ThorSport Racing announced today that 19-year-old Louisville, KY native, Ben Rhodes, will return to the Sandusky, Ohio-based team for the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season. Rhodes, who competed in the series during his rookie campaign in 2016, will pilot the No. 27 Toyota Tundra as he makes a bid for the series championship in 2017.
"This is an amazing opportunity to be partnered with Toyota and ThorSport Racing again for the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season," said Ben Rhodes, driver of the No. 27 Toyota Tundra. "The 2016 season had a lot of ups and downs, but we have put all that in the rearview mirror, and we're focused on the year ahead. We have a new team, a new number, and great support from Toyota. With the NASCAR changes to the race and point structure, the No. 27 team will be up front contending for segment wins and race victories to get us into the playoffs and contend for the championship."
Rhodes, the 2014 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Champion, Rookie of the Year, and Most Popular Driver, joined ThorSport Racing and the NCWTS in 2016, following a part-time, 10 race schedule in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2015. In his first full-time season in the series, Rhodes earned his series first 21 Means 21 Pole Award at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (April) and led 55 laps en route to two top-five and five top-10 finishes, finishing 14th in the series championship point standings.
Alpha Energy Solutions, a commercial and industrial mechanical self-performing service provider, will continue their support of Rhodes in his sophomore campaign in 2017. The Louisville, Ky. based company will adorn the No. 27 Tundra at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta (July), and Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (August). Additional sponsorship for the No. 27 Toyota Tundra will be announced at a later date.
Rhodes' 2017 campaign will be led by crew chief Eddie Troconis. Troconis, who called the shots for Cameron Hayley in 2016 at ThorSport Racing, enters his second full-time season in the series atop the pit box. In his first full-time season, the Mexico native was credited with six top-five and 11 top-10 finishes.
The 2017 NCWTS season kicks off with the season-opening NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway on Friday, Feb. 24. All the action will be televised live on FOX Sports 1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR channel 90 at 7:30pm ET.