BY JAMES HARPER
For the sixth consecutive year, fans can vote online for the most popular driver of the year award in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
NASCAR K&N Pro Series is considered the premier training ground for drivers and crews looking to make it to one of NASCAR’s three national series.
Daytona Beach resident Ben Kennedy would like to be voted this year’s most popular driver.
Speedway CEO’s son
Kennedy’s racing roots go back three generations, but the 19-year-old wants to make his own mark in a sport virtually synonymous with his family, the Frances.
He is the great grandson of NASCAR founder, William France Sr., and son of International Speedway Corporation CEO, Lesa France Kennedy.
Kennedy already has garnered championships in the Pro-Truck classes and a Super Late Model track championship in his rookie season in Florida.
He is entering his second K&N Pro Series East season and is poised to better his 13th place series point finish of his rookie campaign.
Kennedy is driving a Chevrolet Impala for Ben Kennedy Racing in a newly formed partnership with Hendrick Motorsports.
He also is working on his bachelor’s degree at the University of Florida.
Voting under way
The link to the 2013 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Most Popular Driver ballot is hosted on www.nascarhometracks.com.
Fans can vote once a day throughout Nov. 17.
Last year, Chase Elliott was voted by the fans as the most popular driver in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
The winner will be honored at the NASCAR Night of Champions Awards on Saturday, Dec. 14 at the Charlotte Convention Center’s Crown Ballroom in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Origin of K&N filter
Back in the 1960s Ken Johnson and Norm MacDonald were selling motorcycle parts from a shop in Riverside, Calif., and sponsoring a “factory” race team to promote their business.
In the never-ending search to improve performance, the businessmen designed a unique air filter that used treated cotton that could be washed, dried, re-treated and used over and over again.
It was called the K&N filter, named for the partners and their business.
Today the familiar script logo appears on every car that races in the East and West divisions of the K&N series.
NASCAR is the nation’s best-known auto racing sanctioning body, which extends to Mexico and Europe. K&N grew to become the industry leader in manufacturing and marketing of its filters. The two companies signed a seven-year contract for entitlement sponsorship of NASCAR’s top developmental series four years ago.
Other drivers who are part of the K&N series are: Cole Custer, Ryan Gifford, Bryan Ortiz, Daniel Suárez, Brett Moffitt, Sam Hunt, Gray Gaulding, Mackena Bell, Jimmy Weller, Kenzie Ruston, CJ Faison, Ben Rhodes, Brandon Gdovic, Cale Conley, Eddie MacDonald, Scott Heckert, Matt Tifft, Jesse Little, Dylan Kwasniewski and Austin Dyne.