Trackin’ Trucks: Ben Rhodes Wins at Darlington

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs

Ben Rhodes earned his first Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series victory of the season at Darlington Raceway, locking himself into the 2020 Playoffs for the series championship.

“Gosh, that was such a tough win,” Rhodes said. “We weren’t the best truck all day. I was actually really disappointed when the (final) caution flag came out because I thought fourth place is a good finish for us, we’ll get in the playoffs.

“But I’m not letting this checkered flag go,” Rhodes said, “It’s been a long time coming.”

Rhodes passed Derek Kraus in overtime after a crash involving Josh Reaume and David Rag

an brought out the seventh and final caution of the afternoon. Rhodes snapped a 48-race winless streak with the victory at the 1.366-mile track.

Kraus held onto second, followed by Austin Hill, Grant Enfinger, Christian Eckes.

Raphael Lessard finished sixth, Todd Gilliland finished seventh, while Stewart Friesen, Timmy Hill, and Brett Moffitt rounded out the top 10.

Sheldon Creed finished in the 18th position after suffering a pit road speeding penalty in the closing laps of the South Carolina Education Lottery 200. Creed led a race-high 82 laps.

“If more would have come (to pit road) it would have helped out situation,” Creed said. “Man, that one hurts. Capitalized on that (next to) last restart and got to the lead and I knew if I was to the lead I was really good for 15-20 laps. And I feel like track position was really important.

“Just so much fun today. This place is so cool. The Jimmie Johnson throwback (paint scheme), it was really fun racing my teammate for the lead and quite a few times on restarts. Such a good job by my guys.”

Zane Smith and Tanner Gray finished 16th and 29th, respectively, after the two made contact on Lap 123. Gray got loose and spun going into Turn 1 and collected the driver of the No. 21 Chevrolet.

Trevor Bayne finished 27th in his series debut. It was Bayne’s first start in a NASCAR-sanctioned event since November of 2018, where he finished 21st in the Cup Series event at Texas Motor Speedway.

A Look Ahead

The Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series head to Richmond Raceway for the regular-season finale on Thursday, September 10th.

Six drivers have locked themselves into the post-season Playoffs with wins, while Moffitt and Eckes have clinched based on points.

Kraus is 10 points outside of the top 10 in the standings, while Johnny Sauter is 15th, 125 points behind Gilliland because a mechanical failure took him out of contention Sunday after 138 laps.

1   Austin Hill*

2   Brett Moffitt*     -38 

3   Zane Smith* -56  

4   Ben Rhodes* -63  

5   Sheldon Creed* -88  

6   Christian Eckes* -95  

7   Matt Crafton* -120  

8   Grant Enfinger* -145  

9   Tyler Ankrum -153  

10   Todd Gilliland -157  

*locked into the Playoffs

Trackin’ Trucks: Ben Rhodes Wins at Darlington  Trackin’ Trucks: Ben Rhodes Wins at Darlington Reviewed by Courtney Horn on Sunday, September 06, 2020 Rating: 5