PENSACOLA , Fla. -- You can read a recap of last night's NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race from Five Flags Speedway via local media or NASCAR Home Tracks. But the gist of the race is that Ben Kennedy - the great grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. led every single lap en route to his first career victory in the Pro Series East tour.
His crew nailed the set-up and the driver did his part, covering the field under a thick blanket on Saturday night. In short, it wasn't a good race at a track that has put on countless instant classics in the Snowball Derby and various other Super Late Model races over the years.
NASCAR officials decided that the halfway break would allow for a four-tire pit-stop rather than the traditional two-tire stops that Super Late Model races feature at the 60-year-old Speedway and the track action suffered as a result.
The most notable feature of Five Flags Speedway is the ancient track surface which is abrasive, cracked and has grass peeking from the holes. As a result, the quality of racing is usually decided by drivers saving their equipment for a final caution or late race run -- something the teams in Saturday's race just didn't have to worry about.
Knowing that four fresh tires would be available after lap 75, Kennedy and the leaders were able to push as hard as they wanted throughout the duration of the show, resulting in Kennedy maintaining about a five-second lead throughout the race.
Imagine how differently the race would have played out if only two tires were waiting on them at the halfway break. It would have instilled an element of strategy and patience and likely would have resulted in more passing as well.
While the racing was not what it could have been, fans were still treated to a special event in Ben Kennedy's first Pro Series East victory. It felt like a real coming-of-age moment for the popular 21-year-old. Despite his family background, Kennedy's team is very much a blue-collar effort and knowing that made his victory all the more special.
Witnessing his breakthrough victory is something fans can boast about for years to come and was worth the price of admission by itself.
The presentation and marketing for the race was flawless and I hope to see Pensacola become a regular stop on the NASCAR Pro Series East schedule. I just hope to see a more reflective rules package if they are able to come back to the Florida Gulf Coast.