Monday, September 20, 2021

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Ben Kennedy pleased with NASCAR Next Program; comfortable with pressure

Next weekend at Richmond International Raceway, NASCAR will be announcing the next generation of NASCAR Next superstars. The drivers announced as part of the program are promoted as the future of the sport to the fans and put through a series of marketing initiatives by sport officials.

“I think the program has been great being in it the last year,” Kennedy commented. “It really gets you a lot of exposure in front of the media a whole lot.  It gets you what I whole lot more comfortable being in the spotlight and everything.  Being able to work with all these great drivers, it made a really good bond with everyone throughout the whole program.

“It’s cool because at different venues, I know we went to Chicago last year and did that, and went down to Homestead, and did a little deal with the school and everything.  So it’s cool to go to all these different venues with your fellow drivers.  I think our NASCAR Next class has some real potential to be in the Cup series one day.”

Being apart of the program brings a lot of focus to the individual drivers and heightens the pressure to succeed. However, with Kennedy, the pressure is there from outside observers with Kennedy being the great grandson of NASCAR’s founder Bill France. Kennedy says, though, that doesn’t change things from his perspective as he feels that everybody has a bit of pressure on them.

“Any driver out there will have pressure on their shoulders to perform and compete,” he commented. “Especially coming up in a national series.  We all want to be Cup drivers eventually.  There is definitely that pressure that everyone’s watching you.  So, it’s definitely there.  If anything, it’s a little more motivation for me.”

Coming from a racing family, certainly there’s a lot of advice that a driver can receive, though Kennedy says the most important advice he’s received from his mom Lesa and his uncle Brian is to enjoy it every step of the way.

“They’re really strong supporters of my racing,” he commented. “I’ve always been around the sort of business side of the sport I guess you could say.  I think it’s really opened their eyes having someone in their family that’s a competitor in the NASCAR National Series.  So it’s just being open to everything and leaving the doors open.”

Kennedy is certainly keeping the doors open for himself as well racing, he has been going to university for sports management.

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