Friday, July 13, 2018

Trackin’ Trucks: Ben Rhodes Wins at Kentucky

Ben Rhodes. Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs

by Courtney Horn

Ben Rhodes earned his second career victory and secured his way into the Camping World Truck Series playoffs at Kentucky Speedway.

Rhodes won Stage 1 and led 38 laps of Thursday's Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 before earning his first win of the season. The win is Rhodes’ first at his home track.

“I still don’t have any words,” Rhodes said. “This is amazing; a dream come true. This has been such a long time coming. These guys deserved it so much. They’ve been working their butts off and we’ve been having such bad luck this year.

“We’ve had trucks like this all year long, finally we could showcase it. I’m so proud of this team. This is exactly what we needed.”

Rhodes led four times and took the lead for the last time on Lap 127. A fuel-only pit stop in the final laps allowed the ThorSport Racing driver to win by .922-seconds over Stewart Friesen.

Friesen came up short of his first series victory after an issue with the right rear tire cost the No. 52 team.

“We had an engine problem during time trials and the whole team stepped in,” Friesen said. “It was awesome. We had less than an hour to go to swap ’em out and we had a good finish. We led some laps. Didn’t get off the way we needed to on pit road at the end and it was the difference of about 100 yards and a lot of clean air. Proud of the guys, but I made a little mistake there and it cost us.”

Matt Crafton finished third for his first top five since finishing fifth in Fort Worth, Texas. Brandon Jones and John Hunter Nemechek rounded out the top five.

Pole sitter Noah Gragson finished in the eighth position after winning Stage 2. He led 62 laps on Thursday, the most of the night.

A Look Ahead

The Camping World Truck Series heads to Eldora Speedway to sling some dirt next Wednesday, July 18th.

Only four seeds remain available for the CWTS playoffs. Justin Haley sits on the bubble with four races left in the regular season, with Myatt Snider in ninth, 75 points behind the cutoff position.

Johnny Sauter remains the points leader by 42 points over Gragson and 91 ahead of Brett Moffitt.

Crafton won the event one year ago. Can the two-time series champion do it again and secure his place in the playoffs?

Find out on July 18 at 9 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.

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