WHAT WENT RIGHT: The grandson of the late Bill France Jr., and son of International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa France Kennedy, Ben Kennedy enjoyed the best of his first three full-time seasons in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Not only did he earn his first career win in the series (Bristol, spring), he also had his highest finish in the series (seventh). … Qualified for the first Truck Chase and advanced to the second round before being eliminated from the third and final round.
WHAT WENT WRONG: Kennedy failed to make the final round of the Chase due primarily to an 18th place finish at Martinsville and 13th place showing at Texas. … Kennedy began the season with Red Horse Racing, but parted ways after the third race of the season. He rebounded by signing with GMS Racing, for which he spent the rest of the season with.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2017: Kennedy has continued to make progress in each of his three full-time seasons in the Truck Series to date, a trend that is likely to continue in 2017. He also competed in one Xfinity Series race in 2016 (top-10 finish), and it’s likely he’ll do so again in 2017.
After a one-year absence, AJ Allmendinger will return to the Rolex 24 at Daytona next month.
Allmendinger, who drives for JTG Daugherty Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series, will once again drive for Michael Shank Racing in the endurance race at Daytona International Speedway, which will be held Jan. 27 – 28.
A winner in the 2012 Rolex 24 at Daytona, Allmendinger will split time in the No. 93 Acura NSX GT3 in the GTD class with Justin Marks, Lawson Aschenbach and Mario Farnbacher.
Allmendinger drove for Michael Shank Racing in the endurance race from 2014-16. His best result during that stretch was fifth in the Prototype class in 2015.
“I am pumped to be back racing for Shank in the (Rolex) 24. I missed the race last year and I hated to, so I’m really glad to be back,” Allmendinger said in a press release. “His whole team did an awesome job with the Acura last year and it is awesome to be back with him for the Rolex. After racing for the overall win so many years in Prototypes, it will be a completely different experience to be racing in the GTD class, but I’m looking forward to it. Mike (Shank) always puts an awesome team together and this year is no different so I am counting down to get my first shot in this car.”
Allmendinger is coming off his fourth full year of driving the No. 47 Chevrolet for JTG Daugherty Racing. He finished the season 27th in the standings, his worst during his tenure with the team. He earned one top five and five top 10s.
Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s will sponsor Richard Childress Racing in multiple races in the Cup and Xfinity Series next year, the team announced Monday.
Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s merged in September 2017.
The outdoors brands will be on Ryan Newman‘s No. 31 Chevrolet during the 60th Daytona 500 on Feb. 18 and in several other races during the season.
They will also be a primary sponsor for Austin and Ty Dillon on the No. 3 Chevrolet in the Xfinity Series for several races.
“Our relationship with Bass Pro Shops dates back to the mid-1990s and we’re thrilled to be able to continue it during the 2018 season,” team owner Richard Childress said in a press release. “Austin, Ty and Ryan are terrific ambassadors for the great outdoors. They are all passionate about our hunting, fishing and conservation heritage which has made this partnership thrive.
“Next season will be exciting as we welcome Cabela’s, the iconic outdoor brand acquired by Bass Pro Shops, to the RCR family.”
In an update Sunday written on CaringBridge.org, Ingram’s daughter, Ingrid Jones, said her father remains in the Intensive Care Unit at Asheville’s Mission Hospital.
According to Jones:
“Daddy continues to hold his own, making healing steps forward and then a step back, which we fully expected-but he’s surprising us each and every day with his strength and courage to overcome this. Overall, he’s doing amazingly well.”
Ingram’s family had hoped he could have moved out of ICU and into the Trauma Unit as the next phase of his recovery, but he remains in intensive care.
“For now, he’ll remain in ICU until he can go a full 24 hours without ventilator assisted breathing. We’re almost there … but may still be a few days.”
Ingram, who turns 81 on Dec. 28, was able to sit in a chair and watched part of Sunday’s NFL game between the Carolina Panthers and Minnesota Vikings with his family. Jones wrote that Ingram also was surprised to learn that the mountain near the family’s Asheville-area home received a total of 16 inches of snow Friday and Saturday.
Jones added, “We continue to be optimistic for his health, and we also continue to appreciate the prayers and encouraging thoughts.”