While Bristol Motor Speedway might be one of the shortest tracks on the NASCAR calendar, the famed banked oval delivered a big moment as Ben Kennedy made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) debut in the UNOH 200 on Wednesday night.
Driving the No. 96 ModSpace Motorsports/Fresh From Florida Chevrolet Silverado, Kennedy soaked up every lesson that he could learn in each of his 199 laps of tough competition on the way to a 20th place finish in his first-ever start in the highly competitive category.
Kennedy opened the race from 19th on the grid, and fought on the lead lap until the long green flag run saw him cede the spot to the leader just ahead of a caution on lap 70.
After moving back to lead lap contention, a pit stop on lap 87 for new Goodyear tires and some adjustments at the left rear to free up the Silverado saw Kennedy restarting from 24th. Once again moving back up into the top-20, a pair of cautions, first at lap 177 and then again for a final run to the checkered from lap 187, saw Kennedy learning as much as the young college student could in his first run in the Camping World ranks.
The final 13 laps were full of tempers and paint trading in traditional NASCAR Camping World style, but Kennedy kept his nose clean and his focus clear as he was able to come home 20th with the Silverado, which proudly carried the colors of ModSpace and Fresh From Florida.
“I can’t thank my team enough and everyone at Turner Scott Motorsports who supported us,” said Kennedy. “I learned a lot tonight at Bristol [Motor Speedway], which was my main goal. I was able to run consistent lap times and avoided all of the spins on the track, so overall I would consider it a successful race. I can’t wait to get back in the truck in a few weeks at Iowa [Speedway]. I’ve run there a few times in the K&N Pro Series East, so I’m excited to get back there and get more seat time in the truck.”
But the young racer, who was recently named as part of the “NASCAR Next” field of stars to watch, is far from done for the week.
Wednesday night’s first chance to take on the national level competition will be followed up closely by Kennedy’s immediate focus this year--the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship. And this Sunday, Kennedy will be making another debut as he looks forward to being a part of his first road race at Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Virginia for the Biscuitville 125.
Sunday Group PR