Flat Tire Relegates Kennedy to 15th-Place Finish in Road Course Debut
Ben Kennedy and the No. 31 Heater.com team overcame an early pit-road penalty in the Rookie of the Year contender's first road course event in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS). After serving a pass-thru penalty on lap 16, Kennedy appeared to be on his way to a top-10 finish in his debut at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. However, a flat tire in the closing laps dashed those chances, ultimately resulting in a 15th-place finish in the Chevrolet Silverado 250.
After making it to the final round of knockout qualifying, Kennedy took the green flag from the 12th position and advanced into the top 10 by lap 13. With pit strategies varying within the field, green-flag stops began early, and Kennedy brought his Heater.com Chevy to pit road under green on lap 15 from the seventh spot. A quick stop for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment appeared to keep Kennedy's charge to the front on track, however, the No. 31 team was penalized for a crew member going over the wall too soon. Forced to serve a pass-thru penalty, Kennedy remained on the lead lap but was now mired in the 20th position. Despite fighting a tight race truck, Kennedy resumed his fight to the front, taking over the 11th position by the time he made his second scheduled pit stop of the event. With four fresh tires and enough fuel to make it to the end, Kennedy was running solid lap times when the caution flag was displayed for the first time on lap 48. As the last truck on the lead lap, Kennedy didn't have anything to lose by visiting pit road, and crew chief Michael Shelton called his driver into the pits for a splash of fuel, a tear off and an addition of tape to the nose. Scored 14th when the race went back to green with eight laps to go, Kennedy was once again creeping into the top 10 when he keyed the radio to state that he had a right-rear tire going down. Forced to visit pit road under green for right-side tires, Kennedy once again remained on the lead lap, crossing the finish line in 15th.
Ben Kennedy on Canadian Tire Motorsports Park:
"We had another rough day today; we really need to break this bad-luck streak. The Heater.com team prepared a really great truck and we were pretty solid out there toward the end. We would have had at least a top 10 if that tire hadn't gone down. Regardless, this was a really fun race; the fans here are incredible and this was a very fun track to drive."
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