Rhodes snaps winless streak to make NASCAR history

Ben Rhodes. Photo: Logan Riely/Getty Images

Ben Rhodes. Photo: Logan Riely/Getty Images

Ben Rhodes has won the Craftsman Truck Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

He has secured a spot in the playoffs and made NASCAR history by becoming the first Ford Performance driver to win a Truck Series race at the North Carolina track. 

The 2021 Truck Series champion entered the 26 May race riding a winless streak dating back to Bristol Dirt on 16 April, 2022. He was also in the midst of a difficult stretch that only featured one top-10 finish in the past five races. 

Rhodes snapped both of those streaks with a strong performance late at NASCAR’s home track, and he delivered ThorSport Racing’s first win since switching from Toyota Racing Development to Ford Performance over the offseason. 

“The last three races have been so unbelievably hard on my team,” Rhodes told Fox Sports after the race.

“We’ve been wrecked in the last three and haven’t had very good showings because of it.”

Rhodes started 19th overall in the #99 ThorSport Racing Ford F-150, and he remained buried back in the field throughout the first stage.

However, the crew made some critical adjustments, which helped Rhodes get up to seventh place by the end of Stage 2. 

The Kentucky native made his move during the final stage.

He gained multiple spots on pit road after a caution for Armani Williams crashing into the pit road wall, and he restarted on the front row next to Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Chase Purdy. 

Rhodes jumped to the lead over Purdy, who had gambled by only getting fuel during his pit stop.

He then took advantage of the #99 Ford that was good enough to hold off the field on multiple restarts. 

Rhodes did not have the best truck on the short runs – that designation belonged to Carson Hocevar’s #42 Chevrolet – but he was able to start putting distance between himself and the rest of the field on the final run with a truck set up for long green flag runs. 

Rhodes built up a lead of more than two seconds during the final 26 laps, and he led the way to the checkered flag while drivers battled behind him.

He captured his first win of the season after leading 37 of the final 46 laps, and he celebrated with a massive burnout. 

While Rhodes was the winner, Hocevar and Corey Heim were the stories of the first two stages.

Heim won Stage 1 in his #11 Tricon Garage Toyota Tundra while Hocevar finished second in his #42 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado. 

The two drivers continued their battle in Stage 2, but they switched positions.

Hocevar passed Heim during the segment, and he built up a lead of more than three seconds before crossing the finish line first for his own stage win. 

A slow pit stop dropped Heim to 10th in the running order during the final stage, but he was able to recover and work his way back up to third before a caution with 30 laps remaining in the race. 

Heim went on to finish second while teammate Dean Thompson finished third.

Hocevar and GMS Racing’s Grant Enfinger rounded out the top five. 

Along with the win, Rhodes also captured a bonus, courtesy of the Triple Truck Challenge.

This three-week program awards $50,000 to the winner of races at Charlotte Motor Speedway, World Wide Technology Raceway, and Nashville Superspeedway. 

If a driver wins two of these races, the amount of money increases to US$150,000. If they win all three of the Triple Truck Challenge events, they walk away with US$500,000. 

Sign up here to receive our daily newsletters and breaking news alerts, sent straight to your inbox.

Join the discussion below in the Speedcafe.com comments section

Please note: Speedcafe.com reserves the right to remove any comment that does not follow the comment policy. For support, contact [email protected]