to LFR Gain performance or lose it.

  8. Ronny,
    I don’t care if chassis dynamics,spafco, or 2 Kwik chassis was the champion. All I am commenting on is the fact that LFR did not win the owner’s championship in 2017. STOP being so uptight because I pointed out a fact! LFR is the greatest chassis on the market today and no other chassis will ever compare to them. Is that what you want to hear Ronny? What is wrong with pointing out that a FACT was missing from a story? Oh I’m sorry Ronnie, the FACTS do not suit you. I really don’t care that it was a Troyer car. I have stated before that I am a Raceworks follower. So go ahead Ronny and start bashing Raceworks cars.

  9. Like I said earlier when someone asked who was driving the house car / whoever has the most money!

  10. Ed. Easy bro. All good. Just sounded like it would lead to a bash session. Steve….or should I call you another moron without facts. How much is Kyle paying since you have all the facts. My bet is Zero. What do I know though.

  11. The other bob says

    I’m not sure what to make of this. This guy has had success at a lot of what people would think as “upper divisions”. Success in K&N, ARCA, late models, trucks, just to name a few. Now, going to run a modified? I guess I’m not that smart. As I beleive modifieds to be the best of the best, in all of auto racing, I beleive Nascar thinks it’s a lower teir step up, to the premiere divisions. Seems to me, Kyle has already proven, he competes beyond the “lower” tiers. Not sure why this move is made. It’s not like our beloved modifieds get prime time tv coverage. What gives? JMO.

  12. old observer says

    other bob

  13. Steve the racer says

    Other Bob. The kid saw a fantastic opportunity and jumped. Ryan Preece has helped put this division on the map. The question is why did Dowling leave?? Was the wrath of Fuller too much? Did the Dowling kid not want to work?? Time will tell. Seems like a sweet situation to drive for Fuller. You know Benjamin had to get approval from JGR and KBM to do this. Seems like Dowling took himself out of the lime light. I like the kid. Just doesn’t look like he made a smart career move. Belichick is a hard coach but they win games!

  14. Preece won championship in 2013. That is 5 years ago. Doug won his first Championship with the 2 car in 2014 with a Troyes car. Then 3 more in a row with LFR I believe. And then Justin won in 2018. Wouldn’t that be 4 in a row for LFR ????? 😕

  15. My bad Ed J. The 6 car did win the owners title in 2017

  16. Ronny, really? Put the tour aside and look at track championships, or other touring series. Troyer rules. LFR has 4 tour Championships, Troyer double digits. Don’t see them hanging on by a thread.

  17. OK I’ll say it. As a Fuller admirer I’m disappointed. Granted this young man has a depth of experience for a young driver that is amazing. He’s a full bodied guy but clearly has the chops to handle anything with four wheels and with Fuller he’s guaranteed to run up front. LFR’s ride is very part time now and you could say Benjamin blowing in to light up the field at the biggest races, some with TV coverage, expands the fan base beyond the Northeast.. He may also bring some money to the table so the can’t be undervalued either.
    For all these reasons and more I’m too ignorant to know, you can bet this is the best decision LFR could have possibly made given Fullers record.
    That said…… come on man. A Super Late Model guy from South Carolina. We have a few talented young drivers up here that drive modifieds. Some have money and since the car is an experimental house car actually have modified experience to relate chassis performance to.
    It’s small minded regional thinking I know. I just don’t want to see a carpet bagger blow in and win the most prestigious races.

  18. Can I weigh in on Dowling? After all we are friends. Friends on Facebook that is. Which is to say complete strangers that click buttons but nonetheless I’ve been a fan.
    Sometimes people part ways and it has nothing to do with hard feelings. They just have different goals.
    Fuller was a task master that was on record as saying he wanted Dowling to focus on his NWMT ride and LFR equipment and discouraged him from the SK’s and racing other tour series. He made it clear publicly he thought he was giving Chase a major career opportunity and wanted complete focus. He wasn’t wrong.
    On the other hand Dowling is young. What to young people want to do? Experiment and spread their wings. Perhaps he chafed at the regimentation at LFR especially with all the inquiries he must have fielded from owners seeking to have him drive in other series. So like professionals they completed a very successful season and parted ways. At the same time another young driver that was given an opportunity by Fuller, Stephen Kopcik remains at LFR and is taking advantage of the learning experience he has been given. Neither is right or wrong. They just have different goals.
    Now Dowling I’m sorry to say is in North Carolina and Northeast racing has taken a back seat as far as his career goes. He’s riding horses with his sister and taking in the sights in Charlotte and has signed up to run part time with Jamie Tomaino on the NWMT. However my guess is his clear focus is to get some of the Super Late Model experience that Kyle Benjamin has a bundle of in hopes of advancing his career to the highest level.
    It’s almost like Benjamin and Dowling are mirroring the same goals to get experience in what they know the least. Isn’t that what the best drivers try too do?
    I’m gong to miss Dowling. I wish him success but if he ends back up here won’t be disappointed in that at all.

  19. The other Bob says

    Thanks guys. I have a much better understanding of “what gives” now. Some good observations made. Btw, does anybody know if Jon Mckennedy is running in the tour this year? Have he and Baldwin parted ways?

  20. Other Bob, saw something somewhere, forgot the driver’s name, was going to drive for Baldwin in the 7NY for the open shows at Stafford. Maybe Shawn can enlighten us on the situation.

  21. Rob p,

    Mike Christopher Jr. in Baldwin car for the May Open show at Stafford.

  22. The other bib says

    Thanks guys, saw the articles on open shows before. What I was wondering about was Jon’s plans this year, and if Baldwin was going to run anything on the Whelan tour. Thx.

  23. Doug. We share very similar thoughts. One thing you have to consider though. After the drama Fuller went through with the owner of Chases SK, dealing with him wanting to do other racing etc, I have to agree that Fuller made a good decision for him. He now has a driver focused on him and him only. A lot of the drivers up here have other commitments. After getting to read more and more about Fuller he is very greedy. With good reason though. He had a TON of money spent on his last young driver and that kid pouted because he wanted to race a SK 30 times a year while on Fullers pay roll and insurance. Not going to happen. Here is what you need to find out Doug. Why didn’t Chase come off the pay roll and insurance and just drive for Fuller????? Seem like a backwards move for sure. He went from a part time ride in probably one of the best cars to a part time schedule with Jamie Tomaino. Maybe the fact Chase lives in NC now? Not sure. Kyle lives in S.C. so that’s apparently not a issue for Fuller. Another interview with Kyle asked him what he is looking forward to the most and he commented that he has heard how smart Fuller is and looked forward to working and learning from him. I think Stephen and Kyle will gel nicely. Doug, Fuller also brought a bright young star into this series as well. Can’t wait for the race season!!

  24. Shawn, thanks for the info. I knew I’d seen an article just couldn’t remember the driver’s name. Getting old sucks

  25. Beam me up Scotty I’m totally on board with everything you said.
    Sounds like you know the inside scoop whereas I know whats reported and follow social media but guess on the reasons.
    Why didn’t Chase give the job up and just drive? I’ll ask you. Was he dead set on moving south for career reasons. I know the Tomaino deal is a head scratcher but maybe it makes sense depending on what Dowling lines up down there.
    I too am pumped about the season. Still hoping fanschoice streams the World Series in New Smyrna.
    Great read Scotty. Hope you continue to weigh in.

  26. If Dowling can line up sponsorship for the freshest, latest and greatest equipment and engines, he’ll be there with Troyer/Tomaino.

  27. The Other Bob says

    I guess my first impression of the young tour season that has not started yet, is the lack of full time teams, that can vie for the title.
    Looks like the 2, 51. Maybe the 16 if they can get the magic back. Not sure about the 3. Pennik proved the car is capable of being a threat, but now that he’s gone, can Swanson keep the momentum up in that car? Looks like we have lost the 7 on the tour this year (unconfirmed) as it appears Baldwin may dipping toes back in cup. Guess that’s maybe why he announced running a couple of opens only, as a guess.
    It appears we will only have the 6 here and there, and now the 15 is part time. I was hopeful for Williams in Berttuchio’s car last year, as there were a few moments of really progressive runs. Now I see he has Blewett in the car at New Symrna. Maybe just schedung issues for Williams, or maybe means nothing, not sure.
    Probably a breakout win for lutz, sapienza, if they stay at it. I don’t think Goodale has the consistancy to run for title, although a top 3-4 finish in points this year in my opinion, is not out of the question, due to lack of full time teams. It’s fun to see what developes in “hot stove” modified season!

  28. Dareal. You can have all the money in the world. Still need good people. If you think Tomaino can hang with Fuller in set ups your further behind than I have you credit for. Now if you drop facts from 1982 I’m goin to vomit. Maybe you can call Rob P and he can fill you in on what happened yesterday in the tour. Who cares. He said Tour aside. That’s funny. So let’s count the other un policed series where everyone winning is cheating. I will stick with the tour and more importantly the tour stats today.

  29. Since Tomaino is a Troyer dealer he should have the latest and greatest, I think he will do just fine if he can still bring his sponsors along

  30. Fast Eddie says

    If I remember right, Chase had some good runs driving for Tomaino before as a second car. If he is the primary driver and the team’s focus is on only one car, with Dowling’s experience since their last time together they may be a serious spoiler team for the full time runners.

  31. I understand the new Troyer TA3 is being debuted at New Smyrna. I don’t know how much R&D time it has or who has one but we will have to see how successful it is. Should be interesting.

  32. All about the money with LFR, how is putting a driver in with no modified experience helping develop the LFR brand. This is a renta-ride just like it was with Lajoie and others. Ran full time 1 season and blew their load, I am sure it was a dissapointing season for Fuller with 1 win, he thought they could buy the championship and the points fund $$$ but they finnished 2nd wich is a fraction of 1st place money hence why Dowling is out and car is back to part time.

  33. Garry wrote, “Dareal. You can have all the money in the world. Still need good people.”

    I’ve been saying that for quite a while, especially as it pertains to the fall of the 2 car. The 2 car just didn’t have its mojo in 2018. Probably fell out of favor with Fuller and wasn’t getting the top secret set ups. LOL!!!!!! And all the other cars with big budgets, all the best hardware, but no performance to show for it. I’ve been saying, for quite some time, it’s about the collection of talent.

    Chase is a driver that also appears to know quite a bit about set ups. He’s not a helmet bagger kinda guy. So if Tomaino gives Dowling all the right hardware, and latitude or reign over getting the car set up, they could be a decent contender.

  34. The other Bob says

    Question. Does The fact that Chase had last season in the LFR house car, mean LFR setups and characteristics translates to Troyer equipment? Just a fan of the races, and have no idea how all of that LFR information would benefit a Troyer setup. Apple and Orange? Or am I overstating something? I’m sure seat time in the series counts for some, but…

  35. Is the Jaimie Tomaino mystique about winning,accessibility, shear tenacity or a combination of all three? 621 NWMT starts. How is that even possible? But only 3 wins and his last top 5 was 2005. Last year a few starts that didn’t amount to much. A Troyer dealer that moved from Victory Lane, Howell, NJ to Midland, NC. Come on Troyer, update your web site. J T Motorsports Tomaino admits to being a low buck operation including his wife, daughter and another guy. Now building a new car with new hope and Dowling at the wheel for a few races. A front runner? There doesn’t appear to be any evidence that it’s a realistic expectation making all the more a huge story if it does. At the very least the contrast of part timers Dowling/Tomaino vs Fuller/Benjamin is potential drama that could be fun.
    To read and hear Troyer they are up to their eyeballs in dirt and asphalt modified orders. Including Rocco who took delivery of a TA1 in early January. Emerling a TA3 that he’ll race at New Smyrna. And speaking of New Smyrna TBR and the Catalano clan testing Troyer equipment like right now. Who’s driving the TBR car? Apparently Jon McKennedy having confirmed he is with TBR once again for 2019.
    In unrelated news Savary who I thought was retiring and Dowling the latest entries in the Stafford Opens bringing the car count to a very respectable 20 early in the going.
    Congratulations to the Patriots on yet another Super Bowl win and now onto the opening of the modified season only a few days away.

  36. Rich, all great points.

    Also, there are past champions available such as Lia, Szegedy and Silk. They have some name recognition too, and championship history. And others such as McKennedy, Masse, etc. Maybe these drivers have been there, done that, and don’t want anything to do with it.

  37. And Preece would have won the 2017 Championship along with his car if he didn’t get married and run xfinity races. Coby should have given Preece some very nice wedding presents.

  38. Can someone fill me in on why chase left LFR. Seemed like a good deal

  39. Rich I don’t know fuller personally he’s doing all the right things I see him at the race track.As far as paying for a seat or bringing sponsors that’s just smart business Tommy Baldwin and the hirshmans as well unless you just don’t mind spending 150k min to run respectable

  40. Garry,how did I get dragged into this. Yes I remember a time when all but maybe 2 cars were TROYER. Yes I like the old tines. But nowhere in this thread did I mention the old tines. This thread is full of speculation with LFR. To tell you the truth I could care less, as long as the racing is good.

  41. Money bags says

    Rich, why don’t you ask what Corey LaJoie brought to the table. I’m willing to bet he brought the same the Silk did and the same as Szegedy. A good amount of talent. NONE of them brought funds. Your just another loser that thinks they know everything and bashes LFR because it’s the cool thing to do. Kyle brought zero dollars. I would bet the farm. Just ask Fuller. He will tell you. Nothing to hide from that guy. He told the owner of the car I crew on that the best way to make his car go faster was to change the name on the roof. You know what, he was right. Pissed a lot of guys off but it was the truth. Dude pulls no punches and doesn’t need the cash. Needs wins to sell cars so think before you speak before you start sounding like dasomeone.

  42. Ha lots of Fuller friends on here I see, somebody said wins sells cars, hows that going to look when this car finnishes 6-10th every race. Somebody said that past drivers didnt bring any funds to the 15 only Talent hows that look when plenty of Drivers that can win in that car dont have a ride. Somebody said Fuller is a smart buisness man, hows that look when he has burned every partnership hes had.

  43. With all the drivers in modified country available, the 15 car has to go south looking for a modified driver? Geez, you’d think experienced, traditional, established, modified drivers would be beating the door down to drive a house car. Guess not. Clearly LFR does not intend to be competitive, since it is pulling driving talent from off-off-off-off-off Broadway. Let’s be real, Dowling drove the wheels off that car. If not for that effort, that car would have finished a few spots lower.

    Thank goodness Kopcik is still around or that 15 car would be in bigly trouble. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kopcik moves.

    Look at the Kyle Benjamin record… talent didn’t get him a ride or keep him in a ride in the upper echelon series, no matter how much was paid to put him in a ride. The house car found a pile of 💰💵💸 and has to use the driver 🤑 attached to the 💰.

    It’s the collective talent that wins. The team is only as good as the weakest link. The 2 car lost a few people and look what happened. Even Super Phil couldn’t compensate for all the talent that left the 2.

    Somebody said it earlier, that the 15 went for it in ’18 trying to buy a championship. It didn’t have the collective talent. Talent makes parts look good. If you can’t get good people to work for you, look what happens. The Trump administration is a perfect example of this dysfunction.

    Like Rich wrote, the 15 looks to be a 6-10 place car, if it is lucky.

    Looks like Ryan Stone has not been transmitting the secrets back to the mothership. And the collective talent of the 15 car just isn’t that good.

    Look at the standings… it is the collective talent that ends up being ranked.

  44. Hey Dareal only a short time till Myrtle Beach, bet you can’t wait to post Troyer 1-2-3 just like last year , when I guess the chassis meant everything , now it’s the people and nothing against Kopcik but if you think Fuller is In trouble with out him your even dummer than I thought . Was Chase a proven top talent when he was chosen for the 15 coming from the 9 , there might have been a few other choices then too , and was Kopcik a top crew chief ? , there might have been 1or 2 other choices , but it looks like he takes a chance on some young talent rather than recycling. I’m sure dareal knows best ,can’t wait Troyer 1-2-3

  45. Will be interesting to see if LFR continues it’s so called dominance now that Northeast is selling Fury cars.

  46. Rob p, does Northeast also sell crew chiefs, drivers, tire managers, etc? That’s what makes cars run.

  47. I for one do not believe the chassis issue is a deal maker or deal breaker. An orchestra making the purest sounds is comprised of instruments playing perfectly at that same time.
    However when everything else is equal the one change can be telling.
    Sapienza has a new LFR chassis doesn’t he? Were he to have a good week in Florida would that be a tell for LFR? How about Coby. Can he produce a really fast car in relationship to historically fast guys at the World Series like Hirschman and Preece? Maybe Emerling is in that group to with the new Troyer chassis I believe.
    This is going to be fun.

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