Executive Vice President of Race Operations
Bobby Kennedy’s favorite childhood memories include selling t-shirts with his family at dirt tracks around his Concord, N.C. home and dreaming of joining NASCAR’s top series one day. Those dreams have more than come true as Kennedy oversees the day-to-day operations at Michael Waltrip Racing – one of the NASCAR Sprint Cup series top teams.
Kennedy began his career in 1987 as a tire technician at Hoosier Racing. Those skills helped him land the role of tire specialist and eventually team manager at Team III Racing, under the tutelage of championship crew chief Barry Dodson. In 1993, Kennedy took over crew chief duties for Kyle Petty at SABCO Racing enjoying success in the No. 42 Pontiac for owner Felix Sabates. When Petty decided to create his own team, Petty Enterprises 2 (pe2) and join the family business, Kennedy followed.
Kennedy’s next step was to manage Jim Smith’s entry at Mattei Motorsports serving as Michael Waltrip’s crew chief. In 2001, when Waltrip needed a crew chief for his NASCAR Nationwide Series team, Kennedy made the move from Mattei to Michael Waltrip Racing. The duo’s longstanding relationship has spanned nearly 13 years.
It was in Waltrip’s backyard race shop where Kennedy impressed. During the 2003 season, with just a handful of full-time employees and minuscule fleet of cars, the Aaron’s Dream team collected one win, eight top-five and 13 top-10 finishes in just 20 starts. At the end of the 2003 season, Kennedy, with Waltrip’s blessing, left MWR to help Waltrip’s brother Darrell re-establish Darrell Waltrip Motorsports. Kennedy built a highly competitive Truck Series team virtually overnight.
The organization expanded to a second team in 2004. That hard work paid dividends in 2005 when David Reutimann scored his first-ever truck victory in the Toyota Tundra 200 at Nashville Superspeedway. With all the dignitaries from Toyota and Darrell Waltrip on hand, it was a picture perfect day and one of Kennedy’s fondest accomplishments. The following year, Kennedy led Reutimann to third place in the Truck Series standings.
Kennedy rejoined MWR in 2007 as the Competition Director. In September 2008 MWR hired Steve Hallam as the Competition Director and promoted Kennedy to Executive Vice President of Race Operations. In this position the Concord, N.C. native oversees everything that makes a race team successful on and off the racetrack.