DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- GMS Racing announced Monday that 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship challenger Ben Kennedy will run at least 12 NASCAR XFINITY Series races for the team this season, beginning with the May 27 Hisense 4K TV 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
This is in addition to the nine XFINITY Series races Kennedy already has lined up with Richard Childress Racing, where he will make his season debut at Talladega Superspeedway on May 6.
Kennedy has one previous XFINITY Series start, finishing 10th at Iowa Speedway following a sixth-place qualifying effort in a Richard Childress Racing car last year.
The additional races with GMS this season are something Kennedy has been working on for months. And it reunites him with the team where he won his first Truck Series race -- at Bristol Motor Speedway last year.
"It's good to kind of have those relationships already set in stone and of course, great to be with GMS," Kennedy told NASCAR.com of the additional races with the team. "I enjoy being there. It's a good group of people, who mean well and work hard. And I'm confident we'll be fast.
"It worked out great last year, knocking down a win at Bristol and making our way to the playoffs and almost making it to (the season finale at) Homestead. It's cool to be back with those guys. … I never really left, I guess."
Kennedy said he could not be more ready to take his first green flag of the season next month and feels confident the additional races with GMS will be a big boost in his development.
"The conversation to get me in the second car has been ongoing since the end of last season," Kennedy said. "Everyone that works at GMS is so dedicated to the team. There's a sense of family at the shop and at the track so I'm glad everything has finally lined up.
"GMS has shown speed this year in both series and I know that they will give me the necessary tools to run up front."
The team is equally as confident in Kennedy, who has 26 top-10 finishes in 73 Camping World Truck Series starts, including 10 top-five showings and the win at Bristol last summer in just his 10th start after moving to the GMS truck team midseason.
Kennedy will be paired again with crew chief Jeff Stankiewicz, who guided him to a top-10 finish at Kansas Speedway in their only race together -- Kennedy's first with GMS in 2016.
"We couldn't be more excited to have Ben fill our second car," said GMS Racing Director of Competition, Mike Beam. "This is a huge step for our XFINITY Series program and I look forward to watching Ben learn and grow as a driver through it."
Kennedy, 25, has five top-five finishes on intermediate tracks such as Charlotte where he will be making his GMS season debut. He scored four top-five finishes with GMS last year and earned a bid to the Truck Series playoffs.
"I'm very ready to go. It's been a long offseason for me, so it's great to know Talladega is around the corner and even better to know we’re going to Charlotte after and will have a pretty busy schedule," Kennedy said. "I'm looking forward to it.
"It's been a bit bittersweet. I've had a lot of downtime and able to work on some of my other ventures, but at the same time I'm ready to get back in the car and get focused. It will be good having the next month to really prepare and hone in on my first couple of races."