Ben Rhodes – 2016 Gateway Preview

Rhodes_Ben_2015Hero_NXSTeam Information:
Crew Chief: Kevin Bellicourt
Manufacturer: Toyota
Engine: Triad Racing Technologies
2016 Driver Point Standings: 13th
2016 Owner Point Standings: 14th

Sounding Off – Ben Rhodes:

You’ve never raced at Gateway. Are you looking forward to making your first start there this weekend?

“I feel like the flat race tracks are something we can really adapt well to in the trucks. My crew chief and I, we have an excellent notebook built up from the K&N Series, and then we had a couple ARCA starts together, and we’ve done a lot of stuff together at the short, flat tracks. I feel really good about it. We’ll just have to unload and see how it goes in practice. Luckily, with the truck series, we get more practice, and we’ll see how it fares in practice, and just work on it. We’re still learning everything together; it’s Kevin’s (Bellicourt, crew chief) first time in the truck series, and my first time running full time in the series, so I’m seeing a lot of these track for the first time, like this weekend at Gateway – a lot of new stuff. So, we are just taking it one step at a time, and we gotta get some starts, and finishes under our belt.”

Was your strong run at Iowa last week a confidence booster for you and your team?

“We had a strong run at Iowa last week, not exactly the finish we wanted, but it was solid. We needed that, especially after everything that went on last week with the fire at the shop. Unfortunately, we are not able to bring the chassis that we were originally planning on using for this race, it was a brand new chassis that got destroyed in the fire, but we are bringing our chassis that we raced last weekend in Iowa. I’m optimistic we’ll have another solid run this weekend. We are so close, just need to put it all together.”

News & Notes:

  • Chassis Chatter…The No. 41 ThorSport Racing team will unload chassis No. 49 for Saturday night’s Drivin’ for Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park. This is the same chassis that Rhodes earned his first career pole with at Martinsville Speedway earlier this season, and his career-best finish of fourth at Iowa Speedway last week.
  • “Show Me” State Stats… Rhodes, who will be making his 13th career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) start on Saturday, will make his debut at Gateway Motorsports Park in the 160-lap event.
  • First Pitch… Rhodes, a Louisville, KY native, threw out the first pitch at a St. Louis Cardinals game on Tuesday night, June 14 during a media advance for the track.
  • Rookie Stripe… Rhodes is currently third in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings behind leader, William Byron after eight of 23 races this season.
  • Race Rewind – Iowa… In his track debut at Iowa Speedway in the NCWTS, the ThorSport Racing driver started 10th, ran consistently inside the top-five, even contended for the race win, and finished fourth. The top-five showing was Rhodes career-best finish.

Rhodes’ 2016 NCWTS Stats:

  • Starts: 8
  • Poles: 1 (Martinsville, 2016)
  • Top-5 Finishes: 1 (Iowa)
  • Top-10 Finishes: 3
  • Laps Completed: 1286 of 1356 (94.8%)
  • Laps Led: 47
  • Start: 10.8
  • Finish: 13.4

Rhodes’ Career NCWTS stats:

  • Starts: 12 since 2014
  • First full-time season: 2016
  • Poles: 1 (Martinsville, 2016)
  • Top-5 Finishes: 2
  • Top-10 Finishes: 6
  • Laps Completed: 2037 of 2138 (95.3%)
  • Laps Led: 47
  • First start: Martinsville (8th)
  • Best finish: 4th (Iowa)
  • Start: 10.0
  • Finish: 12.6
0