Ben Rhodes survived the rain and three attempts in NASCAR Overtime to score the victory at Daytona International Speedway on Friday night. Rhodes, starting on the pole for the road course event, led 13 circuits en route to his fifth truck series victory. Creed, leading 17 of the 51 laps, finished runner-up in his No. 2 unsponsored truck.
“It’s unbelievable. I don’t have words for it. I don’t even know what to say,” said Rhodes after scoring the win. “This is so cool. I just have to thank my team. The Bombardier Tundra was fast all day. It’s good to be paired up with him and all of the guys on my team. I’m just thrilled. I don’t know what to say. I’ve been on cloud nine all week, so it’s above that. I’m just so happy.”
Rhodes, scoring the 200th win for Toyota, won the season opener for the truck series last Friday on the oval at Daytona. The Kentucky native talked about completing the truck series sweep at the facility.
“We did the sweep. I didn’t know that there was a sweep possible at Daytona, but we did it,” Rhodes continued. “I don’t know what to say. This Bombardier Tundra was fast from the get-go. Starting on the pole, I knew that if we just played it safe, if I gave up the lead – I didn’t care about the laps led, none of that stuff.”
Playing it smart was the strategy going into the event for the No. 99 team.
“We didn’t need an ego, we needed to win the race. We played it smart all day. The rain was so fun. I prayed for the rain before the race and we got it. I just wish it had stayed the whole time because we were making so much hay once I got the handling down on it. I honestly didn’t want it to go dry, but I guess I’m glad that it did because it worked out okay.”
Rhodes will go into the weekend off before returning on March 5th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with 35 top-five and 62 top 10s.
Creed will leave with his 15th top-five and 28th top-10 finish.
“Never fun to be the first loser. Guys brought a fast truck,” said Creed after the race on FS1. “I felt like we were on top of the strategy there going to slicks early. I got hit by the lapper there leading and I don’t think that did us any favors.”
The driver of the No. 2 Chevrolet stalled the truck while saving fuel under a caution period and lost five positions. NASCAR rule states that drivers must maintain pace while under yellow or line back up where they re-establish caution car speed.
“Got to the lead, stalled it saving fuel, and then working my way back to the lead got pushed out of the way on a restart,” Creed later said. “Wished we could’ve stayed green.”
John Hunter Nemechek took home the third spot in his No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra. The team did not have a calm night as the No. 4 Toyota ran out of fuel that put them a lap down.
“Very frustrating day. Had a really fast Tundra and led most of the race,” said Nemechek. “Second stage, we thought we were good on mileage with the wet conditions and how slow we were. Ended up running out of gas. Just a mistake. Honest mistake.”
Nemechek, the winner of stage one, eventually got their lap back and rushed towards the front of the field.
“We win and lose as a team. Fought hard, got our lap back and got back to the front, made some moves and we did some things there on strategy that hurt us, but put us in a good position for that last restart. I just messed up. Go back and study and be better next time.”
Todd Gilliland and Riley Herbst rounded out the top five.
Taking home top 10 finishes were Matt Crafton, Derek Kraus, Kaz Grala, Timmy Hill, and Christian Eckes.
Raphael Lessard won stage two and finished 26th on the leaderboard.
Rhodes survived three NASCAR Overtime attempts as the leader before claiming the victory on the road course at Daytona. The first caution that sent the event into overtime involved Austin Wayne Self and Todd Gilliland in turn 10.
Second yellow in overtime came out just before Rhodes took the white flag involving Jennifer Jo Cobb stalled at the entrance of pit road. That yellow flag took only one lap for track officials to clear.
The Kentucky native finally took the white flag before a caution came out on the final lap involving the No. 44 of Jett Noland on the front stretch. This froze the field, giving Rhodes the victory.
Race ran green for 33 laps while 18 laps were under yellow.
The Camping World Truck Series will return to action in two weeks at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 5th. Coverage of the event will take place at 9:00 p.m. ET. live on FS1 and MRN Radio.