Ben Rhodes, driver of the No. 27 Safelite AutoGlass Toyota Tundra, finished a track-best sixth in Friday night’s TheHouse.com 225 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Chicagoland Speedway. The top-10 result qualified the ThorSport Racing driver for the eighth and final spot in the NASCAR Playoffs, to determine the 2017 champion.
What was it like racing for the last Playoff position?
“I think I stayed calm the whole time, especially with stuff going on. Being calm and relaxed in the truck paid off. I could have taken some really aggressive moves out there to get us further ahead on the restarts, because it was definitely a clean air game, but we never took those moves. I’m glad we didn’t, who knows what would have happened. I saw my teammate moving up the track really quick, when he got aero loose under someone, and knocked in our fender, and I thought, ‘Oh no, oh no.’ I thought we were going to have to come in and go a lap down. I thought the race was done right there. One of the biggest roller coaster races I can remember. I still don’t look happy because I don’t actually believe that I’m in. It wasn’t a good night to begin with, but we’re in. I’m happy about that, it was just a tough night and I still don’t believe that we are in because we were so emotional this year. The whole year has been a roller coaster.”
What does this mean to race for a championship?
“Man, I still can’t believe it. They gave me the hat and I’m like, ‘Are you sure this is ours?’ They said we were tied and we had the tiebreaker and I can’t believe it. We struggled ever since we unloaded here. This was our worst performance overall, and it couldn’t have come at a worse week, but they said we’re in and overall it worked out for us. I have to say thank you to everybody that’s involved. Now we have to re-focus, and get a lot stronger for the Playoffs because a lot of these guys that are in, are already there, and they belong there, and we have to get a little bit stronger because tonight was not one of our best nights.”
Laps Led: 0
Driver Points: 7th
Owner Points: 10th
2017 Playoff Position: 8th
- In two starts at Chicagoland Speedway, Rhodes has one top-10 finish (2017).
- Rhodes was one of three drivers to qualify for the NCWTS Playoffs, to determine the 2017 champion – his first Playoff berth.
- In 16 starts this season, the ThorSport Racing driver has one pole (Pocono), and has led 123 laps en route to five top-five, and nine top-10 finishes.
- In 43 career starts, Rhodes has two poles, and has led 178 laps en route to eight top-five, and 17 top-10 finishes.
- Up Next: The UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday, September 23 at 1:00 p.m. ET.