Ben Rhodes - 2016 Gateway Recap
Ben Rhodes, driver of the No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions Toyota Tundra, made his track debut in Saturday night's rain-delayed NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Drivin' for Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park (GMP). The Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender showed speed throughout both practice sessions on Saturday morning, posting the fastest times of 32 trucks in both sessions. Therefore, when qualifying was cancelled due to rain on Saturday, afternoon, Rhodes took the pole position based on the NASCAR rule book - a combination of both practice speeds.
Starting from the front row, Rhodes lost the lead to the No. 21 truck early, but maintained a second-place position through the second caution at lap 26, when crew chief Kevin Bellicourt brought the No. 41 machine to pit road for four tires, and fuel. With a mix of two-tire, and fuel only strategies on pit road, Rhodes would restart from the 14th position when the field went back to green on lap 30.
Complaining of a "tight" Toyota Tundra, the ThorSport Racing driver was able to work his way back into the top-five by lap 100, making pit stops at laps 66, and 114, respectively, for four tires and fuel. In the final 40 laps, the field was slowed four times for 16 laps, which included three red flag conditions. Rhodes was able to maintain his position inside the top-five, and made a race-changing pass, on a restart at lap 149, to lead the field for four laps before settling in to the second position at lap 153. Rhodes would maintain his position through the final restart at lap 158 to claim a career-best second-place finish behind race winner, Christopher Bell.
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