Kenzie Ruston joins Ben Kennedy’s NASCAR team

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Emerging NASCAR talent Kenzie Ruston is pairing with another of NASCAR’s potential future stars, Ben Kennedy, at Kennedy’s K&N Pro Series East team in 2014.

Ruston, 22, a member of NASCAR’s “NASCAR Next” initiative for finding and discovering young drivers, made her debut in the series this past season with the Turner Scott Motorsports team. She finished sixth in the series championship with four top-five finishes, with a best finish of third place at Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway in April.

“Jumping into the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East last year was a great experience and I really learned a lot in my first year,” said Ruston, via NASCAR.com. “Having competed against Ben and his team, I’ve seen firsthand the dedication and level of excellence they bring to the track.”

Kennedy, 21, is moving into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series full-time in 2014 with TSM, but the Ruston signing allows the Ben Kennedy Racing squad to remain in its Daytona Beach shop and keep competing in K&N. Kennedy is the great grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr.

Daniel Ricciardo would relish being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate

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BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo says he would relish the challenge of having Lewis Hamilton as his teammate if he joins Mercedes next year.

Ricciardo is out of contract at Red Bull at the end of the season and expressed interest in joining teams like Mercedes or Ferrari to help him challenge for the championship.

The Australian says he would “love to obviously be challenged against the best and Lewis is obviously up there.”

He adds: “I don’t want to say it’s just Lewis I’m looking for but that would be a good challenge.”

Ricciardo says he won’t accept a faster car if it means playing second fiddle to an established star.

He says “there’s always been really good clarity and fairness (at Red Bull) … and I would expect that environment everywhere.”