Ben Rhodes – 2016 Charlotte Race Preview

Rhodes_Ben_2015Hero_NXSTeam Information:
Crew Chief: Kevin Bellicourt
Manufacturer: Toyota
Engine: Triad Racing Technologies
2016 Driver Point Standings: 17th
2016 Owner Point Standings: 18th

Sounding Off – Ben Rhodes:

Your making your debut at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend, but is there anything that you can take from Atlanta earlier this season, and apply it to Charlotte?

“I think Charlotte will be a challenge, but I can apply some of the things I learned in Atlanta earlier this year. I guess you can say my biggest weakness in the Truck Series schedule this year is the mile-and-a-half program, just because of my lack of experience. I’ve only been on an intermediate track a handful of timeS, and they drive so much differentely than any other type of track. You have to work on your aero program – the setup – it’s a big combination of things. While Atlanta has a a worn out surface, Charlotte is fairly new – a lot of grip, lots of banking, just like Atlanta – so it’s going to be fast, it’s going to be narrow, it’s going to be tight. I think one of the bigger things I’ll struggle with there will be just trying to get your setup right in practice and knowing what you need ahead of time for the race. Since I’ve never been there, I don’t necessarily know what I need, so it will be a struggle for that reason. But, I feel like we have a really good mile-and-a-half program. We are steadily making gains on it. In Atlanta we unloaded ok, gained the entire practice session, and we were pretty fast at the end. Wed didn’t race the best, but we found some stuff there at the end, that I can use to be more aggressive in traffic, so I think those are really good gains for Charlotte. We are just going to keep building the notebook up, and getting faster and faster each week.”

News & Notes:

  • Chassis Information… The No. 41 ThorSport Racing team will utilize chassis No. 41 for Friday’s night’s NC Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS). This is the same chassis Cameron Hayley piloted to one top-five (Kansas) and four top-10 finishes in 2015.
  • Charlotte Debut… Rhodes, who will be making his 10th career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) start on Friday, will make his track debut in the 14th annual NC Education Lottery 200 at CMS.
  • Stars & Stripes – On Board with Ben Rhodes… USA Cares, a non-profit organization based in Radcliff, KY, will adorn the No. 41 Toyota Tundra at CMS this weekend, and Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway on October 1. USA Cares is committed to its mission of providing financial and advocacy assistance to post-9/11 active duty U.S. military service personnel, veterans, and their families in their time of need.
  • Take Us Back… In 2011, Rhodes won the Legends Car Winter Heat Series at CMS in the Young Lions division, and also won three races on the front stretch quarter-mile oval during the Summer Shootout Series. Rhodes success at CMS was the same season he won 43 races in the INEX Legends Cars Series (accumulating more wins than any Legends driver internationally).
  • In The Loop – 2016… According to NASCAR’s Loop Data statistics, Rhodes is ranked fourth in Laps in the Top 15 (646), 11th in Average Running Position (12.3), and 11th in Driver Rating (83.0).
  • Rookie Stripe… Rhodes is currently third in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings behind leader, William Byron after five of 23 races this season.
  • Race Rewind – Dover… Rhodes started 10th, when qualifying was cancelled due to weather, ran as high as sixth, and finished 28th after being involved in a lap 62 incident with ThorSport Racing teammate, Rico Abreu.

Rhodes’ 2016 NCWTS Stats:

  • Starts: 5
  • Poles: 1 (Martinsville, 2016)
  • Top-5 Finishes: 0
  • Top-10 Finishes: 2 (Daytona, and Atlanta)
  • Best Finish: 6th (Atlanta)
  • Laps Completed: 785 of 855 (91.8%)
  • Laps Led: 47
  • Start: 10.4
  • Finish: 15.0

Rhodes’ Career NCWTS stats:

  • Starts: 9 since 2014
  • First full-time season: 2016
  • Poles: 1 (Martinsville, 2016)
  • Top-5 Finishes: 1 (Phoenix, 2014)
  • Top-10 Finishes: 5
  • Laps Completed: 1536 of 1637 (93.8%)
  • Laps Led: 47
  • First start: Martinsville (8th)
  • Best finish: 5th: Phoenix
  • Start: 9.6
  • Finish: 13.2

Race Information:
Date: Friday, May 20
Time: 8:30pm ET on FOX Sports 1
Track: 1.5-mile oval
Distance: 134 laps/201 miles

About USA Cares:

USA Cares is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that addresses the critical and unmet needs of post 9-11 service members, veterans & military families facing service related hardships. The objective is to reach families at the earliest stage of intervention to proactively prevent further financial distress including foreclosure. When USA Cares is contacted to provide assistance, our goal is to respond to each family within 48 hours.  Assistance programs include combat injured, career transition, emergency and housing assistance.  We have responded to more than 80,000 requests for emergency financial assistance, which are paid directly to the creditor in the form of a grant. USA Cares provides the critical support that our veterans and military families need to create a foundation for financial resilience. For more information visit: www.usacares.org

 

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