Ben Rhodes – 2016 Dover Preview

Rhodes_Ben_2015Hero_NXSTeam Information:
Crew Chief: Kevin Bellicourt
Manufacturer: Toyota
Engine: Triad Racing Technologies
2016 Driver Point Standings: 12th
2016 Owner Point Standings: 12th

Sounding Off – Ben Rhodes:

What are some of the challenges your faced with at a track like Dover?

“Well, we’ve always been really fast at Dover, whether it was in the truck or K&N car, but the Monster Mile likes to chew you up, and spit you out. The first time I went there in a K&N car, we were chasing down the leaders, blew a tire, and hit the wall. In 2014 in the K&N car, our motor blew while leading the race. Last year in the Truck Series, we were running inside the top-10, two trucks got together, and I had no where to go, and got caught up in the mess. So, needless to say, no good finishes to speak of with how well we’ve run there. However, those two good runs we had in the K&N Series, Kevin Bellicourt was my car chief, and now he’s my crew chief. He knows how I like my trucks set up, and we are steadily building competitive trucks.”

Is Dover a physically demanding track?

“Yes. It’s physically demanding, and much like a roller coaster. My biggest problem with tracks like Dover and Bristol – the high-banked tracks that you’re really wheeling the truck from inside – I find I hold my breath. I’ll go through the corners, holding my breath, and forget to breathe the entire time down the straightaway, which makes it really tough. So, I’ve been working on that, breathing. Everything is just coming at you so fast, so you have to have good reaction time, and just be on your toes.”

News & Notes:

  • Chassis Information… The No. 41 ThorSport Racing team will utilize chassis No. 36 for Friday’s Dover 200 at Dover International Speedway. This is the same chassis that teammate Cameron Hayley piloted at Dover, New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway in 2015.
  • The Down Low on Dover… Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Ben Rhodes, has three previous starts at the Monster Mile, one in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2015, and two in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East in 2013 and 2014. In 2015, Rhodes started ninth and finished 22nd, due to a crash. In 2014 Rhodes started third, led 21 laps, and finished 15th, and in 2013 the ThorSport Racing driver started 10th and finished 26th, due to a crash.
  • Peanuts & Racing – A uniquely Southern Combination… The Carolina Nut Co., which specializes in unique flavored nuts, flavored peanuts, spicy nuts and candied nuts, will adorn the No. 41 Toyota Tundra of Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Ben Rhodes at Dover. The brand has 15 unique flavors of peanuts to choose from, including Carolina BBQ, Dill Pickle and Honey Roasted Chipotle, and can be purchased through your local retailer, or online at CarolinaNut.com.
  • In The Loop – 2016… According to NASCAR’s Loop Data statistics, Rhodes is ranked fifth in Average Running Position (9.79), seventh in Driver Rating (89.4), second in Laps in the Top 15 (586), and first in Percentage of Laps Run on the Lead Lap (99.85% – 655 laps).
  • Rookie Stripe… Rhodes is currently second in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings behind leader, William Byron after four of 23 races this season.
  • Race Rewind – Kansas… Rhodes started 10th, led the field three times for five laps, and finished 18th due to a last lap incident with the 21 truck.

Rhodes’ NCWTS Stats at Dover:
Starts: 1
Started: 9th
Finished: 22nd
Laps Led: 0
Laps Completed: 169 of 200 (84.5%)
Status: Crash

Rhodes’ 2016 NCWTS Stats:

  • Starts: 4
  • Poles: 1 (Martinsville, 2016)
  • Top-5 Finishes: 0
  • Top-10 Finishes: 2
  • Best Finish: 6th (Atlanta)
  • Laps Completed: 654 of 655 (99.8%)
  • Laps Led: 47
  • Start: 10.5
  • Finish: 11.8

Rhodes’ Career NCWTS stats:

  • Starts: 8 since 2014
  • First full-time season: 2016
  • Poles: 1 (Martinsville, 2016)
  • Top-5 Finishes: 1 (Phoenix, 2014)
  • Top-10 Finishes: 5
  • Laps Completed: 1405 of 1437 (97.7%)
  • Laps Led: 47
  • First start: Martinsville (8th)
  • Best finish: 5th: Phoenix
  • Start: 9.5
  • Finish: 11.4

Race Information:
Date: Friday, May 13
Time: 5:30pm ET on FOX Sports 1
Track: 1-mile concrete oval
Distance: 200 laps/200 miles

About Carolina Nut Co.:

For more than 60 years The Carolina Nut Co. has used unique handcrafted family recipes to create gourmet nut flavors for every nut lover. Located in Henderson, N.C., The Carolina Nut Co. is a family-owned company that is spreading its delicious nut creations throughout the nation. To learn more, visit www.carolinanut.com.

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