Ben Kennedy, great-grandson of NASCAR founder, lands Truck ride

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A young driver with a historic pedigree is set to take to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series grid next season.

21-year-old Ben Kennedy – the great-grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. – will drive the No. 31 Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet that used to belong to former CWTS champ James Buescher, who has moved up to the Nationwide Series with RAB Racing.

Kennedy competed in five CWTS races this past year (best finish of fourth at Martinsville) and was a full-time driver in the K&N Pro Series East, one of NASCAR’s top regional leagues. In 2013, Kennedy netted two K&N East wins (Winston-Salem and Pensacola) en route to a fourth-place finish in the series championship and also earned the series’ Most Popular Driver award.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity to be in Turner Scott Motorsports’ No. 31 truck for 2014 and to be able to work alongside [crew chief] Michael Shelton and a very talented crew,” Kennedy said in a team release. “It will be a great year and I hope to really learn a lot in the series and compete for wins and Rookie of the Year.

“It’s going to be a blast to work with such great people; I can’t thank everyone I’ve worked with in the past enough for getting me to this point in my career. A big ‘thank you’ to all my fans for always sticking behind me.”

In addition to his racing work, Kennedy is pursuing a sports management degree as a student at the University of Florida.

Hartley’s F1 grid penalty streak continues in Abu Dhabi

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Brendon Hartley’s record of receiving a grid penalty at every Formula 1 race he has started is set to continue in Abu Dhabi this weekend after Toro Rosso was forced to change part of his Renault power unit following the last race in Brazil.

Since making his F1 debut at the United States Grand Prix last month, Hartley has faced a grid drop at all three races he has started so far amid ongoing reliability difficulties for power unit supplier Renault.

After being forced to retire from the last race in Brazil two weeks ago due to an engine issue, Hartley has received a 10-place grid penalty for Abu Dhabi after it was confirmed Toro Rosso had changed the MGU-H on his power unit.

Hartley is yet to score any points in F1, having retired from two of his three races so far to make his debut run to P13 in Austin his best result to date.

The Toro Rosso driver finished 20th in FP1 and 19th in FP2 during Friday’s practice sessions in Abu Dhabi as he continued to get to grips with the Yas Marina Circuit.