Ben Rhodes Frustrated, Disappointed Following Tough Loss in Kansas

Credit: Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images

By Summer Bedgood, Managing Editor

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Ben Rhodes was set to win his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, beating one of the most dominant drivers — Kyle Busch — in the process.

Instead, Rhodes was once again heartbroken as another loss slipped through his fingers with just eight laps remaining in the Toyota Tundra 250 in Kansas Speedway. A lone piece of debris was all it took for Rhodes to fall from first to 23rd in the running order.

“It was actually a dream come true because last year we struggled so much with the fire and getting good equipment,” Rhodes said in a post-race interview with FOX Sports. “Now we’re finally being able to rebuild and have consistent equipment and we know what we’ve got. We went to a test last week and we got better than everybody else because we worked so hard.”

ThorSport Racing suffered a devastating fire last year that destroyed their shop and much of their equipment.

Still, Rhodes admitted that he has lots of admiration for eventual race winner Kyle Busch and enjoyed the opportunity to race with and learn from him.

“It was just really cool to run with him because I’ve looked up to him my whole life and it’s pretty neat that I was able to learn from him because, like I said, he’s got more wins in XFINITY and Trucks than I’ve got total stock car starts,” Rhodes continued. “It’s just crazy that I was able to learn from such a guy. He played all these games out there all night long and I finally was starting to pick up on them because I had choked on them several times last year. Now I was able to put a couple of games to him. I guess if there were any positives, that was it. That I learned. But we’ve been working at this for so long. We just can’t get a win.”

Rhodes led 25 of the 167 laps and earned 26 points on the day. Friday night at Kansas Speedway was Rhodes’ 31st career NCWTS start. The 20-year-old has come close on multiple occasions but just hasn’t quite been able to close the deal.

For his part, Busch was impressed with Rhodes’ performance and admitted that he lucked into this win.

“You know this was a great win for us, but really it’s a terrible loss for Ben Rhodes,” said Busch. “He had this race won. I was trying everything I could to catch him and run him back down. I could gain a little bit on him and then I’d lose a little bit on him and just kind of went back and forth a little bit. That’s a Rowdy Manufacturing chassis and a KBM body on the 27 (Ben Rhodes) truck so we knew it was going to be tough to beat and it was fast and he was one of the guys we had to race with all night long. He did a phenomenal job. It’s a tough one to lose that way, I know, because I’ve lost them that way as well. But for him to be racing against us and to be doing an awesome job, man, he raced me clean. He did a great job. He got by me. No issues there with lapped traffic and stuff like that. He did a really good race, so it was fun. It’s cool to see young guys like that have great opportunities and to be fast and to make the most of it. It was a battle there, but this Cessna Tundra prevailed and we got to victory lane ourselves. Great job by (crew chief) Bono Manion, everyone on this No. 51 team.”

After four races, Rhodes is seventh in points, 60 points behind leader Johnny Sauter.

The series heads to Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday, May 19th, for the N.C. Education Lottery 200. The race will air at 8:30PM ET on FS1.

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