HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Ben Rhodes proved that though his championship chase ended a week early in Phoenix, he still has all the speed to contend at the front by winning the second stage of Friday’s Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Rhodes led all but one green-flag lap in the stage, powering to the front on the only restart of the stage and never looking back en route to his third NASCAR Camping World Truck Series stage win of the season.
“Man, we’ve got a super-fast truck and I think we can win this thing, but clean air is so important to manage your tires here,” said Rhodes. “I need to get back up front here and hit my rhythm and we’ll be okay. I was trying to run the Kyle Larson line and I was watching a lot of his in-car footage … and so far it’s paying off.”
After winning the race off pit road, polesitter Chase Briscoe led the field back to green to start the second stage on lap 48, while his teammate Austin Cindric worked past Christopher Bell for the provisional points lead behind him.
However, Rhodes went three-wide off turn two on the extreme bottom lane of the track, just missing the top spot at the start-finish line but completing the pass going into turn one and leading outright on the 49th rotation.
Cindric settled into second as Bell chased him lap after lap, but the Kyle Busch Motorsports sophomore finally got through at the halfway point of the stage, taking second position but finding himself 2.6 seconds behind Rhodes for the race lead at that juncture.
Briscoe later got past his Brad Keselowski Racing teammate for third on-track, but up front it was Rhodes pulling away to a dominant stage victory by 4.446 seconds at the green-checkered flag.
Bell hung on for second at the stage break, followed by Briscoe, Ryan Truex and championship contender Johnny Sauter.
Cindric faded to sixth at the end of the run, with Timothy Peters, Matt Crafton, Noah Gragson, and Justin Haley completing the points-scoring drivers in the top-10.
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network, as well as a periodic contributor to SPEED SPORT Magazine.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 23-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
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