Ben Rhodes Earns 2023 Truck Series Championship as Christian Eckes Wins Race at Phoenix

Credit: Chris Graythen

It was quite an eventful night at Phoenix Raceway on Friday night, as Ben Rhodes earned his second NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship. 

Rhodes finished fifth during the Craftsman 150 to earn the championship. He beat fellow championship-eligible contenders Corey Heim, Carson Hocevar, and Grant Enfinger. 

“I can’t even believe it. Let’s go!” Rhodes said. “I hate when people do that on TV, so I’m sorry. But hey, this is so awesome, man.

“To go 25 laps into overtime, you know what that feels like? Almost lose it three times? Look at the front of the truck. It’s crazy. I didn’t think we were going to make it. I thought we were going to pop a tire. I thought anything that could have gone wrong was going to go wrong.”   

Christian Eckes won on Friday night at the one-mile track, bringing his total of 2023 series wins to four. He held off Jake Garcia for the win. 

Chase Purdy finished third, Jesse Love was fourth, then Rhodes fifth. 

As for the other championship contenders, Grant Enfinger finished sixth while Heim and Hocevar finished in 18th and 29th, respectively.   

Heim and Hocevar collided on Lap 119 after Hocevar made contact with Heim’s back bumper and sent him spinning up the track. The incident also collected Stewart Friesen, who finished in 24th place. 

Hocevar was visibly remorseful as he was seen through an in-car camera beating on the steering wheel of his No. 42 Chevrolet. 

After the race he noted his track record and said, “He (Heim) should win the championship, man. He should win. I didn’t want to do that at all.”

“My track record, it’s going to kill me,” Hocevar continued. “I can’t sit here and say I didn’t mean to. … Like honestly, I just messed up. I was just trying really hard. I was blocking and doing everything I could. I just tried to slow him up and messed up.”

Heim raced Hocevar hard in the final laps when Hocevar attempted to pass him. Hocevar ended up in the wall after the two made contact, but Heim denied that it was retaliation. 

“(I) had a lot of right rear damage and was pretty much out-of-control free, so as soon as (Hocevar), really he was the third one on the outside and I about wrecked every time,” Heim said. “Then, by the time he finally got there, I just spun out. With him on my door, I lost all my side force and lost control. So super unfortunate.”

GMS Racing drivers finished sixth (Enfinger), 12th (Rajah Caruth), and 32nd place (Daniel Dye) in their final series race. The organization is closing their Truck Series program to focus on Cup endeavors with Legacy Motor Club, as they are part owners alongside former seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson. 

Meanwhile, Kyle Busch Motorsports drivers Chase Purdy and Jack Wood finished third and 27th, respectively. They’re closing their doors with Spire Motorsports purchasing the team early this year. 

KBM has two driver championships, 100 victories, 70 pole positions, and several owner championships to their credit since their opening in 2010. 


Ben Rhodes Earns 2023 Truck Series Championship as Christian Eckes Wins Race at Phoenix  Ben Rhodes Earns 2023 Truck Series Championship as Christian Eckes Wins Race at Phoenix Reviewed by Courtney Horn on Sunday, November 05, 2023 Rating: 5