Ben Kennedy’s first weekend in the NASCAR XFINITY Series garage has gone pretty well so far after sweeping both of Friday’s practice sessions.
Kennedy is making his series debut this weekend at Iowa Speedway in the American Ethanol E15 250 after running full-time in the Camping World Truck Series since 2014. The youngster is the great-grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France, Sr., and is making a big splash in the XFINITY Series garage this weekend. He was fastest in the first practice session, and fastest in final practice with a lap of 23.541 seconds.
More than two tenths of a second behind Kennedy in practice was his RCR Racing teammate Brendan Gaughan in second. Gaughan is a two-time XFINITY Series winner, but the veteran is still looking for his first win of the year, and first at Iowa. Gaughan is currently seeded seventh in points, and holds a spot in the Chase.
Sam Hornish, Jr. was third in practice. Hornish is a three-time winner in the series, and is making his first start in the series since finishing 14th at Texas for Biagi-Denbeste Racing last year. Hornish ran full-time for Richard Petty Motorsports in the Sprint Cup Series last year, but hasn’t run since Homestead in November. Filling in for the injured Matt Tifft this weekend puts Hornish back in a substitute driver role that he’s been familiar with several times over the course of his NASCAR career.
Erik Jones was fourth in practice in his No. 20 Freightliner Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. Jones already has two wins this season, but a third at Iowa could keep someone else from securing their spot in the 12-driver Chase.
Rounding out the top-five in practice was part-timer Alex Bowman. Iowa marks Bowman’s fourth of nine scheduled races with JR Motorsports this season. Bowman led the field to the green last weekend at Michigan, but fell to seventh by the time the checkered flag flew. With Brad Keselowski being the only Sprint Cup driver in the field this weekend, the door could be open for the part-time driver to steal a win.
Daniel Suarez, Elliott Sadler, Brad Keselowski, Ty Dillon and Jeremy Clements were sixth through tenth in the final practice at Iowa.
Only 38 of the 41 cars made a lap in practice.