Daniel Dye's Big 2022 Begins with Speedfest

The Ben Kennedy Racing No. 43 has a new crew chief in Jerry Babb

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Daniel Dye will start Speedfest on the outside front row but that’s not the only thing he has to be excited for on Saturday afternoon.

Ben Kennedy Racing brought in a big gun to call the shots this weekend and moving forward in defending Snowball Derby winning crew chief Jerry Babb. While the results might now immediately show it, everyone involved in the team says Babb has made a tremendous difference and its 18-year-old driver says they formed an immediate chemistry.

"We talked on the phone earlier this week and kind of talked about what I like and I told him then I like the way me and Chad Bryant worked together (in ARCA) and he said he's worked with Chad quite a bit," Dye said. "So that was good to hear.

"Since we've got here, he's really liked my feedback and has given me good feedback as well. We've been making progress pretty much every time out. I don't think we unloaded good, were pretty out of tune, but got it better every session and then qualified fifth."

That’s to say that Dye might not immediately win on Saturday, but his Super Late Model program could benefit greatly from the addition of Babb -- a veteran of Busch North, ARCA and the Super Late Model game with wins at every level.

READ MORE: Jerry Babb's Journey from Maine to Snowball Derby Winning Crew Chief

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This is a big season for Dye across the ARCA Racing Series and his Super Late Model schedule. The pressure is on and Dye is relishing the opportunity.

"There wasn't pressure last year, on the ARCA side, because I went in there to learn," Dye said. "But we performed. So now I need to back it up over 20 races. With Chad Bryant, we should be one of the cars to beat every week. We're going to have to beat the 18 every week and the 20 with Jesse (Love) and Sammy (Smith). So it's not going to be easy, but we're going for that championship."

But that journey unofficially starts on Saturday in the Super Late with Jerry Babb. After winning the Derby last month with Chandler Smith, it’s a different kind of pressure for Dye now that they’re working together.

Dye has posted top-five times throughout the two days of practice and backed it up in time trials. Dye feels like he’s in the same bracket with the likes of Bubba Pollard, Stephen Nasse, Michael House, Carson Hocevar and defending winner Corey Heim.

"I know there's only 21 cars here, but they're all fast cars," Dye said. "You think any of them can win this race. So Jerry has a big resume, obviously, winning the Snowball Derby with Chandler too and he's been doing it at a high level for a long time. I'm glad to have that experience on my side."

For the start of the race, he will have friend and defending winner Heim to his side. Both are represented by Kevtron Media, but Dye isn’t expecting any freebies on the first lap.

"Obviously, he's one of the masters here," Dye said. "So hopefully, we can hang with him after the first lap and learn some stuff that we can use by the end of the race."