The Dale Jr. Download

403 - Are Charter Prices Too High?; Ben Kennedy on the Future of NASCAR

403 - Are Charter Prices Too High?; Ben Kennedy on the Future of NASCAR

The Dale Jr. Download - October 11, 2022 - 2:49:53

As NASCAR gets ready to celebrate its 75th year of existence in 2023, its premiere division the Cup Series will set out on its most versatile schedule to date. On this week’s episode of The Dale Jr. Download, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and co-host Mike Davis sit down with one of the visionaries responsible for the swift transformation the sport of stock car racing has seen over the last few seasons, NASCAR’s Senior VP of Racing Development & Strategy Ben Kennedy.Born and raised in Daytona Beach, Ben is a fourth-generation member of NASCAR’s founding France family, the son of Lesa France Kennedy and great-grandson of Bill France Sr. While he is only 30 years old, he has been around the sport his entire life in many capacities, from working odd jobs at Daytona International to being in the driver’s seat and owning his own race team. His unique insight and experience have allowed him to rapidly rise through the NASCAR executive ranks, originally taking a position as the General Manager of the Trucks Series in 2018.With the incorporation of the Chicago street race and the Clash at the Coliseum, as well as returning to North Wilkesboro and the Bristol dirt race, the stock car racing mainstay has gone leaps and bounds from its original vision in 1948, while keeping its fundamentals in place. Ben explains that much of the decision to hold events like the street race or the Coliseum was based on wanting to connect to city centers where NASCAR has a large fan base while doing something out of the box, original to the sanctioning body itself.During his time with the NASCAR Operations team, Ben learned a lot about NASCAR’s international fanbase and what efforts are being made to help grow it. While the majority of racing circuits overseas are road course configurations, the team began looking into building temporary oval tracks in stadiums or arenas to help display stock car racing in its original form. He explains that this is what put the L.A. Coliseum on their radar as a potential venue to house such a production.He also goes on to talk about the conception of the Chicago street course and how the team settled on Grant Park as a location. The team originally visited Soldier Field as a possible setting for the Clash event. But due to the current configuration of the field, the potential racing surface would be far too small, thus leading to the event being moved to Los Angeles. However, thanks to Grant Park’s ability to facilitate a large number of spectators, as seen with Lollapalooza every year, the focus turned to creating a street course. With the help of iRacing’s scanning system, they were able to bring a realistic render to life and test it with a cast of NASCAR Cup stars last year.Earlier in the interview, the trio discusses what Ben’s life was like growing up in Daytona and his interests before entering the motorsports world. In 2007, Ben tragically lost his father Dr. Bruce Kennedy in a plane crash, and he and Dale were able to bond over the shock of losing a loved one suddenly. Ben first got behind the wheel of a race car at age 14 when a family friend signed him up for a go-kart course held at New Smyrna Speedway. Ben fell in love with the sport immediately and in the years that followed he quickly progressed through the local Central Florida short track divisions into the regional NASCAR ranks, before finally arriving in the Trucks Series. After having a breakout season in 2014 and making his Xfinity Series debut a couple of seasons later, Ben retired from racing at the end of the 2017 season to begin his journey through the business side of the organization.DIRTY AIRDale’s birthday activitiesWas the caution for the sign the right call?RTA and NASCAR discussions hit a wallBuster’s Trip to Victory LaneASKJR presented by XfinityBirthday memoriesCan iRacing bring a former track to life?Another OEM entering NASCARFavorite childhood vacations

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About The Show

NASCAR’s 15-time Most Popular Driver and winner of two Daytona 500s, Dale Earnhardt Jr., hosts his very own podcast, The Dale Jr Download on Dirty Mo Media. Earnhardt and co-host Mike Davis raise the bar with unparalleled perspective, candid commentary, and fascinating, first-person insight into the life of a broadcaster, celebrated racer.