DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Fresh off a strong rookie campaign in the NASCAR K&N East Pro Series, 22-year old Oklahoma native Kenzie Ruston will join Ben Kennedy Racing to return to the series for the 2014 season.
Ruston twice earned the Sunoco Rookie of the Race honors on her way to sixth-place finish in the 2013 NASCAR K&N East Pro Series driver championship while racing for Turner Scott Motorsports. She will look to put the lessons learned in her rookie year to good use as she takes over driving duties of the No. 96 Chevrolet from Kennedy, who is moving up to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series next year.
“Racing against them last year, I saw first-hand how strong Ben Kennedy Racing is so I am very excited about having the opportunity to compete with them next season,” said Ruston. “The guys on the team have been together for a while, and you can tell that they mesh together really well. I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone and I’m just eager to get to work with them. I am a hands-on person and I like being in the shop and learning as much as I can about the car, so I know I will be making a lot of trips to Daytona Beach this season.”
A limited schedule of 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race outings netted Kennedy a best finish of fourth at Martinsville Speedway in just his fourth start. Those promising performances earned the youngster a nod for a full-season opportunity with Turner Scott Motorsports for the 2014 season, opening a new opportunity for Ruston.
While Kennedy will no longer drive for the team that bears his name, the announcement marks a new role outside of the car for Kennedy, who is working to complete his degree in Sports Management at the University of Florida.
“I’m very excited for the entire Ben Kennedy Racing team to be able to have someone like Kenzie joining us as our driver next year,” said Team Principal Ben Kennedy. “I’ve known Kenzie for several years now, and having raced against her, I know what she is capable of on the track. This is a very good group and everyone is looking forward to a big season with her.”
“I grew up racing late models against Ben, so to get the chance to drive for his team is pretty exciting,” said Ruston. “Coming back to the K&N Series for a second season, I’m really looking forward to getting the chance to race on tracks that I have experience on now. Last year, there were a lot of times that we would start practice for the weekend was the first time I was seeing the tracks. So I am excited for the whole situation, knowing the tracks, joining a good team, and getting to go race on some places that I fell in love with last year, I just can’t wait.”