Ben Rhodes – 2016 Kentucky 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: 11th

Sounding Off – Ben Rhodes:

With two top-five finishes in the series last two races, you have a lot of momentum going into Kentucky this week. What would it mean to get your first career Truck Series win, at your home track?

Coming off a fourth-place finish at Iowa Speedway and a second-place finish at Gateway Motorsports Park is an awesome feeling to have, especially in light of the recent events at ThorSport Racing. My No. 41 team has been more motivated than ever to have on-track success, and I think we’ve shown just that. They’ve been working out of a Kroger parking lot, and about six other buildings in Sandusky, Ohio and they haven’t batted an eye. If anything, I think they are even more motivated than ever. I’m really looking forward to the truck race at Kentucky Speedway, this is my home track and having the confidence of these two great finishes in my back pocket makes the experience even more enjoyable. I’ll have my hometown crowd of family, friends, and sponsors watching me compete, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m honored to be able to share what I do each and every weekend with them. If I were able to get my first win at Kentucky Speedway Thursday, it would mean so much to me, I’m not really even able to put it in words. If it does happen, they better be ready because we’ll will have a huge crowd there supporting us through it all.

Would you consider the new track repave a competitive advantage for a rookie like yourself?

“The new racing surface at Kentucky Speedway has taken quite some time to finish, but I’m really excited to finally be racing on it. To me, as a rookie, I see the new track surface as an opportunity for a level playing field against the veterans of the series, and if anything, I feel like I have a hometown advantage. I always drive past the Speedway on my way to Sandusky, and I’ve stopped by the racetrack many times through the paving process, and I was able to see it coming together. This feels almost like a culminating event for me.”

How has the June 13 fire at ThorSport Racing affected you and your team as you enter this weekend’s NCWTS race at Kentucky Speedway?

“We actually lost one good truck in the fire. Our original truck, it was a brand new chassis, a brand new body, purpose-built for Kentucky Speedway this week, and it was caught up in the fire. So, unfortunately, that one is being all cut apart right now, and trying to be fixed. We’re bringing the sister truck to it. It’s not brand new, but it has been raced quite a bit. I actually raced it at Dover this year, but it has a brand new body on it, and we’re hoping that it will do us good at Kentucky this week.”

News & Notes:

  • Chassis Chatter…The No. 41 ThorSport Racing team will unload chassis No. 36 for Thursday night’s Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 at Kentucky Speedway. This is the same chassis Rhodes piloted earlier this season at Dover International Speedway. Since, the chassis has been rebuilt, and will make its debut for Thursday night’s 150-lap event.
  • Louisville Slugger… Rhodes, a 19-year-old Louisville, KY native, who still calls the “Bluegrass State” home, threw out the first pitch at the Louisville Bats game on Thursday night, June 30, at Louisville Slugger Field.
  • Ben Rhodes Gets Schooled… In advance of Thursday night’s 19th annual NCWTS race at Kentucky Speedway, Rhodes visited Ludlow High School in Ludlow, KY on Tuesday, June 28, to speak with 12-14 year-olds about the science, technology, engineering, and math involved in racing. The students were building their own SAFER barriers.
  • Bluegrass State Stats… Rhodes, who will be making his 14th career NCWTS start on Thursday night, has two previous starts at Kentucky Speedway in the Xfinity Series (2015), and the ARCA Racing Series (2014). In his Xfinity debut in 2015, Rhodes started 15th, and finished 30th. In 2014, the Louisville, KY native started fifth, led 26 laps, and was involved in a late-race incident, and relegated to a 27th-place finish. Rhodes has also made several U.S. Legend Car starts on the frontstretch quarter-mile oval.
  • Rookie Stripe… Rhodes is currently third in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings behind leader, William Byron after nine of 23 races this season.
  • Race Rewind – Gateway… In his track debut at Gateway Motorsports Park (GMP) in the NCWTS, the ThorSport Racing driver started first, had an average running position of 5.5, led four laps, and finished a career-best second.
  • Alpha Energy Solutions Homecoming… It’s also a homecoming weekend for Rhodes’ primary sponsor, Alpha Energy Solutions. Based in Louisville, Ky., Alpha Energy Solutions is the regional leader in delivering top quality commercial and industrial mechanical service to the Midwest.

Rhodes’ 2016 NCWTS Stats:

  • Starts: 9
  • Poles: 1 (Martinsville, 2016)
  • Top-5 Finishes: 2
  • Top-10 Finishes: 4
  • Laps Completed: 1446 of 1516 (95.4%)
  • Laps Led: 51
  • Start: 9.7
  • Finish: 12.1

Rhodes’ Career NCWTS stats:

  • Starts: 13 since 2014
  • First full-time season: 2016
  • Poles: 1 (Martinsville, 2016)
  • Top-5 Finishes: 3
  • Top-10 Finishes: 7
  • Laps Completed: 2197 of 2298 (95.6%)
  • Laps Led: 51
  • First start: Martinsville (8th)
  • Best finish: 2nd (Gateway, 2016)
  • Start: 9.3
  • Finish: 11.8

Race Information:
Date: Thursday, July 7
Time: 8:30pm ET on FOX Sports 1
Track: 1.5-mile
Distance: 150 laps/225 miles

 

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