The NASCAR XFINITY Series has the spot light at Chicagoland Speedway. Ross Kenseth is also making his first start in any of NASCAR’s national series. Ross Kenseth is the son of Former Sprint Cup Champion Matt Kenseth which in itself puts on the pressure but this being his first start also focuses the spot light on him. Having his dad here also is a big help.
“We talked quite a bit about different lines here and kind of what you’re going to feel through a tire run here and through practice versus the race in the cars.” Ross Kenseth added, “Kind of where and where not to be. It’s been really helpful and defining where the edge is at and to not go too far – what to do and not to do.”
He started his first practice ever in an XFINITY car making laps and learning about the handling of the car. With the help of his father along the way he was running pretty decent with a high lap of 31.108 or 173.589 MPH on his third lap of the session putting him 13th on the speed chart.
With 29 min. left in practice Ross Kenseth got loose coming off of turn four. He was sideways several times, kept it off the wall until he finally spun out onto the apron in front of the grand stands. It was one incredible save to keep that car off the wall. Considering it was his first time in this car makes it even more impressive.
Kenseth said, “We worked on it quite a bit. We were pretty free there for most of the session on throttle. Spent a lot of time working on that and got in the gas pretty hard off of (turn) four and started stepping out and got to the point I thought I had it and it got really loose and then from there it was hanging on, not trying to hit the wall or get into the grass and knock the front off it.”
When Kenseth got back to the garage he went up on top of the hauler to confer with this father. When asked what his father said Ross Kenseth said “He asked if I got it out of my system or not.”
The number 20 Dollar General Toyota team put four new tires on and he was back out with 12 minutes left in practice. He wasn’t able to improve on his time even with those fresh tires but he was able to shake it off and make sure he was ready for the second and final practice session.
During the break between practice sessions he was asked if having his father at the track helped him.
Kenseth said, “It’s real helpful. He’s been real fast at a lot of these tracks and I think he’s one of the better ones at these mile-and-a-half tracks and that kind of racing. Having him there for questions and advice, that’s obviously a huge help and I feel like it’s going to get us up to speed in this session. Hopefully it goes as smooth as last weekend did.”
In the second qualifying session Ross Kenseth took advantage of the extra practice and ran the second most laps of 47. Only fellow rookie Brennan Poole ran more, 52 laps. He finished the session with a top speed of 173.166 that he posted on his 28th lap to put him 14th on the speed chart.
All in all, Ross Kenseth had a pretty solid day of practice at the track. It will be interesting if he can continue that and qualify well for the race on Saturday.
If you cannot get to the Chicagoland Speedway for the Owens Corning AttiCat® 300 it will be broadcast live on Saturday June 20th at 9:30 PM ET on Fox Sports 1.
Feature Photo Credit: 309982 Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images