June 3rd, 2017

Rhodes finishes fourth at Dover

Jeff Woods 

Staff Writer 


Rhodes finishes fourth at Dover
file photo

Ben Rhodes continues to inch closer and closer to his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win.

The Louisville native led the most laps in the Bar Harbor 200 Friday night, but a late pit stop for tires and fuel dropped Rhodes down the running order. He charged back through the field to finish fourth, his second top five of the season.

“It gives me a lot of confidence knowing that our No. 27 Safelite Tundra ran this well because this is probably the toughest track we go to, at least for me,” said Rhodes “This has probably been my toughest challenge for a race track in my past. We ran really well here and I think it’s safe to say that everybody knows that we were here.”

Rhodes took the lead for the first time on Lap 94 of 200. He went on to lead the next 71 laps until he was forced to pit road for fuel and new tires with 35 to go. Moments later, the caution flag waved when Chase Briscoe lost his left front wheel. When green flag racing resumed with 25 laps to go, Rhodes was mired in eighth place. He powered his way up to fourth, but was unable to catch the top three before the checkered flag.

“We definitely had a faster truck than those guys,” said Rhodes. “Track position was key all night long and there were a lot of different strategies to get track position. I was praying that everyone would run out of gas in front of me. Maybe they would have back luck for once because our bad luck tonight was while we were leading, we came in for a pit stop and the caution came out, which ended up killing us.”

Despite missing out on a win, the day was a success for the Holy Cross graduate. Rhodes moved up another spot in the CWTS points standings to fourth. His 71 laps led is also a career-high.

“I think it’s just a testament to our team that we can play at this stage and we can big picture race. We can race for a championship tonight and we can lead that many laps knowing that we gave it all that we had. We weren’t one hundred percent focused on making major speed. We were focused on putting ourselves in the best position and surviving the race, not getting any damage and being there at the end,” said Rhodes.

“It certainly does sting knowing that we had a chance to win it tonight and led so many laps and we don’t come home with a trophy. It seems like that’s been the story of the season, but I know it’s just a matter of time. This place just gives me so much more confidence because this was my worst track and we just conquered it.”

Rhodes is back in action Friday, June 9 at Texas Motor Speedway. 

 

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