Ben Rhodes Race Recap:
Ben Rhodes, driver of the No. 41 Operation BBQ Relief/Alpha Energy Solutions Toyota Tundra, made his track debut in Friday night's Toyota Tundra 250 at Kansas Speedway. Starting from the 10th position, Rhodes proved to be a strong contender early on in the 167-lap event. Complaining of a tight Toyota Tundra, that swung to the free-side later in a run, crew chief Kevin Bellicourt brought the No. 41 machine to pit road, under caution, with the leaders, at lap 45 for four tires and fuel. By lap 48, Rhodes was scored fifth and by lap 50 the rookie was up to second ultimately taking the lead at lap 57 during the first of three stints. Running inside the top-five for the next 20 circuits, Rhodes was forced to make an unscheduled pit stop at lap 79 when he nearly missed a two-truck accident in Turn 2. Bellicourt brought the No. 41 machine to pit road for 4 scuffed tires, fuel and to check for damage. Restarting 22nd, Rhodes was able to work his way up to 11th by lap 107, fifth by lap 128, and remained inside the top-five as the race went into overtime at lap 167. During the first and only attempt at a green-white-checker flag finish, Rhodes, who was running second, made contact with the No. 21 machine, as both drivers were going for the lead, and ultimately went spinning down the track as William Byron took the checkered flag. The ThorSport Racing driver was credited with an 18th-place finish after a strong showing at Kansas Speedway.
"My guys worked extremely hard getting this truck together, and it showed tonight. I know how much work goes into these things, and I feel awful for how everything ended, but we were there and I was going for it. We had a really good Operation BBQ Relief Toyota Tundra tonight. From my perspective, Johnny came down the track to block me on the straightaway, so I was up high, and then he started coming back up, and left the bottom open, which the replay doesn't do it justice from where I was sitting. He started coming back down, blocking again, and at that time I was wanting to check up, but I got on the brakes and it got a little loose on me, so I was just where I was at. I feel bad for Johnny (Sauter) as well. Rookie mistake on my part, I should have known he was going to come down and block me again. He was trying to block me on the high side, and came back down once I moved to the bottom, and I should have just stuck it on the top and run it wide open to see if I could have got a good finish. We really need the points right now. It's just disappointing, we had a shot to win it, and I just wanted to take it because the chase format is so hard to get into, because the competition is so tough. I hate it for my guys though, I'm really disappointed with the finish."