Kennedy beat Dylan Kwasniewski, a highly regarded young driver considered one of NASCAR’s future stars.
But it was a significant win for Kennedy because of his family history at the track. Betty Jane France, his grandmother, is from Winston-Salem and was a former Miss Bowman Gray Stadium. She met her husband, the late Bill France Jr., at the track when he worked there promoting races for his father.
CHASE ELLIOTT: Chase Elliott took a major step toward racing on superspeedways Wednesday when he tested an ARCA car at Pocono Raceway.
Elliott took advantage of an ARCA Racing Series rule change that allows 17-year-olds to drive at both Pocono Raceway and Kentucky Speedway this year as long as they complete a test and meet other requirements by the series.
Elliott is entered in Saturday’s Pocono ARCA 200.
“This is really a whole new experience for me,” Elliott said. “I’ve never been on a place this big. The car felt really good, as best as I can tell. I know the car’s fast. If we’re not completely up to speed, it’s just me not carrying enough speed through the corners. I’m still getting used to what this place is all about, and what it needs from a driver. I think I was a little off on the first run, but I’ll get there.”
Elliott was at Pocono Raceway in a Hendrick Motorsports car with crew chief Lance McGrew. His father, 1988 NASCAR champion Bill Elliott, was also on hand. It’s been more than a decade since ARCA allowed a 17-year-old on a superspeedway. NASCAR does not permit it, although the Truck Series permits 17-year-olds to race on tracks one mile or shorter. Elliott raced at Dover last week in the Truck Series.
Three 17-year-olds, Elliott, Erik Jones and Taylor Ferns, were scheduled to test at Pocono Raceway on Wednesday in an attempt to get ARCA approval to race either this weekend or in August.
“We recognize that our sport is generating a greater number of younger drivers with a broader base of experience,” said ARCA President Ron Drager.
RACE TO THE CLOUDS: Simon Pagenaud will make his “Race to the Clouds” debut later this month when he drives a highly modified Honda Odyssey as part of Honda’s record 11-vehicle, nine-class effort at the 2013 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
Pagenaud will drive a turbocharged, 500-plus horsepower Honda Odyssey, originally developed for competition by associates at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama.
“This is something I’m really looking forward to,” Pagenaud said. “I’ve done a little bit of rallying in France, and I used to watch highlights of the Pikes Peak race on television as a kid. Our entry will be unique, to say the least. A Honda Odyssey with power similar to an IndyCar will raise some eyebrows for sure.”