BRISTOL, Tenn. — Just four months after parting company with Red Horse Racing, Ben Kennedy, great-grandson of Bill France Sr., capitalized on a late race mistake by William Byron to score the Camping World Truck Series victory at Thunder Valley.
It’s the first career Truck Series victory for the driver of the No. 33 GMS Racing Chevrolet.
“I can’t put it into words,” said Kennedy. “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. 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.”
With the victory, Kennedy has claimed a spot in the inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase.
“We put this deal together (with GMS Racing) a couple months ago and I never imagined, I never would have imagined going into this race, that we would be here today,” he said. “I thought we were a top-15 truck or a top-10 truck, but to actually be here in Victory Lane means the world to me.”
Brett Moffitt came home runner-up in his No. 11 RHR Toyota, a career-best finish.
“We had a good truck, a strong truck all day. We ran top-five, top-10 most of it. He had just enough to get away from us on that last restart,” Moffitt explained. “After that, we got to him once but couldn’t get around.”
Daniel Hemric rounded out the podium in his No. 19 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford. Byron led one lap and brought his No. 9 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota home to a fourth-place finish. Johnny Sauter rounded out the top-five in his No. 21 GMSR Chevrolet.
Cole Custer finished sixth in his No. 00 JR Motorsports Chevrolet after overcoming spinning out past the first quarter mark of the race. Christopher Bell, who led a race-high of 101 laps and spun out of the lead just prior to the three-quarter mark, rallied back to a seventh-place finish in his No. 4 KBM Toyota. John Hunter Nemechek finished eighth in his No. 8 NEMCO Motorsports Chevrolet. Brandon Jones finished ninth in his No. 71 Ranier Racing Chevrolet. John Wes Townley rounded out the top-10 in his No. 05 Athenian Motorsports Chevrolet.
The race lasted one hour, 25 minutes and 59 seconds at an average speed of 74.387 mph. There were seven lead changes among five different drivers and nine cautions for 55 laps.
Byron leaves Bristol with a 37-point lead over Hemric in the points standings.Unofficial Results NCWTS at Bristol 8-17-16