Laps Led: 0
Driver Points: 13th
Owner Points: 14th
Ben Rhodes Race Recap:
Ben Rhodes, driver of the No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions Toyota Tundra, made his track debut in Saturday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Speediatrics 200 at Iowa Speedway. Starting 10th, Rhodes ran consistently inside the top-five throughout the 200-lap event, even contended for the race win in the final 20 laps, and finished fourth, his first top-five finish of the 2016 NCWTS season.
Starting 10th, Rhodes searched for lateral grip through the first half of the Speediatrics 200 on Saturday night. Crew chief Kevin Bellicourt brought the No. 41 Toyota Tundra to pit road, under caution, at laps 44, 104, and 148, respectively, for four tires, and fuel. Restarting seventh at lap 156, when a hand full of teams elected to take two tires instead of four, Rhodes was able to quickly work his way into third, and maintained his position over the ensuing 23 laps. At lap 179, the fourth caution, and an eventual red flag, were displayed for an accident in Turn 2. Rhodes, whose Tundra was good on the long runs, restarted third, and even battled eventual race winner, William Byron, for the lead on the restart, but settled into the third position when his No. 41 machine swung to the tight side. Following the final restart, with two laps to go, Rhodes was passed by teammate Cameron Hayley on the final lap and settled for a fourth-place finish.
Rhodes top-five finishing position was the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders first top-five finish of the 2016 NCWTS season, and the second of his career.
Can you describe the last couple of restarts?
“Man, that was just really tough. We really needed to be on the outside to keep our momentum up. That’s what our truck really struggled with on the bottom. It was just tough. Those long runs, we had a lot of speed, and I felt like we had the fastest truck tonight. Even on some of the earlier restarts I felt like we were really good, but after we sat on the track for that red flag it just didn’t do good for our tires, air pressures went weird, and the heat cycle didn’t do good for us. But, I’m really proud of all of our guys on the Alpha Energy Solutions Toyota Tundra tonight. They have worked their butts off all week after the fire at ThorSport (Racing). We only had two trucks, and we only have two trucks for the next race, so it’s really hard to try to race for a win and have that in your mind. After Kansas this year we had that wreck, and we were kind of playing it safe for the rest of the races, protecting our trucks, being cautious at Charlotte, being cautious at Texas. We had this date circled on our calendar for a long time, and it’s unfortunate the circumstances, but man, it was a really fun race tonight, and I can’t thank these guys enough for all they’ve done for me.”
- The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series had two practice sessions on Friday afternoon in preparation for Saturday night’s Speediatrics 200 at Iowa Speedway. Rhodes was first, and 19th, respectively, in both sessions.
- In his track debut at Iowa Speedway in the NCWTS, the ThorSport Racing driver started 10th, ran consistently inside the top-five, even contending for the race win, and finished fourth.
- In eight starts in 2016, Rhodes has led 47 laps en route to one top-five (Iowa), and two top-10 finishes.
- In 12 career NCWTS starts, Rhodes has one pole (Martinsville), and has led 47 laps en route to two top-five (Phoenix, 2014), and six top-10 finishes.
- Rhodes’ ThorSport Racing teammates finished third (Hayley), eighth (Crafton), and 18th (Abreu).
- Up Next: The Drivin’ for Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park on Saturday, June 25 at 8:30pm ET