Friday March 5th, 2021 11:17AM

Last lap pass gives Rhodes NASCAR Truck Daytona win

By Brandon Reed Reporter
  Contact Editor

With the checkered flag in sight in Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway, Ben Rhodes had Cory Roper’s truck between him and victory lane.

Swinging wide as the leaders entered the tri-oval for the final time, Rhodes got the run on the outside of the leader, bypassing him just seconds before crossing the finish line to grab the win in the NextEra Energy 250.

It’s the third career series victory for the 23-year-old Louisville, Kentucky native, but his first on Daytona’s 2.5-mile layout.

The win comes as his team, ThorSport Racing, moved back to Toyota this season after spending several years fielding trucks for Ford for the previous four seasons.

“I’ve got to give such a big thank you to my team. This is so special. Biggest win of my career. I can’t even believe this,” said Rhodes. “As a driver, you are always asked about what your biggest accomplishment is. This is it. This is hands down it. This is the place to be. I can’t even believe it. We’ve got Bombardier on the truck. We came back to Toyota and we won in our first race with them back with ThorSport. I can’t thank Duke and Rhonda Thorson (team owners) enough for this opportunity. This is special.”

With a late caution setting up an overtime finish, Rhodes took the lead on the final restart, only to find himself overhauled by Sheldon Creed and Roper as the field came to the white flag.

Roper then used his momentum to power around Creed with Rhodes and Matt Crafton in pursuit. As the leaders powered down the backstretch, Rhodes backed up to try to get a run on the leader. Meanwhile, Crafton came under fire from behind, separating him from his ThorSports teammate.

That set up Rhodes run on Roper coming to the checkered flag.

“You can dream about this,” Rhodes said. “I’ve dreamed about this I can’t tell you how long. I’ve dreamed about this since I was seven years old. Nothing describes the feeling. I’ve had very few days like this in my life to have this much elation. My marriage day, a couple other wins, the K&N championship, but this is right up there with all of them. This is Daytona. You don’t even need to explain that. This is Daytona. I’m going to enjoy every second of it.”

Behind the leaders, a multi-car crash broke out coming to the checkered flag. It was triggered when the field stacked up five wide, jockeying for position and ran out of room. Among the trucks gathered up were Crafton, Grant Enfinger, Drew Dollar, Spencer Boyd, and Kris Wright, among others.

It marked the second multi-truck crash of the night, with the first being the one that set up the overtime finish.

With seven laps to go, Talking Rock, Georgia’s Chandler Smith and Grant Enfinger were battling for the lead. The two made contact coming off of turn four, but were able to keep going.

As the field sailed into turn one, Chandler’s truck suddenly spun, but he was able to straighten it out.

Ahead of him, contact between Timothy Peters and Drew Dollar made contact when Peters moved down the track coming off turn two. That sent Peters’ truck back up into the pack, gathering up several other trucks in the melee, including John Hunter Nemechek, Tyler Ankrum, Austin Hill, Johnny Sauter, Raphael Lessard and Carson Hocevar.

Of the 36 starters on the night, all but six were involved in an incident of one type or another.

Jordan Anderson finished in second, with Roper in third, Ryan Truex in fourth and Hocevar in fifth.

Creed, Nemechek, Codie Rohrbaugh, Smith, and Dollar rounded out the top 10.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Daytona International Speedway – Daytona Beach, FL
NextEra Energy 250- February 12, 2021

1. (23) Ben Rhodes, Toyota, 101.
2. (20) Jordan Anderson(i), Chevrolet, 101.
3. (31) Cory Roper, Ford, 101.
4. (25) Ryan Truex, Chevrolet, 101.
5. (12) Carson Hocevar #, Chevrolet, 101.
6. (2) Sheldon Creed, Chevrolet, 101.
7. (7) John Hunter Nemechek, Toyota, 101.
8. (26) Codie Rohrbaugh, Chevrolet, 101.
9. (6) Chandler Smith #, Toyota, 101.
10. (17) Drew Dollar, Toyota, 101.
11. (3) Grant Enfinger, Toyota, 101.
12. (27) Kris Wright #, Chevrolet, 101.
13. (24) Spencer Boyd, Chevrolet, 101.
14. (13) David Gilliland, Ford, 101.
15. (14) Matt Crafton, Toyota, 101.
16. (8) Zane Smith, Chevrolet, 101.
17. (32) Danny Bohn, Toyota, 101.
18. (16) Jennifer Jo Cobb, Chevrolet, 101.
19. (28) Bryan Dauzat, Chevrolet, 101.
20. (35) Jason White, Chevrolet, 101.
21. (19) Austin Wayne Self, Chevrolet, 100.
22. (18) Austin Hill, Toyota, 99.
23. (5) Raphael Lessard, Chevrolet, 99.
24. (9) Hailie Deegan #, Ford, 98.
25. (15) Brett Moffitt, Chevrolet, 96.
26. (10) Timothy Peters, Chevrolet, DVP, 95.
27. (1) Johnny Sauter, Toyota, DVP, 94.
28. (11) Tyler Ankrum, Chevrolet, Accident, 94.
29. (4) Chase Purdy #, Chevrolet, Electrical, 91.
30. (30) Tate Fogleman, Chevrolet, DVP, 73.
31. (21) Todd Gilliland, Ford, Accident, 71.
32. (29) Stewart Friesen, Toyota, Accident, 71.
33. (33) Derek Kraus, Toyota, DVP, 56.
34. (34) Gus Dean, Chevrolet, Accident, 1.
35. (22) Tanner Gray, Ford, Drivetrain, 0.
36. (36) James Buescher, Chevrolet, Accident, 0.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 107.791 mph.

Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 20 Mins, 33 Secs. Margin of Victory: .036 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 10 for 43 laps.

Lead Changes: 31 among 12 drivers.

Lap Leaders: J. Sauter 1-12;R. Lessard 13-23;G. Enfinger 24-26;J. Nemechek 27;R. Lessard 28;J. Nemechek 29-38;B. Rhodes 39;J. Nemechek 40-42;G. Enfinger 43-46;T. Ankrum 47-48;D. Gilliland 49;T. Ankrum 50;D. Gilliland 51-52;T. Ankrum 53-55;D. Gilliland 56-57;G. Enfinger 58;D. Gilliland 59-61;B. Moffitt 62;B. Dauzat 63-64;C. Smith # 65-78;G. Enfinger 79-80;C. Smith # 81-85;T. Peters 86;B. Rhodes 87;T. Peters 88;B. Rhodes 89;T. Peters 90;C. Smith # 91-93;G. Enfinger 94-96;B. Rhodes 97-99;S. Creed 100;B. Rhodes 101.

Leaders Summary: (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led) Chandler Smith # 3 times for 22 laps; John Hunter Nemechek 3 times for 14 laps; Grant Enfinger 5 times for 13 laps; Johnny Sauter 1 time for 12 laps; Raphael Lessard 2 times for 12 laps; David Gilliland 4 times for 8 laps; Ben Rhodes 5 times for 7 laps; Tyler Ankrum 3 times for 6 laps; Timothy Peters 3 times for 3 laps; Bryan Dauzat 1 time for 2 laps; Sheldon Creed 1 time for 1 lap; Brett Moffitt 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 24,2,98,4,13,99,18,17,52,25

Stage #2 Top Ten: 4,24,13,2,99,18,16,25,98,26

Top 10 in Points: 1. Ben Rhodes – 51 (1 Win); 2. Sheldon Creed – 47; 3. John Hunter Nemechek – 47; 4. Chandler Smith – 37; 5. Grant Enfinger – 36; 6. Cory Roper – 34; 7. Ryan Truex – 33; 8. Raphael Lessard – 33; 9. Carson Hocevar – 32; 10. Codie Rohrbaugh – 29.

  • Associated Categories: Sports, NASCAR News, Other Motorsports, SpeedWeeks
  • Associated Tags: nascar, motorsports, Auto Racing, Camping World Trucks, Stock Car, Asphalt, daytona, Gander Outdoor Truck Series
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