Ben Rhodes – 2016 Chicago Recap

ch4_9954-2Team Information:
Started: 7th
Finished: 25th
Laps: 125/151
Laps Led: 0
Status: Accident
2016 Driver Points: 13th
2016 Owner Points: 14th

Ben Rhodes Race Recap:

Ben Rhodes, driver of the No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions Toyota Tundra, made his track debut in Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) American Ethanol E15 225 at Chicagoland Speedway. Starting seventh, Rhodes battled handling issues, and settled for a 25th-place finish, due to damage suffered from a late-race accident.

Showing speed in both practice sessions on Thursday afternoon, Rhodes followed up his times in practice with a solid seventh-place starting position for Friday night’s event. Battling an Alpha Energy Solutions Toyota Tundra that was loose in the opening laps of the 150-lap race, crew chief Kevin Bellicourt brought the No. 41 machine to pit road, under caution, for scheduled stops three times, at laps 47, 84, and 106, respectively, for four tires, fuel, and adjustments. Scored inside the top-15 through the races first 50 laps, Rhodes broke into the top-10 by lap 75, and was scored eighth before making his final pit stop of the night on lap 106. A mix of pit strategies would force the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender to restart from the 13th position at lap 109.

With a Chase spot up for grabs in the final race before the Chase, the competition heated up on the race track in the final laps. Just four laps later, at lap 113, the No. 33 machine would spin down the track, and Rhodes No. 41 would make contact, causing severe damage to the right-side of the Alpha Energy Solutions Tundra. Bellicourt would bring the Louisville, KY native to pit road multiple times for repairs, but significant damage would force Rhodes to retire early from the event, crediting the ThorSport Racing driver with a 25th-place finish behind race winner, Kyle Busch.

News & Notes:

  • The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) had two practice sessions on Thursday in preparation for Friday night’s American Ethanol E15 225 at Chicagoland Speedway. Ben Rhodes was 10th, and 8th, respectively, in both sessions.
  • Making his track debut at Chicagoland Speedway in the NCWTS, Rhodes started seventh, and finished 25th, due to a late-race accident on lap 113 of 151.
  • In 16 starts in 2016, Rhodes has led 55 laps en route to two top-five, and five top-10 finishes.
  • In 20 career NCWTS starts, Rhodes has one pole (Martinsville), and has led 55 laps en route to three top-five, and eight top-10 finishes.
  • Rhodes’ ThorSport Racing teammates finished third (Cameron Hayley), 19th (Rico Abreu), and 27th (Matt Crafton).
  • Up Next: The UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday, September 24, 2016
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