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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Ross Kenseth, son of NASCAR champion Matt Kenseth, will spend Father's Day weekend leaning on his dad as he prepares for his first Xfinity Series start.
His debut for Joe Gibbs Racing on Saturday night at Chicagoland Speedway is the break the 22-year-old driver has worked toward for years. Kenseth will drive the No. 20 Toyota that his father, the 2003 NASCAR champion, often pilots in the Xfinity Series for JGR.
"It's going to be neat to see him in that car," Matt Kenseth said Wednesday. "It will be weird to see somebody in there because I feel it's my car, (but) I know Ross can do a good job and can't wait to be part of that."
Ross Kenseth heads into Chicagoland coming off his first career ARCA Series win, which he picked up Friday at Michigan International Speedway. With the Sprint Cup Series also at Michigan, Ross was able to lean on his father for help preparing for the race.
"There was a lot of things beforehand that he told me about the way those cars are aero-wise, how hard it is back in traffic to get around guys, position yourself not to get yourself into a tight spot, which I think helped me out quite a bit," Ross Kenseth said. "Even after the race when we watched the race together, there were a few things I felt like I could have done better, we were able to point out, kind of talk about a little bit."
Having his father on site helped Ross Kenseth in both preparation and confidence. But come actual race time, Matt Kenseth was fairly quiet on the radio — a practice he picked up when his son first started racing. Knowing how to advise has been a learning process for Matt Kenseth, a two-time Daytona 500 winner.
"I felt like when Ross started driving late model cars, I'd go to the track with him a couple times, we tested together, it took me a few weeks to learn to actually close my mouth a little bit," Matt Kenseth said. "I probably gave him too much advice in the beginning. There's certain things I think you have to learn on your own until you go make a mistake or see something.
"But on the other hand, I've always given Ross as much advice or as little advice as he wanted. I'm always there to answer any questions he has and help him, as much help as he wants."
Neither Kenseth will be very focused on the result this weekend. Both are more interested in Ross learning as much as he can and getting acclimated with the JGR crew.
"Being able to get up to speed in practice right away, just being able to tell the guys what we need, make sure we have some speed in the car," Ross said. "I think if we can be there all weekend, be competitive, race with them guys, be in the ballpark ... I think is what I was looking for going in."
DAYTONA 500 TICKETS: Tickets for next year's Daytona 500 will go on sale Monday, but there won't be as many available in what will be the first event in NASCAR's new motorsports stadium.
The $400 million Daytona Rising project will be completed in time for the Feb. 21 running of "The Great American Race." The renovation will have transformed the speedway with 101,500 new, wider seats, thousands of premium club seats, 40 escalators and 17 elevators, 60 luxury suites, social "neighborhoods" and three concourse levels that will span the nearly mile-long frontstretch.
Approximately 45,000 fewer tickets will be sold because of the removal of backstretch seating.
CUSTER WINS: Cole Custer heads to Iowa Speedway this weekend looking to give JR Motorsports back-to-back wins in the Truck Series.
Custer won his first race of the season and first for JRM last weekend at Gateway. He'll go to Iowa with the same No. 00 Haas Automation Chevrolet he just drove to victory.
"We turned it around real fast," said Custer, who won a K&N Pro Series East race at Iowa in 2013. He doesn't think his previous experience will make it any easier on him getting to victory lane in the Truck Series.
"It's definitely going to be a hard race to win because, I mean, everybody is so on their game in this series. It's never easy to get one of these things."