Home » FEATURE STORY, NASCAR - Camping World Trucks

Rhodes Overcomes Pit Miss To Get Truck Win At Bristol

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, April 17 2022

Ben Rhodes rides to victory in Saturday’s Truck Series race. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Ben Rhodes overcame a mistake at the end of  Stage 1 in the Saturday night NASCAR Camping World Series Pinty’s Trucks on Dirt at Bristol Motor Speedway to claim his first victory this season.

 “I kinda gave it away for a moment,” Rhodes said in describing his failure to pit at the end of Stage 1. “I should have pitted at the first pit stop. That wasn’t on my crew. That was on me. It was just kind of miscommunication. I missed pit road.”  

That meant Rhodes had to pit at the end of the second Stage, leaving him 13th when the final Stage went green with 57 laps remaining in the 150-lap event. 

“Coming back through the pack was really hard,” said Rhodes, who led twice for 95 laps. “You couldn’t get to the top and get it dusted off. With so many other trucks around you, they’d just slide you and you’d lose the position immediately, so that was really, really tough.” 

When the eighth and final caution flag waved with 10 laps remaining, Rhodes had maneuvered into fourth. When the race returned to green-flag conditions for the final time, Rhodes used the outside lane to set up leader Carson Hocevar. He dove underneath Hocevar to snatch the lead with four laps remaining and then held on to the top spot to claim his sixth career victory.

Hocevar blamed the loss on the way he handled Rhodes after he passed him.

“He (Rhodes) slide jobbed me and I should have prepared for it, crossed him over and then raced him really hard,” Hocevar said after claiming his best career finish. “Second just sucks. It’s terrible, especially being that close.” 

Of the four Cup drivers in the Truck race, Joey Logano produced the best finish, placing sixth. Chase Elliott was close behind in seventh, while Austin Dillon took 14th and Harrison Burton placed 20th.

###

Add NASCAR Cup champion and dirt track ace Kyle Larson to the list of Cup drivers that don’t believe the premier series should be racing on dirt.

“I think everybody assumes my opinion would be to race dirt every weekend, but, no, I don’t think Cup cars should be on dirt,” Larson said Saturday before the Cup qualifying races. “That’s the only change I would make (to the schedule) is not race on dirt. Really, I am cool with a street course and stuff like that.”

Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch also have expressed their displeasure at the Cup Series racing on dirt. Busch, like seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty, believes it takes NASCAR backwards to when it wasn’t viewed as a professional sport. 

“Last year, it was very tolerable, as far as driving it and racing it and doing all the things that we do, but I just don’t agree with racing on dirt,” Harvick said. “I don’t feel that’s where we need to be. For me, it’s exciting when it’s over. Personally, I think Bristol is a great race track by itself.”

###

Chase Briscoe’s dirt racing background has made him the “go-to” driver for his Stewart-Haas Racing teammates when they need advice for Sunday night’s Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“He’s the leader of this whole dirt program,” Kevin Harvick said. “If he tells me to run the bottom, I run the bottom. If he tells me to run the top, I run the top. If he tells me to go backwards on the back straightaway, I’ll go backwards on the back straightaway because it’s just not anything that I know what’s going on.”

SHR teammate Cole Custer, who earned the pole for Sunday night’s event, said the first stop he made after practice was the No. 14 hauler “just trying to see what Chase thinks.”

“We made our cars extremely similar trying to just have something of a baseline … because he probably knows a little bit better where the track is gonna go and just what to look for,” Custer said. “He’s definitely been a huge asset to our team and just kind of … being able to adapt a little faster.”

Briscoe starts fourth, Aric Almirola 31st and Harvick 32nd.

 

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, April 17 2022
No Comment

Comments are closed.