Saturday, April 13, 2013
Ben Kennedy captured his first career win in dominant fashion - leading the NAPA Auto Parts 150 wire-to-wire as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East made its inaugural visit to Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla., on Saturday. Earlier in the day, Kennedy established himself as the one to beat at the half-mile track in his home state - topping the speed chart in practice and winning the Coors Light Pole Award in qualifying.
The 21-year-old from Daytona Beach, the grandson of the late NASCAR Chairman Bill France Jr., held off multiple challenges throughout the 150-lap event and maintained command even after his sizeable lead was erased by a late-race caution.
"It's so cool to come here to Pensacola and win," said Kennedy. "This is a track with so much prestige and this is phenomenal."
Fifteen-year-old series rookie Gray Gaulding had to settle for second, with John Van Doorn third. Brett Moffitt came home fourth, followed by Kenzie Ruston. Bryon Ortiz, Dylan Kwasniewski, Sergio Pena, Ryan Gifford and Brandon Gdovic completed the top 10.
Kennedy, the great-grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., got his first win last year in the Euro-Racecar Series in Tours, France. This was his first win in the U.S. and came in his 30th NASCAR K&N Pro Series East start. His previous best finish was third (twice).
Both Penske Racing cars my face penalties this week after NASCAR confiscated the rear end housing and other parts from both cars before Saturday night's NRA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Both the No. 2 Ford driven by Brad Keselowski and the No. 22 Ford driven by teammate Joey Logano went through pre-race inspection at least twice on Saturday before NASCAR had both teams remove parts from the rear end of both cars.
So long as both cars still passed inspection, the drivers would assume their respective starting positions for the start of the race.
Any NASCAR penalties would generally be released by Tuesday.