Ben Rhodes - 2016 Pocono Recap
Ben Rhodes, driver of the No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions Toyota Tundra, made his track debut in Saturday's Pocono Mountains 150 at Pocono Raceway. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year started third, when qualifying was cancelled due to rain, and the field was set based on the rule book, ran as high as second, and finished 11th.
Starting third, Rhodes maintained a position inside the top-five, running as high as second through the first 20 laps of the 60-lap event. Complaining of a, "tight Toyota Tundra, that wouldn't turn," crew chief Kevin Bellicourt brought the No. 41 machine to pit road at lap 25 for four tires, fuel, and a chassis adjustment, and twice under the ensuing caution for fuel only. Restarting 16th at lap 31, Rhodes maintained a position inside the top-15, until getting caught-up in a lap 40 accident involving the 66 truck in Turn 1 at lap 40. With damage to the left rear of his Toyota Tundra, Bellicourt brought Rhodes to pit road multiple times under caution for repairs. Restarting 24th, when the field went back to green at lap 42, Rhodes was able to gain valuable track position in the final 18 laps, and crossed the stripe in the 11th position behind race winner, William Byron.
"We started out really strong. Ended up getting back to about fifth or sixth at one point, and worked our way back up to second. We had a really strong truck, we were pulling the guys behind us. The 9 truck in front us, he was pulling us a little bit, but I think we had something for him on the restarts. Had a great restart next to him and we were able to stay strong. I learned some stuff there, but unfortunately I was never able to implement it on the restarts with him. Came down for a pit stop, and got an over the wall penalty. The jackman was over the wall too soon. Unfortunately, we got collected in a guy's mess going into Turn 1 today."
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