Bill France’s Great-Grandson Ben Kennedy Nets 1st Career NASCAR Victory With Win at Bristol

The great-grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France drove to victory lane for his first time ever in a NASCAR race on Wednesday night, as Ben Kennedy won the UNOH 200 at the Bristol Motor Speedway. Kennedy, passed NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points leader William Byron with 20 laps-to-go and never looked back, as son of Lesa France Kennedy, CEO of International Speedway Corporation and Vice Chairperson of NASCAR, became the first France family member to win a NASCAR national series race.

“I can’t put it into words,” said Kennedy. “Someone asked me earlier today what it’s like going to Bristol for your first time, and to win here is just so cool I’m speechless. The guys gave me an awesome truck. Everyone at GMS Racing, Jacob Companies, the fans in the stands, everybody watching on TV, gosh this is just the coolest day of my life.”

The win didn’t come as easy as it could have though, as Kennedy, a Daytona Beach, Fla. native had to endure a late race restart and avoid getting knocked out of the way by second place finisher Brett Moffitt.

Moffitt, driving the same Truck that Kennedy drove in select races this season, tried to move him out of the way with his bumped with two laps remaining. But, Kennedy pulled away and never let Kennedy close the gap any closer as he won by just 0.274-seconds.

“I was just thinking, ‘Go as fast as possible on this last lap,’ ” Kennedy said. “I knew Brett was putting pressure on me from behind. I appreciate him racing me clean. This is just so cool.”

Moffitt, earned his career best finish with a second place effort in the No. 11 Red Horse Racing Toyota.

But, for Kennedy, the win puts gives him a spot in the Truck Series Chase as it’s something he never dreamed would happen this season.

“We put this deal together (with GMS Racing) a couple months ago and I never imagined — I never would have imagined going into this race that we would be here today,” Kennedy said. “I thought we were a top-15 truck or a top-10 truck, but to actually be here in Victory Lane means the world to me.”

Daniel Hemric would bring his Truck home third while Byron and Johnny Sauter rounded out the top five.

It wasn’t a good night for the starters up front, as just one of the guys that started in the top five finished in the top 13. Pole sitter Tyler Reddick dropped back pretty quickly while second place starter Daniel Suarez held onto the lead for 77 laps and was one of the two drivers to beat in the closing stages before crashing in Turn 4 with 14 laps-to-go.

His Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate of Christopher Bell started fifth and had the Truck to beat as he led a race-high 101 of the 200 laps, but on a restart while leading with 56 laps left, he spun by himself exiting Turn 2. He would bounce back to finish sixth.

Both drivers that started in the second row had issues as third place starter Cameron Hayley and fourth place starter Ben Rhodes had mechanical issues as they’d finish 24th and 30th respectively.

ThorSport Racing also had a bad night too, as both Rico Abreu and Matt Crafton developed engine issues. They’d finish a disappointing 26th and 32nd respectively.

The race was delayed by almost an hour at the start due to rain moving through the Tennessee area a copule of hours before the scheduled green flag. But, NASCAR officials were able to get the 1/2-mile high banked oval dried quickly as we got to action just prior to 9 pm ET.

The series now heads to Michigan next week.

UNOH 200 Results:

  1. 33 Kennedy
  2. 11 Moffitt
  3. 19 Hemric
  4.  9 Byron R
  5. 21 Sauter
  6. 00 Custer R
  7.  4 Bell R
  8.  8 Nemechek
  9. 71 Jones
  10. 05 Townley
  11. 24 Grala
  12. 23 Gallagher
  13. 17 Peters
  14. 29 Reddick
  15. 75 Holman
  16. 66 Anderson
  17. 81 Little
  18.  2 Cindric -1
  19. 02 Hill -1
  20. 92 Kligerman -1
  21. 22 Self R -2
  22. 16 Friesen -2
  23. 86 Brown R -3
  24. 13 Hayley -3
  25. 50 Kvapil -3
  26. 98 Abreu R -6
  27. 07 Mills -9
  28. 49 Napier -9
  29. 51 Suarez OUT
  30. 41 Rhodes OUT
  31. 44 Martins OUT
  32. 88 Crafton OUT

 

Related posts

Leave a Reply