Ben Rhodes Race Recap:
Ben Rhodes, driver of the No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions Toyota Tundra, made his track debut at Kentucky Speedway in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 on Thursday night. Starting ninth, Rhodes ran as high as fifth, but maintained a position inside the top-12 throughout the 150-lap event, and finished 13th.
Starting ninth, Rhodes complained of a tight Toyota Tundra in the opening laps of the 19th annual NCWTS event, but maintained his position through the first round of pit stops at lap 27. In an effort to keep track position, crew chief Kevin Bellicourt made the call for two tires, and fuel. With a wide range of strategies on pit road, Rhodes was able to restart from the sixth position at lap 35, and maintained a position inside the top-10 until coming down pit road at lap 58 for four tires, and fuel. A lengthy pit stop, due to a problem with the tear-off, cost Rhodes valuable track position, and the rookie driver was forced to restart 21st at lap 64. Fighting a loose Toyota Tundra throughout the second-half of the event, the Louisville, KY native was running lap times comparable to the leaders, and secured a spot inside the top-15 by lap 80. When the caution clock expired at lap 105, Bellicourt brought the No. 41 machine to pit road for the third, and final stop of the night, for four tires and fuel. Restarting 17th, the Alpha Energy Solutions driver was able to gain four positions on-track to finish 13th behind race winner, William Byron.
What does it mean to get a solid run in your home state?
"We had a really good No. 41 Alpha Energy Energy Solutions Toyota Tundra. It just proved that track position was key tonight with the racing groove, and really fast race conditions. We had a bad stop there at the end, when a tear off wouldn't come off the windshield, and we got stuck in the back. For us, track conditions got looser and looser, and I just couldn't pass any trucks. Daniel Suarez led a lot of laps tonight, and he only finished two spots ahead of us. That shows you how tough it is to get around here. I'm sure it will get easier as the years go on, it's just the first race is tricky."