Ben Kennedy Ties Career-Best Finish with Third-Place Result in Sin City

Ben Kennedy and the Local Motors team traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada for the Rhino Linings 350 this weekend and earned a third-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The No. 11 team logged the 16th-fastest time in the only practice session Saturday morning, and later that afternoon advanced to the second and final round of single-truck qualifying to earn the ninth starting position for the 146-lap race. As the sun set over the desert on Saturday night, Kennedy took the green flag at the 1.5-mile race track, however, starting on the inside line proved to be a disadvantage as he slipped from ninth to 15th by lap 10. Battling a slightly loose condition early in the event, crew chief Scott Zipadelli called for fuel and chassis adjustments while under the lap-14 caution, and again under yellow-flag conditions on lap 38 where they also changed the four Goodyear tires. As the night air set in and track conditions changed, the Daytona Beach, Florida native reported that the handling on the No. 11 Toyota Tundra was now tight. Teams began green-flag pit stops and Zipadelli called his driver to pit road on lap 93 for four tires, a full tank of Sunoco fuel, air pressure and a track bar adjustment. While the field cycled through pit stops, the Red Horse Racing driver climbed to the seventh position. Most teams running in the top 10 were nearing the end of their fuel window in the closing laps, and a number of trucks ran out prior to the checkered flag. In the final lap, Kennedy gained four spots to finish third, again tying his career best NASCAR Camping World Truck Series finish (Martinsville Speedway, March. 2014; Atlanta Motor Speedway, 2015; Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, 2015).
Start - 9
Finish - 3
Driver Points Position - 9
Laps Led - 0
Ben Kennedy Quotes:
"We had a really good race tonight here at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Scott (Zipadelli, crew chief) and the guys did an awesome job with our Local Motors Tundra. It was really cool to have a good run out here. This is cool to come out of here [at Las Vegas Motor Speedway] with this finish as Las Vegas is home to one of Local Motors' microfactory locations, so it was cool for us being tied in with them and having a good run like that. I'm happy for John Wes Townley and his team, too. I worked with a lot of those guys last year, and it's exciting for them to get their first win. I'm not excited about taking a couple weeks off - I'm ready to go back racing."
I knew we were close on fuel at the end and he [crew chief Scott Zipadelli] told me not to worry about it, to keep doing what I was doing. I had that going on in the back of my mind during that last lap. I knew that Timothy (Peters) pitted a lap before me, so he was going to run out of fuel before I did. We could see everyone running out of fuel on the race track and coming down pit road, but I had no idea we would end up third. I knew we were racing Timothy for the next position and then saw a bunch of those guys in front of us run out [of fuel]. In the back of your mind you wonder if you're actually racing for the win, but at the other end you're also thinking that you need to save some fuel so you can make it to the checkered flag. It was really close for us, but thankfully the No. 11 guys did the calculations right."

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Steven B. Wilson

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