Trackin’ Trucks: Ben Rhodes Wins at Daytona

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs

Ben Rhodes earned his first Camping World Truck Series victory of the 2021 season on Friday, shooting past Cory Roper on the final lap to win the NextEra Energy 250 at Daytona International Speedway. 

Rhodes received a push by ThorSport Racing teammate Matt Crafton just before multiple trucks bunched together, resulting in a massive wreck that included Crafton. 

“This is so special — the biggest win of my career,” Rhodes said after the event. “I can’t even believe this. As a driver, you’re always asked about what your biggest accomplishment is … This is it. This is hands-down it. This is the place to be. I can’t even believe it."

Rhodes finished 0.036 seconds ahead of Jordan Anderson, while Cory Roper finished third – his career-best in the series. Ryan Truex battled back from an earlier incident to finish fourth, while Carson Hocevar rounded out the top-five finishers. 

The race was ThorSport Racing’s first event with Toyota since 2017. The organization switched from Ford during the off season after being with the manufacture for three seasons. 

“We came back to Toyota, and we won in our first race with them at ThorSport,” Rhodes said. “I can’t thank (owners) Duke and Rhonda Thorson enough for this opportunity. This is special. I’m going to soak it up for as long as I can. I’m going to enjoy this night. Best night of my life right here.”

Rhodes made sure to credit his teammate for helping get him to Victory Lane in the season opener. 

“Thanks goodness I had my teammate, Matt Crafton, behind me, because he’s a stud,” Rhodes said. “He’s been around a long time, and he knows what he’s doing.”

A Lap-72 crash ended the night for a few drivers that were having incredible nights, including Todd Gilliland, Brett Moffitt, Stewart Friesen, and Tate Fogleman. 

Crafton, who was nudged by John Hunter Nemechek, hit the No. 38 of Gilliland from behind. The contact sent Gilliland spinning throughout the field. Fogleman, Gilliland, and Friesen finished 30th, 31st, and 32nd, respectively, while Moffitt finished 25th. 

Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Chandler Smith spun his No. 18 Toyota into the infield grass with five laps remaining, sending the event into overtime. Smith’s spin started a massive wreck behind him, which included Timothy Peters, Tyler Ankrum, Johnny Sauter, Bryan Dauzat, and Austin Hill. 

The 2012 series champion, James Buescher, was racing for the first time in six years, but was credited without a single lap run after a four-truck incident collected the driver before even reaching the start/finish line. 

Tanner Gray and Gus Dean were involved with significant damage, effectively ending their nights. 

A Look Ahead 

The Camping World Truck Series stay in Daytona for the Feb. 19 road course event. Sheldon Creed won the event last August, holding off Brett Moffitt by 0.743 seconds. 

Who will win the second running of the event? Find out on Friday, Feb. 19 at 7:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. 

Trackin’ Trucks: Ben Rhodes Wins at Daytona  Trackin’ Trucks: Ben Rhodes Wins at Daytona Reviewed by Courtney Horn on Saturday, February 13, 2021 Rating: 5