By: Mitchell Breuer
LAS VEGAS, NEV – Most of the time when you are the highest finishing playoff driver, it usually means you have won the race. However, this was not the case Ben Rhodes in Friday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Rhodes came just short of victory lane, finishing second to his ThorSport Racing teammate, Christian Eckes.
“We came close, if we had that one corner before the caution came out, we needed that last corner, and we might have been able to challenge Christian but, super happy for him and his team,” Rhodes told News From The Pits. “They work so hard with Christian running a part-time schedule at ThorSport, it is really good to see, it could not happen to a better guy. Happy for him, happy for ThorSport, 1-2-3-4, I do not think that has been done before. Shoot, just to turn it around from Bristol, where we made it in barely, to now taking the points lead, that is the playoff format, and it is working for me.”
Heading into the day, Rhodes was already in decent shape points-wise, 16 points above the cutoff. However, his quiet day that saw him finish fourth in Stage 1 and second in Stage 2 could prove to be huge, especially with five of the eight remaining playoff drivers having problems of their own.
The 24-year-old now finds himself with a 34-point cushion heading into the final two races of the round.
“I mean it is huge going to Talladega next weekend. I mean, you need all the barrier you can get,” Rhodes said. “I love Talladega, but it is such a wild card. You do not know what is going to happen, and for that matter, you do not know what is going to happen at Martinsville.”
While the upcoming wild card races could seem intimidating, the cushion Rhodes has developed allows him to look at the upcoming events with optimism.
“Daytona worked out fine for me; first race with the crew chief, first race with the spotter, and we have had a whole season to get better,” Rhodes said. “Talladega has never really done any good for me in the past but I mean, if we can just finish in the top-10 in both stages and just be easy with it, we will maintain points and go into Martinsville and we are always really good there.”