Thursday’s roundup: Ben is first France with NASCAR win

George Diaz
Orlando Sentinel

Ben Kennedy, the great-grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., won a NASCAR race last week.

No pressure, kiddo.

“I can’t put it into words,” said Kennedy after his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory, which came at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Kennedy took the lead from William Byron with 20 laps to go and then withstood a six-lap shootout with Brett Moffitt. In winning for the first time in 63 career starts, Kennedy became the first France family member to win a NASCAR race.

“Someone asked me earlier today what it’s like going to Bristol for your first time, and to win here is just so cool,” Kennedy said. “I’m speechless. The guys gave me an awesome truck.”

Kennedy, 24, is the son of International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa France Kennedy. He very likely secured a berth in the inaugural Truck Series Chase.

“We put this deal together with GMS Racing a couple months ago and I never imagined going into this race that we would be here today,” Kennedy 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.”

Tribute to Tony

Kevin Harvick proved that he was a great teammate for Tony Stewart in Bristol.

Who else asks a competitor to join him on a victory burnout?

“I wanted him to go on a victory lap with me and say goodbye to all the fans one last time here at Bristol,” Harvick said afterward. “But that was pretty cool, doing burnouts with him.”

It was cool for everybody — Harvick, Stewart, fans, media types. You know the circumstances: Stewart, a three-time Cup champion, is retiring after this season. He’s made a late run this season to qualify for the Chase and be in the hunt for another title.