Ben Kennedy will be behind the wheel of a NASCAR XFINITY car more than he originally thought when the season began, as the Daytona Beach, Fla., native and GMS Racing announced a multi-race partnership for the 2017 season Monday (April 17).
Kennedy will pilot the No. 96 Chevrolet Camaro for 12 races this season, per a team release. He will be a teammate to Spencer Gallagher, who has a best finish of 14th this season coming at Auto Club Speedway in the No. 23 car.
Kennedy was already scheduled to compete in nine races for Richard Childress Racing in the No. 2 Chevrolet this season on a part-time schedule. The announcement puts his NXS workload at 21 races for the season, barring any other changes.
He shared his excitement with his fans on Twitter.
— Ben Kennedy (@BenKennedy33) April 17, 2017
“I am really excited to be competing with GMS Racing in the XFINITY Series,” the 25-year old Kennedy said. “The conversation to get me in the second car has been ongoing since the end of last season. Everyone that works at GMS is so dedicated to the team. There’s a sense of family at the shop and at the track so I’m glad everything has finally lined up. GMS has shown speed this year in both series and I know that they will give me the necessary tools to run up front.”
The first race for the great-grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. will take place at Charlotte Motor Speedway next month in the Hisense 4K TV 300 on May 27 at 1 p.m. ET. He will make his RCR debut at Talladega Superspeedway on May 6 for the Sparks Energy 300.
In one career NXS race, Kennedy started sixth and finished 10th at Iowa Speedway in 2016 for RCR.
For the 12 races in 2017, Kennedy will have a familiar voice in his ear on top of the pit box in Jeff Stankiewicz. Last season at Kansas Speedway, Stankiewicz guided Kennedy to a top-10 finish. In their only other start together last season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Kennedy started third and finished 14th at Charlotte.
Kennedy also has one career win in 73 Truck Series starts, coming last season at Bristol Motor Speedway, which propelled his No. 33 GMS team into the playoffs. He has 26 career top-10 finishes in his NCWTS career.
“We couldn’t be more excited to have Ben fill our second car,” Mike Beam, GMS Racing director of competition, said. “This is a huge step for our XFINITY Series program and I look forward to watching Ben learn and grow as a driver through it.”
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Davey is in his fifth season with Frontstretch and currently serves as a multimedia editor and reporter. He authors the "NASCAR Mailbox" column, spearheads the site's video content and hosts the Frontstretch Podcast weekly. He's covered the K&N Pro Series and ARCA extensively for NASCAR.com and currently serves as an associate producer for SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and production assistant for NBC Sports Washington. Follow him on Twitter @DaveyCenter.