August 27th, 2018

Ben Rhodes Finishes 14th Following Late-Race Spin

Jeff Woods 

Staff Writer 


Ben Rhodes Finishes 14th Following Late-Race Spin
Ben Rhodes / file photo

Road course races are often unpredictable in NASCAR. Ben Rhodes found that out the hard way Sunday at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Mosport).

The Louisville native was fighting for a top-five finish with two laps to go in the Camping World Truck Series playoff opener when he was spun out by points leader Johnny Sauter. Rhodes was able to continue, but lost several positions and finished 14th.

Rhodes was not happy with Sauter after the race.

“As I was setting up to make a move, Johnny Sauter pretty much just drove straight into the side of me,” said Rhodes. “He didn’t try to set me up, didn’t try to make a pass, he just drove right into me. I’m not really sure what his problem is. This was the race last year that he ran me off the track and popped my tire for no reason. I confronted him after the race, words were exchanged, but he thinks he’s innocent in the matter so we’re just going to move forward and control what we can to keep ourselves in the playoffs.”

Rhodes ran near the front all race long. He won the pole, led the first six laps, and stayed in the top five most of the day. Unfortunately, at a track like Mosport, it does not take much to ruin what was otherwise a promising afternoon. Earlier in the race, Sauter also spun out Rhodes’ teammate, Myatt Snider, at almost the same spot on the track. Rhodes did not mince words with Sauter during their post-race exchange.

“I called him a few names. And told him he was a veteran and needs to drive like a veteran,” said Rhodes. “It’s not a good thing to be out here wrecking people that are trying to make it into the next round when Sauter has so many points that he can probably already consider himself locked in the next round. So for me, it was really bad on his part. He never apologized, he just defended his move and said he had the line and that my spotter should not have cleared me. He made it apparent he believed he was right doing what he did.”

Rhodes entered the playoffs in fourth place. Following Sunday’s race, Rhodes now sits seventh, one point behind Matt Crafton and Stewart Friesen. Only the top six drivers advance to the second round of the playoffs two races from now.

Next up for the Truck Series is Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the site of Rhodes’ first CWTS win. The Holy Cross High School alum says the team’s strategy will not change despite Sunday’s frustrating day.

“We’re still going for maximum points, but most important, we’re going there to win the race,” he says. “We want to guarantee our spot. We’re going to be smart about how we do it, but we’re there to win. I’m going to be elbows up. I’m going to be super aggressive at Vegas. I have a feeling a lot of other people will be too. I’m not going to be the one that gets picked on by other drivers such as Johnny Sauter. And if they have a problem with it, we’ll settle it on the race track or off the track. I really don’t have a preference at this point. But I’m going to make it to the round of six in the playoffs.”

Race coverage from Las Vegas begins at 9 p.m. Friday, September 14 on Fox Sports 1.

 

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