Ben Kennedy Named NCWTS Rookie of the Year at Homestead-Miami Speedway
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (November 15, 2014) – In taking the checkered flag in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Ben Kennedy captured the 2014 Sunoco Rookie of the Year title, capping off his season with a top-20 finish. Despite handling struggles which resulted in a disappointing 17th-place finish, Kennedy made history as the first descendant of NASCAR’s founding family to complete a season in one of the sport’s top-three touring series.
After showing promising speeds in the weekend’s two practice sessions, Kennedy advanced to the final round of knockout qualifying, earning an 11th-place starting spot for the Ford EcoBoost 200. With tight handling on the race’s first long run, the 22-year-old was scored in the 12th position when the caution flag waved on lap 25. Crew chief Doug George called Kennedy into the pits for four tires, fuel and a track-bar adjustment, and the Heater.com Chevrolet returned to the track in 11th. When the yellow flag was displayed once again on lap 71, Kennedy had dropped to the 18th spot, struggling with a truck that was tight in the center and exit. Once again, the Turner Scott Motorsports team provided Kennedy with a four-tire stop, earning him five positions on pit road before the field went green on lap 76. The team was able to make a final swing at adjustments under yellow on lap 100, but despite restarting in the 11th position, the Heater.com Chevrolet continued to be plagued by handling, with Kennedy ultimately crossing the finish line in the 17th position.
Ben Kennedy on Homestead-Miami Speedway:
“This certainly wasn’t the kind of night on the track we wanted to end our season with, but tonight was really special. We had a great Heater.com Silverado in practice and qualifying, but that just didn’t translate over once the track cooled at night. Regardless, I could not be more proud of everyone on my Turner Scott Motorsports team. We had a lot of challenges and bad luck this year, especially in the second half of the season, but we just kept fighting until the end. We have a lot to look back on and be proud of on the track, but what’s even more important is how this team overcame adversity.”
Ben Kennedy on winning Sunoco Rookie of the Year:
“Every driver’s goal is to win Rookie of the Year when they enter a new series, and it’s obviously something you only get one shot at. Earning that title was a testament to our team and how hard every single person worked. It was a blast to compete against Tyler [Reddick] and the other talented guys in this year’s rookie class. I learned so much this year and had a lot of fun; these trucks handle so much different than anything I had ever driven before. I have a lot more to learn and accomplish, and I can’t wait to see what next year holds. It’s going to be a long off-season, because I already can’t wait to get to Daytona.”
In addition to clinching the Sunoco Rookie of the Year title, Kennedy ends the season ninth in the NCWTS Driver Point Standings with a total of one pole, one top five, seven top 10s and 58 laps led.