PENSACOLA, Fla. — 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 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 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).
Kennedy was one of five drivers in the field with previous experience at the Pensacola track. He has twice competed in Super Late Models at Five Flags.