Johnny Benson, Jr. awake and alert following crash at Berlin Raceway - Update
Johnny Benson, Jr. was competing at his home track, Berlin Raceway, last night when he was involved in an accident early on in the ISMA SuperModified 50-lap feature event. Benson was transported to Spectrum Hospital and is currently listed in serious but stable condition.
The Grand Rapids driver, who started deep in the field, was making his way toward the front early in the event when he made contact with Larry Lehnert, driver of the #92. The two cars, who were entering turn #3 at more than 120 miles per hour, made wheel-to-wheel contact and that sent both cars spinning towards the outside barrier. Both cars bounced off the wall and slid back down the track as Benson's #21 machine caught fire. The Berlin Raceway safety response team was positioned just a few hundred feet away from the incident, and were at the scene to extinguish the flames just seconds after the red flag was thrown.
The Life EMS emergency response crew, along with Berlin Raceway officials and safety team, worked carefully to extract Benson from his race car. Benson was awake and alert during the process and gave race fans a wave when loaded into the ambulance.
“He was pretty sore, but he seemed to be doing well last night when I talked to him,” Benson Sr. said. “The car’s driver side hit the wall hard, and it’s a testament to the Hans (head and neck safety) device and the safety seat in the supermodified car that held him in place so well. I have to commend the safety crew and ambulance crew at Berlin Raceway for their quick response - they did their job well, putting the fire out quickly and taking care of Johnny.”
Benson Sr. said the fuel line was cut in two when it was pinched between the rear axle and the frame. The alcohol-based fuel that these supermodified cars use burns blue and very hot, and Benson managed to come out of it with barely any burns due to the quick response by the safety crew. The frame of the car was not bent badly, and all of the safety aspects of the car held up well, which allowed Benson to escape without major injuries.
Larry Lehnert, who was also involved in the accident, got out of his car under his own power with no reported injuries.
“We go to tracks all around the country and Berlin Raceway has done an amazing job in handling and taking care of Johnny and his family. This is certainly one of the finest groups that we work with anywhere,” ISMA SuperModified Race Director Jerry Kritzman said following the event.