Ben Rhodes – 2017 Daytona Preview

Ben-Rhodes-2017-AD8A7882-SMTeam Information:
Crew Chief: Eddie Troconis
Manufacturer: Toyota
Engine: Triad Racing Technologies
2016 Driver Point Standings: 14th
2016 Owner Point Standings: 17th

Sounding Off – Ben Rhodes:

NASCAR announced a new race format for 2017. What are your thoughts on the three-segment races this season?

“I love the shorter races, that’s what I grew up doing, so the shorter race segments are great for me. I’m honestly glad the caution clock is gone now. My now teammate, Cody Coughlin, and I tangled in Daytona last year because the caution clock came out and everyone was trying to short pit the caution clock, which caused a huge pile-up. I’m pretty sure we caused the first caution of the year. So, I’m glad that we have the segments now in place of the caution clock. I think there will still be some short pitting, and a lot of pit stop games, but it will definitely be interesting, and it will bring a lot of change – I love change in this sport. I love seeing new things implemented that generate excitement. Our races in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series are already exciting and now we will have more elements – restarts, segments, and segment victories – I can’t even imagine because we are already aggressive as drivers every lap.”

Although you are with a familiar organization for 2017 you have a new crew chief and new team. How long does it take for the team to really gel?

“It’s just like anything else, it’s a process. We will get to know each other and become better friends throughout the year, but we tried to get on the right page from the start. We had a team meeting at the shop earlier this year, brought all the guys in and we talked about everything from seats, and how we wanted them mounted, to set-up’s, our plans and goals for the season, and even our personal lives – what we like to do outside of work, and just getting to know everyone on a more personal level. I think that’s really key when it comes to having strong relationships, which is so important in our sport. Eddie (Troconis) and I have already gone in depth about each of our trucks and what our plans are for each race. We hit it off right away, which is exciting. Not really knowing Eddie very well, although he was a crew chief at ThorSport Racing last year, it’s amazing that we have so much in common already. I’m really looking forward to this season with everyone on the No. 27 team and at ThorSport Racing.”

News & Notes:

  • Chassis Information…The No. 27 ThorSport Racing team will utilize chassis No. 65 for Friday night’s NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway (DIS). This is a brand new ThorSport Racing chassis and will make its debut at the 2.5-mile superspeedway under the lights Friday night.
  • The Down Low on Daytona… In Rhodes’ DIS debut in 2016, the Louisville, KY native started 24th, and finished seventh in the 100-lap event.
  • Calling The Shots… Rhodes’ 2017 campaign will be led by crew chief Eddie Troconis. Troconis, who called the shots for Cameron Hayley in 2016 at ThorSport Racing, enters his second full-time season in the series atop the pit box. In his first full-time season, the Mexico native was credited with six top-five and 11 top-10 finishes.
  • Birthday Candles… Rhodes will celebrate his 20th birthday on Tuesday, Feb. 21 before heading south to DIS for the first race of the season.
  • Eye In the Sky… Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) spotter, Chris Osborne, will be Rhodes’ spotter for Friday night’s NextEra Energy Resources 250. Osborne currently spots for MENCS driver, Daniel Suárez.
  • What’s In A Number…Rhodes, who piloted the No. 41 entry in 2016 for ThorSport Racing, will pilot the No. 27 entry in 2017.
  • 2016 Recap… In 23 starts in 2016, Rhodes earned one pole (Matinsville-1), and led 55 laps en route to two top-five, and five top-10 finishes. The Louisville, KY native finished 14th in the 2016 driver point standings in his rookie season.
  • Snapchat Takeover… Rhodes will take over the Daytona International Speedway Snapchat on race day. For behind the scenes action, make sure to follow along.
  • Catch Ben at Daytona… Rhodes, along with his TSR teammates, will be at Toyota Pit Pass on Friday, Feb. 24 at 1:30pm. In addition, the ThorSport Racing driver will attend the series autograph session from 3-3:45pm in the infield Fan Zone.

Rhodes Career NCWTS stats:

  • Starts: 27 since 2014
  • First Full-time Season: 2016
  • Poles: 1 (Martinsville-1, 2016)
  • Top-5 Finishes: 3
  • Top-10 Finishes: 8
  • Laps Completed: 3913
  • Laps Led: 55
  • First Start: Martinsville-1, 2014 (8th)
  • Best Finish: 2nd; Gateway
  • Start: 9.6
  • Finish: 15.2

Race Information:
Date: Friday, Feb. 24
Time: 7:30pm ET on FOX Sports 1
Track: 2.5-mile superspeedway
Distance: 100 laps/250 miles

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