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At just 25 years old, Ben Rhodes has previously reached the peak of the NASCAR Tenting Planet Truck Collection.
Past 12 months, he concluded best amid the Championship 4 drivers, earning his initial Truck Sequence title in spite of not profitable the year finale at Phoenix Raceway. Even even though he has a championship on his resume, Rhodes explained he’s established to gain this year’s regular-year title.
“It’s weighed on me since Daytona,” Rhodes claimed Wednesday in a Zoom teleconference. “I’ve believed of nothing else other than that frequent-period championship. I want the trophy at the conclude of the year but what matters to me are these 15 playoff factors. Which is 3 race wins.”
Relevant: 2022 Truck Series standings
Rhodes took an unorthodox route to final year’s Truck championship with his only wins that season coming through the to start with two races at the Daytona Intercontinental Superspeedway oval and road-class layouts.
In spite of finishing 2nd in the 2021 normal-year standings, Rhodes mentioned he was let down not staying at the leading of the board getting into the playoffs.
“It’s a shame that we led for so lengthy final 12 months and gave up the lead right right before the frequent-time championship,” Rhodes explained. “I don’t want a repeat of that. I want to capitalize on this chance suitable now.”
Whilst wins haven’t arrive at a large charge around the previous two years, Rhodes has managed to be steady dating back again to 2021’s opener at Daytona.
On his way to the 2021 Truck Series title, Rhodes racked up 16 prime-10 finishes in the 22-race year and under no circumstances sustained a DNF. He also concluded on the lead lap in all but a few races — Atlanta Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and Darlington Raceway. The craze has continued and this season has performed out in a similar manner for Rhodes, scoring a major 10 in eight of 12 races and finishing on the guide lap at each race apart from for Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Darlington.
Rhodes now sits atop the normal-year standings heading into Knoxville Raceway this weekend. He is in a white-knuckle fight with Chandler Smith, Zane Smith and John Hunter Nemechek, with the 4 separated by just 14 factors.
“People question all the time ‘is this the closest you think the Truck Collection area has ever been,’ and I do,” Rhodes said. “The final 7 yrs I’ve been undertaking it, I come to feel like this is the hardest and closest. You just have to obtain a way to navigate it and set out your period with an ‘X’ volume of races to finish and an ‘X’ total you’re going to established aside for becoming wrecked.”
More: Truck Collection timetable for Knoxville
But not too long ago, Rhodes has hit a roller-coaster stretch in excess of the previous six races, accumulating three top 10s and a few finishes outside the house the best 15.
Heading towards the common-year finale at Pocono Raceway, the sequence travels to – what could be – wild-card weekends with just the second once-a-year function at Knoxville and a trip to Nashville Superspeedway after the 1.33-mile oval returned to the circuit very last time. And two weeks right before the typical-time finale at Pocono, the Truck Series will make its debut at the Mid-Ohio Sporting activities Course.
Rhodes has located accomplishment on highway programs in his previous five starts as he holds an common end of 9.6. This consists of a get at the Daytona Road Program, two leading 10s at Circuit of The Americas and an 18th-location consequence past Saturday at Sonoma Raceway.
Whilst Rhodes reported he desires to gain as several races as feasible, he also wishes to perform it good with the tracks coming up.
“Unfortunately, the previous couple of races we’ve been supplying up some points,” Rhodes reported. “I know we are likely to Knoxville and that the racing is heading to be pretty chaotic, so I’m geared up to be as elbows-up as I have to.”
With a regular-season championship in arrive at, Rhodes seeks to start the postseason with a significant edge relatively than having to fight his way to the prime on the street to Phoenix.
“I’m heading to do every little thing I can to keep on to the typical-season title,” Rhodes said. “It would be a large kick in the shorts to lose it so near to the finish.”