Ben Rhodes Wins Kentucky for First Win for the Driver and Ford in 2018

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SPARTA, KY – RIS – Ben Rhodes took on only fuel in final pit stop and that gave him the winning edge in Thursday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.  Rhodes, who grew up in nearby Louisville, held off Stewart Friesen to win at his home track, Kentucky Speedway.

Rhodes had one of the strongest trucks in the 150-lap race (he won the opening stage) but was aided by fuel-only pit stop with 25 laps to go. The other leaders took two tires.

The victory was the second of Rhodes’ career. His other win came Sept. 2017 at Las Vegas.

It is Rhodes’ first win of the season and earns him a spot in the playoffs. It was also the first win for Ford this season in the truck series.  That was notable because Ford’s largest truck plant is located in Rhodes’ home town.

This has been such a long time coming and these guys deserve it so much,” Rhodes said. “They’ve been working their butts off.

“We’ve had a touch of bad luck this year,” Rhodes said. “Everybody was feeling good about it tonight. We’ve had trucks like this all year long and we’re finally able to showcase it. This is exactly what we needed.”

Friesen, who started at the rear because of an engine change before the race, finished second. Matt Crafton was third and followed by Brandon Jones and John Hunter Nemechek.

Runner-up Stewart Friesen said, “I lost time to the 41 coming on to pit road when making our final pit stop final pit stop.”

 After that, Friesen struggled with his truck’s handling the closer he got to Rhodes before fading in the final laps.

Four-time winner Johnny Sauter had a frustrating evening. He was penalized for speeding on pit road and then for a commitment line violation while serving the speeding penalty. He wound up 15th, two laps off the lead.

Rhodes and Noah Gragson won the first two stages of the night.

Crafton started 30th (after nearly crashing in qualifying) and finished third for his best result since placing second at Dover in May.  It was a good night for ThorSport Racing, who switched from Toyota trucks to Ford trucks at the beginning of the season.

Next for the Craftsman Truck Series at the trucks return to action for the only dirt race on the schedule at Eldora Speedway next Wednesday night, July 18.

Fin, Str, Driver, Truck, Laps, St1, St2, Tms Led, Laps Led, Playoff Pts, Pts, Status
1) 3, Ben Rhodes, No. 41 The Carolina Nut Co. Ford, 150, 1, 3, 4, 38, 6, 58, Running
2) 14, Stewart Friesen, No. 52 We Build America Chevrolet, 150, 7, 4, 2, 37, , 46, Running
3) 30, Matt Crafton, No. 88 Great Lakes/Menards Ford, 150, 6, 9, , , , 41, Running
4) 6, Brandon Jones(i), No. 51 SoleusAir/Menards Toyota, 150, 4, 2, , , , 0, Running
5) 17, John Hunter Nemechek(i), No. 8 D.A.B. Constructors/Fleetwing Chevrolet, 150, , 8, , , , 0, Running
6) 5, Grant Enfinger, No. 98 Curb Records Ford, 150, 5, 5, , , , 43, Running
7) 2, Todd Gilliland #, No. 4 Mobil 1 Toyota, 150, 3, 6, 1, 1, , 43, Running
8) 1, Noah Gragson, No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Toyota, 150, 2, 1, 3, 62, 1, 48, Running
9) 9, Dalton Sargeant #, No. 25 Performance Plus Motor Oil Chevrolet, 150, 10, , , , , 29, Running
10) 10, Justin Haley, No. 24 Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevrolet, 150, , 7, , , , 31, Running
11) 4, Chris Eggleston, No. 17 BlazeMaster Fire Protection Systems Toyota, 149, , , , , , 26, Running
12) 11, Cody Coughlin, No. 2 JEGS.com Chevrolet, 149, , , , , , 25, Running
13) 15, Korbin Forrister, No. 7 Now Matters More Toyota, 149, , , , , , 24, Running
14) 18, Austin Self, No. 22 GO TEXAN Chevrolet, 149, , , , , , 23, Running
15) 7, Johnny Sauter, No. 21 ISM Connect Chevrolet, 148, 9, 10, , , , 25, Running
16) 12, Austin Hill, No. 02 Whitetail Heaven Outfitters Chevrolet, 148, , , , , , 21, Running
17) 19, Justin Fontaine #, No. 45 ProMATIC Automation/Superior Essex Chevrolet, 148, , , , , , 20, Running
18) 13, Brett Moffitt, No. 16 ADVICS/AISIN Group Toyota, 148, , , , , , 19, Running
19) 20, Jordan Anderson, No. 3 Bommarito Automotive Group Chevrolet, 146, , , , , , 18, Running
20) 22, Bo LeMastus #, No. 54 Crosley Brands/DGR-Crosley Toyota, 146, , , , , , 17, Running
21) 21, Clay Greenfield, No. 68 AMVETS Please Stand Chevrolet, 145, , , , , , 16, Running
22) 23, Robby Lyons, No. 15 Sunwest Construction Chevrolet, 143, , , , , , 15, Running
23) 26, Josh Reaume, No. 33 Colonial Countertops Chevrolet, 143, , , , , , 14, Running
24) 28, Wendell Chavous, No. 49 SobrietyNation.org Chevrolet, 139, , , , , , 13, Running
25) 31, Norm Benning, No. 6 Zomongo/H&H Transport Chevrolet, 138, , , , , , 12, Running
26) 32, Myatt Snider #, No. 13 FarmPaint.com Ford, 137, , , , , , 11, Running
27) 8, Parker Kligerman, No. 75 Food Country USA Chevrolet, 133, 8, , 2, 12, , 13, Accident
28) 16, Tate Fogleman, No. 20 Randco Chevrolet, 103, , , , , , 9, Suspension
29) 29, Jennifer Jo Cobb, No. 10 Driven2Honor Chevrolet, 28, , , , , , 8, Overheating
30) 27, Bayley Currey, No. 63 MB Motorsports Chevrolet, 22, , , , , , 7, Vibration
31) 25, Camden Murphy, No. 0 Driven2Honor Chevrolet, 11, , , , , , 6, Electrical
32) 24, Tyler Matthews, No. 83 Accent Imaging Chevrolet, 1, , , , , , 5, Accident
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series

Total Race Length - 150 Laps - 225 Miles, 1.5 Mile Paved
Time of Race: 01 Hrs, 32 Mins, 00 Secs.
Average Speed: 146.739 MPH
Margin of Victory: 0.922 Seconds
Race Comments: Ben Rhodes won the Buckle Up in Your Truck 225 at Kentucky Speedway, his second victory in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Prior to the start of the race, the following trucks dropped to the rear of the field under penalty for the reasons indicated: No. 8 (unapproved adjustments), No. 13 (backup truck) and No. 52 (engine change).
Failed to Qualify: (2) 87 Joe Nemechek, 50 Timmy Hill(i).
Caution Flags: 3 for 14 laps: 
Laps: 2-4 (No. 8 and 83 Incident in Turn 2 [None])
37-42 (Stage 1 Conclusion [54])
72-76 (Stage 2 Conclusion [45]).
Lead Changes: 11 among 5 drivers:
N. Gragson 1-26
B. Rhodes 27
N. Gragson 28-32
B. Rhodes 33-42
N. Gragson 43-73
P. Kligerman 74-83
S. Friesen 84-85
P. Kligerman 86-87
S. Friesen 88-122
B. Rhodes 123-125
T. Gilliland # 126
B. Rhodes 127-150.
Duralast GT Brakes ‘Brake in the Race Award’ - Stage 1: Ben Rhodes, No. 41 Stage 1
Duralast GT Brakes ‘Brake in the Race Award’ - Stage 2: Noah Gragson, No. 18 Stage 2
Mahle Clevite Engine Builder of the Race: Joe Gibbs Racing Engines (JGE), No. 18
Mobil 1 Driver of the Race: Ben Rhodes, No. 41
Sunoco Rookie of the Race: Todd Gilliland, No. 4

Ron Fleshman

RIS NASCAR Editor.  Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.

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Volume 2018, Issue 6, Posted 10:24 PM, 07.12.2018