Ben Kennedy was ready to do battle in his return to the 'Last Great Colosseum' of Bristol Motor Speedway before brake issues early on hindered the No. 31 Heater.com team. After a strong start to the rain-delayed UNOH 200, Kennedy reported a braking problem only 34 laps into the 200-lap event. Despite the best efforts of the Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) crew, braking hampered the performance of the team for the remainder of the race, ultimately resulting in a 21st-place finish.
Fresh off a recent test at the 0.533-mile oval, Kennedy and his No. 31 team were anxious to return to one of the few tracks on the 2014 schedule where Kennedy had previous NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) experience. After making it to the final round of knockout qualifying, Kennedy took the green flag from the 12th position. Holding steady in the opening laps, Kennedy was scored in the 14th position when the first caution flag of the day waved on lap 16. Opting to remain on the racetrack, Kennedy restarted in 13th when racing resumed on lap 24. Despite his truck needing a little help rotating on initial throttle, Kennedy held his position until lap 34, when the Rookie of the Year candidate keyed his radio to report that he had "no brakes." With little stopping power, and without the ability to maneuver his Chevrolet Silverado through the turns with his brakes, Kennedy quickly dropped back to the 20th position. With a scheduled competition caution coming on lap 50, Kennedy's crew encouraged him to hold strong until the yellow flag and ride around the outside line of the racetrack, requiring less braking. Coming to pit road under caution, the Heater.com team provided him with four tires and fuel while trying to troubleshoot the brake issue. The team was able to keep Kennedy on the lead lap, but could not find the issue with the braking system. This continued throughout the race, with the team employing several methods to diagnose the problem and radically adjusting the handling of the No. 31 Chevrolet to tackle the high-banked turns of the World's Fastest Half Mile with limited braking. Despite the team's hard work and Kennedy adapting to the challenge, the Heater.com Silverado ultimately fell multiple laps down, resulting in a 21st-place finish.
Ben Kennedy on Bristol Motor Speedway:
"Today was a challenge. I've been looking forward to coming back to this track since I made my Truck Series debut here last year, and this was a really disappointing way to return. My guys worked so hard to try to figure out what our braking problem was and help me out in every way they could, but ultimately, I was running with very little braking power for most of the race. As contradictory as it sounds, you need brakes to go fast. Regardless, I'm really proud of this entire team for their hard work today, and I'm looking forward to mixing it up next weekend with the road course race in Canada."
Kennedy is now ninth in the NCWTS Driver Point Standings. The series next heads to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park outside of Toronto, Canada for the only road course race of the season. The Chevrolet Silverado 250 will air live on Sunday, August 31 at 1:30 p.m. EDT on FOX Sports 1.