Ben Kennedy brings new perspective to management role

FORT WORTH, TX - NOVEMBER 03: Ben Kennedy, driver of the #33 Jacob Chevrolet, speaks to the media during a press conference prior to practice for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Striping Technology 350 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 3, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – France family scion Ben Kennedy brings a welcome point of view to his new role as general manager of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

As recently as last November, at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Kennedy competed in both the NASCAR Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series. The son of International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa France Kennedy and the nephew of NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France, Kennedy also fielded a team in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series.

“I think, more than anything, I can kind of bring my own perspective into the series,” Kennedy said. “I think being on both the driver side as well as the team owner side, I see both lenses, kind of, on the competition side.”

All told, Kennedy ran 73 Camping World Truck Series events and 17 Xfinity races, posting a victory in the Truck Series last year at Bristol. Though he says he will miss the competition, Kennedy is ready for the excitement of a new challenge on the management side.

“I had been thinking about it for a long time, and it was certainly a long decision for me,” said Kennedy, 26. “But I was happy with what I’ve done in my career in the trucks as well as Xfinity, and had some opportunities to continue forward.

“But I think more than anything, I’m so passionate about this sport and so passionate about the health of the sport, and this opportunity kind of came along, and really weighing out all my options, it made the most sense for me now and for the long run as well.

“I think it’s a good time for it, and the Camping World Truck Series is the best place for it.”

SHORT STROKES

In the final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice before Sunday’s Daytona 500 qualifying and the Can-Am Duels on Thursday night, Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender William Byron posted the fastest lap of the day on Saturday, running 201.681 mph in the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet…

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., a two-time winner on restrictor-plate tracks last year, was second fastest at 201.649 mph in the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, as drivers got their last chance to draft before the Duels…

Byron and Stenhouse had a close call late in final practice, narrowly avoiding what could have been a major crash in traffic on the first day on the track. “Yeah, that was one of those ‘Oh, shoot’ moments, but that was a lot of fun,” Byron said. “That was the best chance for me to really learn what I needed to do in the draft. I’m really glad we got a pack formed up like that and a chance to also see how our Axalta Chevy Camaro ZL1 handles. It handles good, it has a lot of speed, so hopefully we can keep that going and just learn a little bit.  Definitely, the lanes are always jostling, especially in practice you don’t really have a clear lane of where you are supposed to be. It was good for me to learn that.”

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