Laps Led: 0
Driver Points: 15th
Owner Points: 16th
Ben Rhodes Race Recap:
Ben Rhodes, driver of the No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions Toyota Tundra, made his track debut in Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Rattlesnake 400 at Texas Motor Speedway. Starting from the 12th position, Rhodes lost ground early in the 167-lap event due to a “wicked loose” Toyota Tundra. Falling as far back as 19th in the first 50 laps, Rhodes would eventually go a lap down, but rally back to a solid 11th-place finish in the 37th annual event.
Crew chief Kevin Bellicourt brought the No. 41 machine to pit road under the races first caution at lap 52 for four tires, fuel, and a round of adjustments to aid in the handling. Over the ensuing 45 laps, Rhodes was able to race his way into the Lucky Dog position, and was awarded his lap back under the third caution of the night at lap 97. Still looking for more lateral grip, Rhodes was able to make his way through the field in the final 60 laps, running as high as eighth. Unfortunately, a long green flag run in the races final 43 laps would hinder Rhodes opportunity to advance into the top-10, due to his Tundra being better on the shorter runs. The ThorSport Racing driver would cross the stripe in the 11th position behind race winner, William Byron.
“Our No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions Toyota Tundra was pretty dialed out in the beginning – just with the sun shinning on the track, and the way the truck was set up for racing at night. Thank goodness the sun went down – we were able to get some more grip in the track. My guys get an A+ today on adjustments – they stayed with it the whole time. We ended up going a lap down just because we were so bad at one point, but we were able to tune it back in. I really wish we would have had a late race caution come out – all of our speed was on the short runs. We just couldn’t maintain speed on the longer runs. It felt like I was on the cushion all night long – running up by the wall – anywhere I could go to get grip. Not a bad run today though. We are heading to Iowa and Gateway the next couple weeks, and those are two races we’ve had circled on the calendar, and I’m looking forward to it – with my short track background. We’ve got some new trucks coming up that I’m really excited about.”
- The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series had two practice sessions on Thursday afternoon in preparation for Friday night’s Rattlesnake 400 at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS). Rhodes was seventh, and fourth, respectively, in both sessions.
- In his TMS debut, the ThorSport Racing driver started 12th, ran as high as eighth, and finished 11th.
- In seven starts in 2016, Rhodes has led 47 laps en route to two top-10 finishes.
- In 11 career NCWTS starts, Rhodes has one pole (Martinsville), and has led 47 laps en route to one top-five (Phoenix, 2014), and five top-10 finishes.
- Rhodes’ ThorSport Racing teammates finished second (Crafton), ninth (Abreu), and 18th (Hayley).
- Up Next: The Speediatrics 200 on Saturday, June 17, 2016 at Iowa Speedway