Friday, August 19, 2016

Caution Clock Chaos: Ben Kennedy Nabs First Truck Series Win at Bristol


Ben Kennedy celebrates his Truck Series win at Bristol, Aug, 17, 2016.
Credit: Sean Gardner / NASCAR via Getty Images  

by Courtney Horn

In his 63rd series start, Ben Kennedy scored his first Camping World Truck Series career win Wednesday night at Bristol Motor Speedway. Kennedy gained the lead from rookie William Byron with less than 20 laps to go.

“I can’t put it into words,” Kennedy said. “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.”

Kennedy, who's the great-grandson of  Bill France Sr., is the first member of the France family to score a victory in a NASCAR national event.

“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 UNOH 200 on Wednesday night included nine cautions, including one for light rain in the early laps. Christopher Bell was leading on Lap 142 when he went for a spin while battling with teammate Daniel Suarez. Bell remained on the lead lap to bring home a seventh-place finish despite leading a total of 101 laps.

Suarez, who led three different times, seemed on his way to his first career NCWTS victory when a right rear tire went down in the closing laps. Heavy damage to the No. 51 Toyota ended Suarez’s night, and he finished 29th.

Another caution flew when Tommy Joe Martins spun, causing the No. 49 of Bryce Napier and the No. 07 of Matt Mills to stall on the track. 

A Look Forward to the Chase
Only three races remain before the first Truck Series Chase begins, and a few stars are on the outside looking in. JR Motorsports’ Cole Custer salvaged a sixth-place finish after an early spin, and is on the bubble sitting ninth in points.

Tyler Reddick finished 14th, and is currently 10th in points, 11 points below the cutoff. Looking ahead to Michigan, Reddick hopes for his first win of the season to put himself back inside the top eight and secure his position in the Chase.

Cameron Hayley had a rough night, finishing 24th after blowing a tire, he currently ranks 11th in the standings.

Only six series regulars have wins so far, so a victory for one of these drivers before the September 24th Chase opener at New Hampshire could secure him a spot in the "Round of 8."

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