June 30th, 2018

Ben Rhodes Finishes Second at Chicagoland

Jeff Woods 

Staff Writer 


Ben Rhodes Finishes Second at Chicagoland
Ben Rhodes / file photo

It would appear Ben Rhodes’ bad luck is officially in his rearview mirror.

The Louisville native finished a season-best second in the Overton’s 225 at Chicagoland Speedway Friday night. And considering all the misfortune the Louisville native has endured the past five races, second place almost feels like a victory.

“It’s so rewarding. It’s been a long time coming,” Rhodes told Fox Sports 1. “I feel like we really should’ve had something a lot better than this a long time ago. But we finally righted the ship. We finally had things not go bad for once. We finally had things working in our favor and it’s just so refreshing.”

Rhodes was in the top ten for most of the night, but he didn’t really flex his muscle until the second half of the race. He qualified ninth and was running sixth after stage one, but a slow pit stop put him near the back of the field. Following a caution on lap 52, Rhodes returned to pit road to try and improve the handling of his Ford F-150. He restarted 17th but charged to 11th by the end of stage two.

The field then made their way to pit road for fresh tires and fuel and this time, Rhodes’ team was on point. The No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions crew picked up four spots and Rhodes restarted seventh on lap 77. It didn’t take long for Rhodes to crack the top five and he was running fourth when Stewart Friesen’s spin brought out a caution with 30 laps to go.

Green flag racing resumed with 24 laps to go with Rhodes in third place. He was still in third on the final lap when leader John Hunter Nemechek ran out of gas and coasted across the finish line in seventh place, allowing Rhodes to move up to the runner-up spot.

“These guys on our ThorSport have been working so unbelievably hard,” said Rhodes. “Ford has been helping us a ton trying to help us right our ship. It’s just been awesome. Our F-150 was fast right off the hauler.

“When you have bad races out of your control, you can’t afford to have a bad race because of yourself like other teams can. They’ve been bringing me fast pieces all year long and it’s finally good to have stuff go right for once.”

Rhodes remains eighth in the Camping World Truck Series points standings and on the bubble for the final playoff spot. However, he has a sizeable lead over ninth-place Myatt Snider, who trails Rhodes by 42 points.

The Holy Cross graduate can now turn his attention toward getting a win Kentucky Speedway July 12. It is the next race on the schedule and Rhodes has made it very clear in the past what a victory at his home track would mean to him.

Over the next two weeks, Rhodes will continue to head up the “All Rhodes Lead to Kentucky Speedway” promotional campaign, which includes a media tour to promote the race as well as recognize and honor First Responders.

Race coverage from Kentucky Speedway begins at 7:30 p.m. on Fox Sports 1.

 

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