For any young driver in the sport, it’s all about working your way up the racing ladder with hopes of being a Sprint Cup Series driver one day. Ben Kennedy is no exception to the rule as he is looking to make his way to Cup.
“This is my second year in trucks and hopefully it comes with a lot of success,” he commented. “Maybe jump in an Xfinity car for a couple races this year and maybe a full season next year. I don’t really know what the future looks like from that perspective. Going down the road, I’d like to make it up to the Cup Series and be a Daytona 500 champion and a Sprint Cup Series champion one day, but that’s my goal.”
Kennedy has had success respectively in his career so far, finishing ninth in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points last year driving for Turner-Scott Motorsports with seven top-10 finishes. He also proved that he could get it done in the NASCAR K&N Pro East Series, scoring two wins and nine top-10s en route to finishing fourth in points in 2013.
The new season brings change, though, as he will make the switch to Red Horse Racing, driving the No. 11 Toyota Tundra for the full schedule. Being that Toyota won 18 of the 22 races last season, Kennedy feels the move is huge for his career.
“Being aligned with Toyota is huge and it’s going to be a huge help to my career and growing up and developing as a race car driver,” he commented. “Not only being aligned with Toyota and TRD, but also Red Horse Racing as well. We have Scott Zipadelli who is going to be my crew chief this year and he’s a great guy. We have an awesome engineer and really have an awesome team that’s come together. I couldn’t be more confident going into this truck season.”
Entering the season, the 23-year-old is excited to get to work with the guys at Red Horse Racing as he feels that they’re an awesome electric, diverse group that will come together to make a well-rounded team for success.
“I’m mostly looking forward to seeing what we can do on the race track this year,” he added. “I think we’ll have a lot of opportunities and hopefully a lot of success comes with that.”
Being from Florida and having played at the speedway as a young child, it would mean a lot for Kennedy to score the victory in the season opener. However, it won’t be easy as he says anybody has a chance. He also added that is going to make qualifying important, in figuring out the best strategy to qualify well.
“If you can get on the pole then you have that last pit road spot and you can get out of pit road really easy and you can time it with everyone else,” he explained. “You can really judge your race off of everyone else and if you can beat everyone off pit road on a lot of stops that you’re just doing gas and go then hopefully you can get out front.
“It’s an interesting race and it’s really going to be about making that outside line work if you’re in the back of the pack. If you’re in the front then you’ll probably stay on the bottom. Being able to make that outside lane work makes it that much more intense and dangerous I think just because everyone is trying to side draft especially through the corners and they get the run down the straightaway.”
Now that he is aligned with Toyota, Kennedy hopes that perhaps one day he could get behind the wheel of a Cup car for Joe Gibbs Racing.
“I’ve talked to Joe (Gibbs, team owner) and J.D. (Gibbs, team president) a couple times and they’re a great group of people,” he commented. “Maybe that route. I’m not really sure to be honest.”