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NASCAR Truck: Ben Rhodes wins in Kentucky

SPARTA, KY – JULY 12: Ben Rhodes, driver of the #41 The Carolina Nut Co. Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Buckle Up in Your Truck 225 at Kentucky Speedway on July 12, 2018 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Ben Rhodes claimed his second-career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win, his first of 2018, in his home state of Kentucky Thursday night at Kentucky Speedway in the Buckle Up in Your Truck 225. The win was the first for Ford in Truck Series competition at Kentucky since 2003 when Carl Edwards won in a Roush Fenway Raing entry.

“This has been such a long time coming and these guys deserve it so much,” Rhodes said. “They’ve been working their butts off. We’ve had a touch of bad luck this year. Everybody was feeling good about it tonight. We’ve had trucks like this all year long, and we’re finally able to showcase it. This is exactly what we needed.”

Stewart Friesen was the race leader before a cycle of green-flag pit stops in the final 30 laps, but with a fuel-only stop, Rhodes came out ahead of Friesen.

“We led some laps,” Friesen said. “Didn’t get off the way we needed to on pit road at the end, and it was the difference of about 100 yards and a lot of clean air. Proud of the guys, but I made a little mistake there and it cost us.”

Friesen, still in search of his first-career win in the series, finished second for the second time in 2018 and the third time in his one-and-a-half-year career in the Truck Series. He started in the back as the result of an engine change between qualifying and the race.

“We had an engine problem during time trials, and the whole team stepped in,” Friesen said. “It was awesome. We had less than an hour to go to swap ‘em out, and we had a good finish.”

Three of the top-five finishers started in the back. Matt Crafton finished third after a start in the back because of a problem in qualifying, while John Hunter Nemechek, like Friesen, started in the back because of an engine change. Nemechek finished fifth behind fourth-place finisher Brandon Jones.

Rhodes and Noah Gragson were stage winners in the first 70 laps of the race, with Rhodes taking the stage-one win at lap 35 after taking the lead from Gragson on lap 33. Gragson retook the lead on the restart for the second stage. Rhodes and Gragson combined to lead all the laps of the first two stages, with Gragson leading 59 of them.

Gragson, though, had trouble on pit road during the caution between the second and third stages, and as a result, wound up outside the top-10 for the restart. He finished eighth after leading a race-high 62 laps.

Parker Kligerman was up front after a two-tire stop for the start of the third and final stage, with Friesen alongside in second. Friesen took the lead on lap 88. By the end of the race, Kligerman was outside the top-20.

Finishing sixth through 10th were Grant Enfinger, Todd Gilliland, Gragson, Dalton Sargeant and Justin Haley. Haley was the final driver on the lead lap.

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Posted by on July 13, 2018. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR,NASCAR Camping World Truck. 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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