Ben Kennedy NCWTS Preview: Martinsville Speedway I
Back On Track...The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) returns to action for the first time since the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway as the series heads to Martinsville Speedway for the Kroger 250. The 0.526-mile 'paperclip' is one of only five tracks on the schedule where Kennedy has previous NCWTS experience. The Rookie of the Year contender turned heads in an impressive run in the fall race last year, qualifying within the top 15 before bringing home a fourth-place finish.
A Special Cause...This weekend at Martinsville Speedway, Kennedy's No. 31 Chevrolet Silverado will be carrying the colors of the ALS Association. ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects neurons (nerve cells) in the brain and the spinal cord. Eventually, people with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which often leads to total paralysis and death within two to five years of diagnosis. For unknown reasons, veterans are approximately twice as likely to get ALS. There is no cure and no life-prolonging treatments for the disease.
The ALS Association is the only national non-profit organization fighting Lou Gehrig's Disease on every front. By leading the way in global research, providing assistance for people with ALS through a nationwide network of chapters, coordinating multidisciplinary care through certified clinical care centers, and fostering government partnerships the ALS Association builds hope and enhances quality of life while aggressively searching for new treatments and a cure. For more information, visit ALSA.org.
A Special Person...ALS and the ALS Association are particularly near to Kennedy's heart, as close family friend Annette Farmer was diagnosed with the disease in 2010. Farmer will be riding along with Kennedy for this weekend's 250-lap race with her name above the right-side door of the No. 31 Silverado. Kennedy has supported ALS research in the past as a result of his close connection to the cause, running in the Daytona Beach Half Marathon and honoring Farmer with a fraternity fundraiser last year, raising more than $20,000.
Previous Race Recap...Kennedy sat on the pole and made his first laps of competition around Daytona International Speedway, ultimately finishing 15th in the 100-lap NCWTS event. The NextEra Energy Resources 250 was the culmination of a journey which began with Kennedy leading the first test session of pre-season testing and continued with the 22-year-old driver pacing the first practice session and starting from the pole before leading 52 laps in an impressive Daytona debut, effectively becoming the first France descendant to compete in a top-three NASCAR series event at the famed speedway.
This Week's Silverado...Kennedy and the No. 31 ALS Association Silverado crew will utilize chassis TSM-228 this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. TSM-228 was raced by James Buescher in both the spring and fall Martinsville races as well as Bristol Motor Speedway in 2013, earning a best finish of seventh (Bristol).
Watch and Listen...The Kroger 250 can be seen live on Saturday, March 29 on FOX Sports 1. Race coverage will begin at 2:00 p.m. EDT, and the event can also be heard live on MRN Radio as well as SiriusXM Radio, channel 90.
Ben Kennedy on Martinsville Speedway
"After the fourth-place finish we had there last year, Martinsville is a race that I've had circled on my calendar since the schedule came out. We had a great run there, and anytime you can go back to somewhere that you have experience, there's things you've learned that you can take with you into the next race. I'm very excited to have the ALS Association on our Chevy Silverado this weekend, and it's really special to have Annette's name on the truck. She's a very good friend of my family and she was diagnosed with ALS four years ago. We want to do everything we can to educate people about the disease and help fund research to find a cure."