Ben Kennedy will compete in nine Xfinity Series races this year for Richard Childress Racing, driving the No. 2 Chevrolet.
Kennedy drove for GMS Racing in the Camping World Truck Series last year and claimed one win. His first 2017 start will be the May 6 race at Talladega Superspeedway. The No. 2 will also be driven by Austin Dillon and Paul Menard throughout the season.
“I’m thrilled that well-respected brands like Rheem and Menards are willing to lend their support and provide the opportunity to prove what I can do,” Kennedy said in a press release. “I may not have the experience that Cup Series drivers do, but I’m confident that I have what it takes to get to Victory Lane.”
According to the RCR press release, Menard and Dillon agreed to give up seat time in order for Kennedy to gain experience.
“I understand how important it is to give younger drivers a chance to make a name for themselves and gain valuable experience,” Dillon said in the release. “They can’t prove themselves unless someone gives them a shot, and I’m glad that Rheem and Menards want to provide Ben that opportunity.”
Kennedy, 25, became the first member of the France family to win a NASCAR race when he took his No. 33 Truck to victory lane last August at Bristol Motor Speedway. Kennedy’s mother is International Speedway Corp. CEO Lesa France Kennedy. His grandfather is former NASCAR CEO Bill France Jr.
Kennedy made his first Xfinity start last year driving the No. 2 car in the June race at Iowa Speedway. He started sixth and finished 10th.
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.”
K&N Pro Series West 2018 schedule includes Las Vegas dirt race
The 2018 K&N Pro Series West schedule includes the series’ first dirt race in 39 years.
NASCAR announced the 15-race schedule Monday, revealing the series will race on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track on Sept. 13.
The race will kick off NASCAR’s playoff-opening weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for all three of its national series.
It will be the series’ first dirt race since 1979 at Ascot Park in Gardena, California. The K&N West series joins the Camping World Truck Series in holding one dirt race a year. The Trucks race at Eldora Speedway in July.
The K&N West season will open March 15 at Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield, Calif.