Alex Kennedy earns top-10 finish in his first ARCA race at Daytona
Alex Kennedy can add another notable accomplishment to his growing racing resume after finishing ninth in the ARCA race at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday
Not bad considering it was the first time he’s ever raced the high banks of the 2.5-mile, high-banked oval.
Kennedy, 20, of Aztec, N.M. started 20th in the No. 08 Spraker Enterprises / Dream Factory Ford and quickly let everyone he was ready to race. By the time the first caution waved on lap seven, he was telling team owner and crew chief Jeff Spraker the car and all fluid temps were good to go.
Like in the past, fuel strategy was an important aspect of the race and Spraker called Kennedy to pit road on lap 15 under caution for fuel only. For the restart, he was lined up 37th and wasted little time making his way through the field picking up 20 spots in the next 20 laps.
Running 18th at the halfway point of the 80-lap race, Kennedy fluctuated between 17th and 24th until pitting for a splash and go under a lap-70 caution. Good to go with no worries about running out, while others gambled, he restarted 21st with five laps remaining.
Kid Kennedy moved up to 19th with three to go when a car got turned just as the field was exiting the frontstretch trioval. Heads up driving on his part came in to play as he just missed the spinning car and continued on undamaged.
This set up a Green/White/Checkered finish for the ARCA race as tensions were high for the restart.
Taking the green in 17th place, Kennedy made some great moves in the closing laps and was 14th when the white waved. As the field exited Turn 4 heading for the checkered flag, Kennedy was pushed from behind and was turned a little bit to his right, bumped off another car and crossed the Start/Finish Line in 12th place spinning as he exited the trioval.
However, ARCA officials quickly disqualified three cars in front of him for how they were driving and moved Kennedy up to ninth place. Not a bad race for a first-time Daytona run.
Alex Kennedy Quotes: “Wow, what a great time that was out there. We bided our time and stayed patient and stuck to our game plan. Jeff called a great race from the pit box and Jimmy (Kitchens, spotter) was a huge help on the spotter’s stand.
“I did side drafting for the first time and that was pretty cool, I really started to use that to my advantage as I became more comfortable with it during the race. At the end there, I knew we were going to end up going two and three wide in the trioval.
“My biggest fear all day was being sideways on the frontstretch at Daytona going as fast as we were out there. A top-10 at Daytona; for my first time here? I’ll take that all day long. This was a great race and it was good to work with Jeff Spraker again, too.”
Jeff Spraker Quotes: “Alex did a great job out there today. He made some great moves in traffic and just did a really good job at Daytona. For his time racing here, I was very happy with how our day turned out. I’ll take a top-10 out of here and be happy about this for everyone. Our Roush Yates motor was great the whole time and kept us in the hunt.”