Ben Kennedy "pretty comfortable" ahead of Xfinity debut
Most of Ben Kennedy’s NASCAR experience of late has come in the Camping World Truck Series but this weekend at Iowa Speedway, he appears most comfortable in a car.
Kennedy, the 24-year-old great-grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., is making his debut in the Xfinity Series in Sunday’s American Ethanol 250, driving the No. 2 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing in what is now a one-race deal.
Kennedy hasn’t competed fulltime in a car since 2013, his last year in the K&N Pro Series East, when he registered two wins and finished fourth in the series standings.
While Kennedy has seen some modest success in the Truck series, he turned a lot of heads on Friday, when he was fastest in both practice sessions in Iowa in his first on-track experience in the Xfinity Series.
He will start sixth in Sunday’s race. Joe Gibbs Racing driver Erik Jones won the pole.
“Yeah, I found I was pretty comfortable with it. I kind of compare it to a K&N car in a way just because it doesn’t have the downforce and side-force that these trucks have,” Kennedy said Saturday at Iowa.
“My biggest issue wasn’t so much going into the Xfinity car, but going from the Xfinity car back into the Truck (in practice). It was just kind of a challenge for me when I realized how much deeper you have to drive into the corner and how much harder you have to attack it.
“I think we have a really good car for this weekend and I’m looking forward to it.”
Variables in his favor
Two factors should assist Kennedy this weekend – he has previous experience at the track and the car he’s driving has made a previous visit to Victory Lane.
Kennedy has three Truck starts at the 7/8-mile track, with an average starting position of 16.3 and average finish of 11.3.
“I’d be happy with a top-10 finish. I’m not trying to do anything crazy here,” Kennedy said. “I’m going to give 100 percent and I gave 100 percent in practice yesterday.”
Kennedy is driving RCR’s chassis No. 167. Austin Dillon won with the car last year at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In seven races, chassis No. 167 has six top-five finishes.
“It’s been great to work with Danny Stockman (crew chief) and his guys. This really just came together a couple of months ago. It’s just an awesome opportunity for me,” Kennedy said.
“I’m honored to be here. This is my first time ever driving an Xfinity car. Just having that experience with a very good team and fast cars is a big honor for me.”
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