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Saturday May 23rd, 2015 12:17AM

Rhodes seals the deal with NASCAR K&N East win at Greenville Pickens

By NASCAR Media
EASLEY, SC - From his perspective it was a week late, but Ben Rhodes got his first career NASCAR K&N Pro Series East win.

After leading all but the final two laps in his last start on March 15 at Bristol Motor Speedway, the 17-year-old Louisville, KY, native took no chances on Saturday night by leading the final 26 laps en route to a victory in the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150 on Saturday night at Greenville Pickens Speedway in Easley, SC.

It was just the 11th start for the NASCAR Next driver. His previous best finish at the track was sixth, earned in September of last year. Rhodes' best series career finish coming into the night was a pair of third-place efforts.

Ronnie Bassett, Jr. crossed the line behind Rhodes for his first top-five-finish in six series outings. The 18-year-old rookie from Winston-Salem, NC, withstood a late charge from Drive for Diversity driver Daniel Suarez to hold on to second place. He was followed by Cameron Hayley and Jesse Little in third and fourth respectively. Suarez fell back to fifth place, his third top-five finish of the season.

Fellow Drive for Diversity pilot Ryan Gifford finished sixth, followed by rookies Kaz Grala and Brodie Kostecki. Sergio Pena and Eddie MacDonald rounded out the top 10.

With the victory, Rhodes took over the lead in the championship standings by seven points over Suarez and nine better than Gray Gaulding, also a NASCAR Next driver.

NASCAR Next is an industry initiative that spotlights young, talented drivers, who could shape the future of the sport.

The Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150 will be telecast by FOX Sports 1 on Friday, March 28 at 11 AM ET.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East is back on the track on April 25 for Blue Ox 100 at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, VA.

NASCAR K&N Pro Series East
Greenville Pickens Speedway - Easley, SC
Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150 - March 22, 2014

Fin Str Car Driver Team Laps Points B/Points Status
1 1 41 Ben Rhodes * Alpha Energy Solutions Chevrolet 150 48 5 Running
2 11 04 Ronnie Bassett, Jr. * Butler Trailer Mfg. Toyota 150 42 Running
3 2 98 Cameron Hayley Cabinets by Hayley Chevrolet 150 42 1 Running
4 3 97 Jesse Little Mac's Speed Shop/NTI Chevrolet 150 40 Running
5 15 6 Daniel Suarez Toyota Racing Development Toyota 150 39 Running
6 10 2 Ryan Gifford Sunoco Racing Fuel Toyota 150 38 Running
7 6 31 Kaz Grala * OzLINK Chevrolet 150 38 1 Running
8 8 43 Brodie Kostecki * Arcoplate Toyota 150 36 Running
9 21 4 Sergio Pena UTI/NASCAR Technical Institute Toyota 150 35 Running
10 20 71 Eddie MacDonald Grimm Const./National MS Society Chevrolet 150 34 Running
11 14 20 Gray Gaulding Krispy Kreme Chevrolet 150 33 Running
12 13 96 Kenzie Ruston Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet Chevrolet 150 32 Running
13 16 24 Brennan Newberry Qore24 Chevrolet 150 31 Running
14 24 07 Clint King * King Oil Products/Warehouse Design Chevrolet 150 30 Running
15 23 54 Zach Bruenger * No Talent Motorsports/Cutting Edge Chevrolet 150 29 Running
16 22 15 Nick Drake * NAPA Auto Parts Toyota 150 28 Running
17 9 34 Scott Heckert Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet 150 27 Running
18 7 11 Lee Pulliam * NTI/JTB Toyota 150 26 Running
19 25 42 Jay Beasley * Toyota Racing Development Toyota 150 25 Running
20 12 1 David Garbo, Jr. * Big Machine Records/Garbo Lobster Toyota 149 24 Running
21 17 21 Mackena Bell Special Smiles Pediatric Dentistry Toyota 149 23 Running
22 4 22 Austin Hill * A&D Welding/Don-Rich Ford Ford 149 22 Running
23 18 33 Brandon Jones Wolfpack Energy Services Chevrolet 148 21 Running
24 5 45 Josh Berry * Speedco Ford 146 20 Running
25 26 55 Jerry Dawson * EXIT Realty Toyota 118 19 Handling
26 19 18 Sam Hunt Drive Technology Toyota 56 18 Carburetor

RACE STATISTICS

Fastest Qualifier: Ben Rhodes * Time: 20.684 Seconds Speed: 87.024 mph

Time of Race: 1 hrs., 17 mins, 6 secs Average Speed: 58.366 mph Margin of Victory: .779 Seconds

Caution Flags: Laps 36-39 (# 55 Spin Turn 2 - No FP); 62-66 (#21 & #54 Turn 1 & 2 - FP #55); 76-77 (Break - FP #54); 111-113 (#96 Turn 4 - FP #21); 133-136 (#22 & #45 Turn 3 - FP #33); 138-143 (#33, #45, #21, #15, #42, #11, #34 Backstretch - No FP). 6 for 24 laps.

Lap Leaders: Ben Rhodes * 1-80, Cameron Hayley 81-84, Kaz Grala * 85-99, Cameron Hayley 100-124, Ben Rhodes * 125-150.

Total Laps Led: Ben Rhodes * 106, Cameron Hayley 29, Kaz Grala * 15. 4 changes involving 3 drivers.

Top 10 Driver Points: Ben Rhodes * 160, Daniel Suarez 153, Gray Gaulding 151, Cameron Hayley 142, Eddie MacDonald 133, Kenzie Ruston 131, Kaz Grala * 130, Jesse Little 129, Brennan Newberry 124, Austin Hill * 120

Next Race: Richmond, April 25, 2014

* Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender
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