Ben Rhodes – 2016 Kansas Speedway Preview

Rhodes_Ben_2015Hero_NXSTeam Information:
Crew Chief: Kevin Bellicourt
Manufacturer: Toyota
Engine: Triad Racing Technologies
2016 Driver Point Standings: 10th
2016 Owner Point Standings: 10th

Sounding Off – Ben Rhodes:

You’ll be making your debut at Kansas Speedway Friday night. What do you do to prepare, going to a race track for the first time?

“I’ll be going to a lot of tracks for the first time this year, and watching video and talking to teammates is generally how I prepare. While watching the videos, I’ll make a list of any questions I may have, and I can talk to Matt (Crafton) or even Cameron (Hayley). They are a great resource to have, and they help me with everything. I’ll go back and watch in-truck camera footage, make another list of questions, and go back to them. They are both really quick to answer and are always helpful. Once I get to the track, I’ll try and get Crafton to give me a ride around the track in the pace car, he did that in Atlanta because I had never been there before, and I think we’ll prepare the same way for Kansas too. I think we have a really good Tundra for Kansas this weekend, it’s been at the wind tunnel, and showed some really good numbers. I feel really good about it.”

What does your list of questions look like for Kansas?

“Right now, it’s pretty detailed – a lot of aero questions, day and night questions, how the track changes in those conditions. Crafton can give me a heads up on what to be looking for, which is a huge help. Each track is different and we have some one day shows where we practice, qualify, and race in one day. You have to know how the track will change throughout the day. I’m trying to learn everything I can right now, and just build my notebook. I try to keep my list of questions as detailed as possible. I’ll try and talk to him on the phone, or just text him, anything I can do to get the job done.”

News & Notes:

  • Chassis Information… The No. 41 ThorSport Racing team will utilize chassis No. 53 for Friday night’s Toyota Tundra 250 at Kansas Speedway. This is the same chassis that Rhodes piloted at Atlanta Motor Speedway earlier this season, finishing sixth. Teammate, Cameron Hayley piloted this same chassis to one top-five finish at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway (4th), and four top-10 finishes; Kentucky Speedway in Sparta (9th), Pocono Raceway (4th), Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway (10th), and Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (10th) in 2015.
  • Kansas Debut… Rhodes will make his Kansas Speedway debut in Friday night’s 167 lap event. In Rhodes’ intermediate track debut earlier this season, the Louisville, Kentucky native started seventh and finished sixth at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
  • On Board with Ben Rhodes… ThorSport Racing, Ben Rhodes, and Alpha Energy Solutions partnered with Operation BBQ Relief, a non-profit organization based in Pleasant Hill, MO for Friday night’s 16th Annual NCWTS race at Kansas Speedway. Operation BBQ Relief was started in 2011 by eight competition barbecue teams from eight states following the highly destructive and deadly EF-5 tornado that ripped through the small town of Joplin, MO on May 23, 2011. The group was able to serve over 120,000 meals in 13 days to the displaced families and emergency personnel of the impacted area. Almost five years later, the volunteer-based organization has served over 703,000 meals in 18 states through the efforts of over 2,750 volunteers.
  • Meet & Greet with Ben… In an effort to help raise awareness for Operation BBQ Relief, Rhodes will be at Famous Dave’s, a partner of the non-profit organization, across from Kansas Speedway, on Friday, May 6 from 11:30-1pm CT signing autographs.
  • Famous Fundraiser… In conjunction with the Operations BBQ Relief partnership, Famous Dave’s, across from the Kansas Speedway, will be offering all you can eat ribs for $19.99 all day on Friday, May 6. Additionally, the location will match donations made to Operation BBQ Relief up to $500.00.
  • In The Loop – 2016… According to NASCAR’s Loop Data statistics, Rhodes has an Average Start of 10.7, an Average Finish of 9.7, has spent 87.2% of laps completed inside the Top-15, and has a Driver Rating of 91.4 in 2016. Rhodes is ranked 10th overall.
  • Rookie Stripe… Rhodes continues to lead the 2016 Sunoco Rookie of the Year battle with 38 points, four points ahead of second place, William Byron going into the fourth race of the season at Kansas Speedway.
  • Derby Bound… Louisville, KY native, Rhodes, will be making an appearance in the Delta Dental Celebrity Green Room at the 142nd Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 7. The event will mark Rhodes Kentucky Derby debut.
  • Race Rewind – Martinsville… Rhodes earned his career first NCWTS pole for the Alpha Energy Solutions 250 at Martinsville Speedway, beating 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion, Kyle Busch, by .08 seconds. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender led the field for the first 42 laps, his first laps led in NCWTS competition, and finished 16th.

Rhodes’ 2016 NCWTS Stats:

  • Starts: 3
  • Poles: 1 (Martinsville, 2016)
  • Top-5 Finishes: 0
  • Top-10 Finishes: 2
  • Best Finish: 6th (Atlanta)
  • Laps Completed: 485 of 485 (100%)
  • Laps Led: 42

Rhodes’ Career NCWTS stats:

  • Starts: 7 since 2014
  • First full-time season: 2016
  • Poles: 1 (Martinsville, 2016)
  • Top-5 Finishes: 1 (Phoenix, 2014)
  • Top-10 Finishes: 5
  • Laps Completed: 1236 of 1267 (97.5%)
  • Laps Led: 42
  • First start: Martinsville (8th)
  • Best finish: 5th: Phoenix
  • Start: 9.4
  • Finish: 10.4
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