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Rhodes Not Lonesome During Slack Schedule

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, March 23 2018

Truck driver Ben Rhodes says the big gap in the Camping World Series schedule is not necessarily a bad thing. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Alan Marler)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – In the 2018 season’s first three months, NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series has only four races. It’s a schedule a driver doesn’t like, but Ben Rhodes admitted Friday the lengthy breaks at the season’s beginning were good for ThorSport Racing which switched from Toyota to Ford this year.

“Even though we’re not at the race track we can use this time for every ounce that it’s worth,” Rhodes said at Martinsville Speedway during preparations for this weekend’s Alpha Energy Solutions 250.

ThorSport announced its switch to Ford just three weeks before the season opener at Daytona. Without sufficient time to construct trucks for its four drivers – Rhodes, two-time truck champion Matt Crafton, Grant Enfinger and rookie Myatt Snider – Rhodes had to pilot a backup BKR (Brad Keselowski Racing) truck at Daytona. The series then had two more races before a two-week break.  After Martinsville, the series has five weeks off before it resumes racing May 4 at Dover.

“We haven’t been to the wind tunnel yet. We haven’t done any of these other things that teams like KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) or GMS are doing to get ahead,” Rhodes said. “This allows us to do some R&D on our side and really work off the track to get that speed. A lot of the speed you see nowadays is made from the shop – the wind tunnel, seven-post machine, stuff like that. I feel like it’s kind of a blessing, but at the same time the racer in me wants to race every single day, every single night.”

Rhodes believes the team’s transition to Ford has been good.

“I love the way Ford has welcomed us into the family with open arms, but at the same time I would love to have gotten into the wind tunnel, some other resources a little sooner,” Rhodes said.

But he noted it was “hard enough” just to get the trucks built for Daytona.

“The first three races, we were just trying to get through them,” Rhodes commented.

Crafton and Snider possess only one top-10 each in the season’s first three races while Rhodes and Enfinger haven’t finished outside the top 10. In the point standings, Enfinger is third, Rhodes fifth, Crafton ninth and Snider 10th. With two weeks off leading into Martinsville and five weeks after the event, Rhodes believes it will allow ThorSport to reset and “really focus for the playoffs.”  

“Now … I think we’ll be doing pretty good,” he said.

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, March 23 2018
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