NASCAR: Kenzie Ruston on the rise after Iowa runner-up

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We meant to hit this last week, but it was worth taking note of Ben Kennedy Racing driver Kenzie Ruston at last week’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Iowa Speedway. Ruston finished second, a career-best result and highest finish for a woman in series history.

“I feel like we still had the best car there at the end.” she said during a Wednesday teleconference. “We were chasing Brandon Jones down as fast as we could, just kind of ran out of laps. I got a bad restart that last restart, spun my tires a little bit, and let Cole Custer and Ben get away from me, and I had to chase everybody back down. But I just can’t thank my guys for working their tails off this weekend and giving me a good car.”

Like most of the NASCAR community, Ruston is en route to Watkins Glen International this weekend, where K&N will race alongside the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide ranks. Ruston is yet to test on the track but still feels fortunate for the opportunity.

“I always loved the road course races last year, and it’s really cool that we get to go to one of the road courses that the Cup guys run on every year,” she said. “Last year we didn’t really go to road courses that the Cup guys raced on, so it didn’t really, I guess, transfer all the information, so it’s really cool that we get to go and experience some of that stuff that the Cup guys do, and I’m really excited to have Bully Hill Vineyards on the car this weekend. Just a really cool opportunity. I know they’ve been involved in racing for a long time, it’s just really cool for them to be back involved in the sport, and should be a really good weekend.”

Ruston expressed thanks to Kennedy for his support this season.

“I learned a lot from him last year even being in the NASCAR Next program becoming friends with him, and he’s just so welcoming,” she said. “Any time you go ask him a question, he’s the nicest guy to ask a question to and he always gives you an honest answer that you’re asking for. He’s definitely been a huge, huge stepping-stone in my career, especially in the K&N Pro Series.”

Keep an eye on her going forward, as one of the rising stars in NASCAR’s developmental ranks.

Here’s her livery this weekend:

F1 Paddock Pass: United States Grand Prix post-race (VIDEO)

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As Lewis Hamilton took another step towards his fourth Formula 1 World Championship Sunday at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas, plenty of other topics of discussion emerged in the wake of Round 17 of the season from Austin.

Hamilton’s win came as his Mercedes AMG Petronas team claimed its fourth consecutive Constructor’s Championship, Scuderia Ferrari came up short once again despite a valiant effort in second and third, and Max Verstappen’s penalty after the race was the major talking point.

Elsewhere Valtteri Bottas struggled again, the Sahara Force India twins continued to pick up points, Carlos Sainz Jr. made a major positive impact in his first start with Renault, Brendon Hartley impressed on debut at Toro Rosso and Romain Grosjean and Haas F1 Team endured a tough weekend on Haas’ home soil.

Check out all the recap from the latest USGP in the latest post-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass with NBCSN pit reporter and insider Will Buxton, below.