In his first-ever NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race at Dover International Speedway, Ben Kennedy showed that persistence and experience could pay dividends at a track as challenging as the Monster Mile. Kennedy, who came into the Lucas Oil 200 with three NASCAR K&N Pro Series East races in Dover under his belt, faced challenging and changing track conditions. However, the No. 31 Click It Or Ticket Chevrolet team battled the changing track, ultimately scoring a seventh-place finish in the 200-lap event.
Taking the green flag from the 10th position after the starting lineup was set by the rule book, Kennedy survived a rash of cautions caused by three major on-track incidents in the first 27 laps, dropping as low as 14th but ultimately running lap times consistent with the top five. The 22-year-old driver had worked his way back up to 10th when the field finally came to pit road under yellow on lap 76. Reporting that his truck was "light in the rear coming down the hill and tight off," crew chief Michael Shelton called for four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment. The No. 31 team performed a lightning-fast pit stop, putting Kennedy in the sixth position for the lap-82 restart. With this adjustment, Kennedy entered the top five on lap 91, remaining there for more than twenty laps, but he began to quickly lose positions when his handling suddenly changed to "wrecking loose" on lap 124. Kennedy had dropped back to the 10th position and was a lap down to the leaders when the fifth caution flag of the day waved on lap 135. Shelton once again called his driver into the pits, providing him with four tires, fuel and a major track-bar adjustment. Kennedy's truck was a little tight but the handling eventually came to him by the yellow on lap158, with the No. 31 scored in the ninth position. Although the team contemplated coming in to make further adjustments, Kennedy ultimately stayed on the racetrack after the lead lap trucks all dove to pit road, allowing him to benefit from the wave around rule and get back on the lead lap. In the closing laps, Kennedy was able to claim two more positions, ultimately crossing the finish line in seventh place.
Ben Kennedy on Dover International Speedway:
"This was another really good race overall for our Click It or Ticket team. It had a lot of ups and downs; we'd go from tight to wrecking loose over the course of a run. I learned a lot about changing track conditions and how much a place like this changes as the sun goes down. Shelton did a great job adjusting the truck and making the right calls to allow us to finish on the lead lap, and the guys were awesome on pit road. I really can't wait to get to Texas to see if we can get ourselves a win; it feels like it's coming soon."
Kennedy remains sixth in the NCWTS Driver Point Standings, just one point outside of the top five. Kennedy's finish also earned him Sunoco Rookie of the Race honors for the second-consecutive week. The NCWTS returns to action next week at Texas Motor Speedway. The WinStar World Casino & Resort 400 airs at 9:00 p.m. EDT on June 6.