By: Ashley McCubbin
When the 2020 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season came to a close, Christian Eckes and Ben Rhodes were at odds with each other over an incident that took place at Texas Motor Speedway. Flash forward four months, and the pair are now teammates at ThorSport Racing.
With three laps remaining at Texas Motor Speedway, Rhodes hooked Eckes coming off turn four, resulting in the No. 18 Toyota Tundra making significant contact with the frontstretch wall. A show of displeasure would follow with a double finger salute.
Initially following their incident last year, Rhodes reached out to Eckes in hopes of speaking about what happened, and finally got a response recently.
“So I texted him the other day; I finally responded to his text that he sent me four months ago,” Christian Eckes told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “We’ll go get dinner or something and smooth it over, but at the end of the day; that was in 2020 and a rough deal – but whatever, team first.”
In an media availability featuring all five drivers for ThorSport Racing this year, it was Matt Crafton which then suggested the pair should soothe over their differences by having milk and cookies together. Rhodes agreed with the elder teammate’s suggestion, saying they “can go to one of the best restaurants in town and you can be the judge.”
Rhodes is no stranger to have run-ins with drivers on-track and then becoming their teammate afterwards. He recalled the feud he shared with Johnny Sauter through 2016 and 2017, as the pair traded incidents and comments back and forth. Sauter called Rhodes a bozo and brain dead in 2016, followed by saying he was acting like a chihuahua, “always nipping at your heels” a year later.
“I need to have a run-in with someone that I really, really like this year so they can become my teammate,” Rhodes joked. “I get into a run-in with Johnny Sauter for two years in a row at Canada and then he becomes my teammate, and then obviously Christian and I had a run-in last year and he’s now my teammate. But I’m proud to say that Johnny and I started off on a rough path and I would now consider him one of my better friends at the track and hopefully that can be the same with Christian and I.
“No offense Matt, Grant (Enfinger) and Johnny, but I really don’t have anybody that’s my age as a teammate so it’ll be nice to have someone that’s closer to my age that I can relate to a little better.”