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NASCAR Truck: Ben Rhodes kicks off 2021 with Daytona win


Ben Rhodes ushered in the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season and marked ThorSport Racing’s return to Toyota with a win in the NextEra Energy 250 season-opener at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway on Friday night.

“I’m going to soak it up for as long as I can,” Rhodes said. “That Darlington win went by too fast. You just don’t know when you’re going to get it again, but I’m going to enjoy this night. The best night of my life right here.”

Friday night’s race was attrition-filled with the yellow flag waving 10-times, one caution shy of a race record. The final caution on lap 96 sent the race into overtime for an extra lap after a multi-car crash when Timothy Peters was hooked and hit the outside wall. Tyler Ankrum, John Hunter Nemechek, Bryan Dauzat, Carson Hocevar, Johnny Sauter and Raphael Lessard also were involved in the crash.

Jordan Anderson finished second for the second-consecutive season at Daytona. Cory Roper and Hocevar notched their first-career top-five finishers, Roper with a third-place finish and Hocevar in fifth. Ryan Truex finished between them in fourth.

Roper pushed Sheldon Creed to the lead on the final restart and, then, took the top spot for himself. Rhodes got by Roper to take the win on the final lap.

After Sauter started on the pole and led the first 12 laps, Lessard took the lead on lap 13 and led the remaining eight laps of the opening stage for a stage win. John Hunter Nemechek won the second 20-lap stage after leading 12 laps of that stage.

Creed finished sixth, and Nemechek was seventh. 

“I felt like our race was okay, or decent at least,” Nemechek said. “I feel like we had a really fast Fire Alarm Services Toyota Tundra. We made gains through the weekend. I felt like we were pretty good right off of the truck. Eric (Phillips, crew chief) and all of the guys at KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) gave us a really good truck that we could contend with. I felt good about our chances, overall, tonight. We stayed up there in stage one and ended up winning stage two. In stage three, we did a strategy call. We took tires, and it put us behind a little bit and never could get back to the front. I felt like we got trapped back there. We were making our way back up there towards the end, and then, we ended up getting caught up in the second-to-last wreck. It kind of sandwiched the truck, and I got tagged in the left-rear and spun out. We had tires go down and damage. We started in the back on the final restart on the green-white-checkered. I was able to somehow get a pretty good suck going down the back and made it to the bottom lane in (turns) three and four. I got down, and they all started wrecking almost to the tri-oval. They wrecked — a bunch of them; somehow we managed to make it through that without getting in the grass and wrecking and came home seventh. Overall, really solid points day. I’m looking forward to the rest of the year, and this is just a start of what we can do.”

Codie Rohrbaugh finished eighth, Chandler Smith was ninth, and Drew Dollar rounded out the top-10.

Below, is the complete finishing order of the NextEra Energy 250:

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Posted by on February 13, 2021. Filed under Breaking News,Camping World Truck Series,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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