Ben Rhodes was available to the media on Thursday afternoon at Charlotte Motor Speedway prior to the dual practice sessions on Thursday evening:
BEN RHODES, No. 27 Safelite Auto Glass Toyota Tundra, ThorSport Racing
How did the test earlier this month help you prepare for this weekend’s race?
“I’ll comment on that. Yeah, you know, I felt like the test session went really well for us. Our 27 Safelight Tundra was a lot faster at the end of the practice session than when we started. I honestly think that a lot of our speed last weekend at Kansas Speedway came from the test session. Last year I was a rookie but I still didn’t get to use any of my testing sessions. We had a lot of adversity we had to overcome at ThorSport last year, so now that we have time and I’m not a rookie, this is something that I really looked forward to, and we had so much stuff that we tried and worked on with Toyota, with our teammates, everybody, just coming into the practice session, and I think all that hard work finally paid off. “
Did you talk to Kyle Busch after last weekend?
“I texted him. I was like, ‘Hey, Kyle, Ben Rhodes here, my idol.’ I said – he was fast all night, obviously, as Kyle Busch. That’s what Kyle Busch does. And I asked him, I said, ‘I want to learn. I feel like you were doing a lot of things out there that was new to me,’ some of the things he was doing with side drafting and drafting, and his restarts was all new to me. As you guys know, when you run in the back and then you come to the front, it’s considerably different, so I was just asking him questions about the restarts and side drafting and different ways to kind of work traffic to be a little more efficient and not get myself in trouble like I did last year. What about you over there, Christopher Bell? Did you ask Kyle Busch any questions?”
Did Kyle Busch talk to you about how to move forward?
“Yeah, I definitely heard from him (Kyle Busch), and I feel like I’ve moved forward. You have to be focused forward after something like that happens. As these guys know, everybody in their career coming up will lose more than they win, so that’s just another notch in the notebook. But it stings because it was going to be our first win, but that’s fine. We’ve had a couple of those races last year where we were in good positions but nothing ever happened, so moving forward. I think the sting is away, but just positive. My crew chief Eddie (Troconis) is actually having a lot of fun with it. He took the bolt that went through our grille into our radiator and eventually expired the motor – he took that and put it on a gold chain and he’s saying it’s our good luck charm for this weekend, so we’re having a lot of fun with it and just rebounding from last weekend’s performance.”
BEN RHODES, No. 27 SafeLite Auto Glass Toyota Tundra, ThorSport Racing (continued)
Were you just watching at Eldora Speedway recently or testing?
“No, I was just watching. There were some people that were testing there and I saw the opportunity to go there and learn. Obviously, dirt is my weak spot having never done it except in a go‑kart and there you try to stay as straight as possible. Definitely want to get out to a dirt track as often as I can just to try to learn. I’m not saying I’m a very good dirt driver, but I like to go there and watch from the best and I think that there’s some things that you can pick up on outside the truck that you can apply later on if you’re really attentive and you go down to the corners, you talk to people, you kind of go around and like a journalist and interview everybody and just try to figure out what’s the best stuff that everybody does and try to combine that and figure out what I should be doing to be up front.”