Racing has been in Ben Kennedy’s DNA since the day he was born.
The 24-year-old is the great grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France and the son of NASCAR vice chairperson Lesa France Kennedy. Despite Kennedy’s pedigree, it had been 63 career starts with a victory in the Camping World Truck Series.
On Wednesday night however that all changed as with 20 laps to go, he passed William Byron for the lead and held off Brett Moffitt over the final six laps after a late restart to win the UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
“A lot of things haven’t sunk in,” Kennedy said. “To be honest, this win hasn’t sunk in yet. Just crossing the finish line and seeing the checkered flag, it kind of seems like a blur in a way. It’s really cool”.
After the race, Kennedy spoke with his mother and said she was excited for him, just as much you could tell he was himself.
“I can’t really put it into words,” Kennedy said. “Honestly, it’s the first time I’ve gotten emotional in a race car. Coming off of Turn 4, and knowing that you have the checkered flag, and seeing it at the start-finish line is real special. It’s tough to put it into words but I’ll remember this the rest of my life.”
Moffitt scored his best career finish of second, just one spot short of that elusive first win.
“I’m going to race people the way I want to be raced,” Moffitt said. “But it is Bristol so if you need to move someone you’ve got to move them. I just wasn’t quite good enough through the center (of the corners) to get to him. He slipped up a few times and I was able to get to his bumper once but didn’t get to him hard enough.
“I was really waiting for him to make a mistake, so I could shove my nose in there, but he executed when he needed to.”
Daniel Hemric would finish third followed by Byron and Johnny Sauter. Cole Custer, Christopher Bell, John Hunter Nemechek, Brandon Jones, and John Wes Townley would round out the top ten. Pole sitter Tyler Reddick finished 14th after setting a new track record in qualifying.
ThorSport Racing had a tough night as all four of its trucks would encounter mechanical problems. Matt Crafton finished 32nd after engine issues ended his night after just 70 laps; Ben Rhodes was strong early but suffered the same fate as Crafton and was relegated to a 30th place finish. Cameron Hayley and Rico Abreu would finish 24th and 26th respectively after battling issues of their own requiring lengthy pit stops.