Crew Chief: Eddie Troconis
Driver Point Standings: 8th
Owner Point Standings: 10th
Playoff Position: 4th
Spotter: Lloyd Garner
News and Notes:
- This Week’s No. 41 Carolina Nut Co. Ford F-150… The No. 41 Carolina Nut Co. Ford F-150 team will unload Chassis No. 35, for Saturday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Corrigan Oil 200 at Michigan International Speedway. The chassis, nicknamed “Chupacabra,” has been used in 12 different races, twice at Michigan. Debuting at Kansas Speedway in 2015, it won its first race with Matt Crafton behind the wheel and started from pole at Michigan. Dressed as the No. 13 in 2016 with Cameron Hayley behind the wheel, the truck raced to two runner-up finishes (Atlanta Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway), and a fifth-place finish at Michigan that season. With Ben Rhodes behind the wheel in 2017, the chassis earned its first stage win at his home track of Kentucky Speedway, before visiting Victory Lane at the track this year. Overall, the chassis has two wins, five top-five and six top-10 finishes, leading 82 laps.
- Heading for the (Irish) Hills…Rhodes will strap in to his Ford F-150 for his third race at Michigan in the NCWTS this weekend. First competing at the track in 2016, he started 19th and drove to a sixth-place finish after leading four laps. Competing at the two-mile D-shaped oval in 2017, he started 14th and finished 11th. Rhodes looks to Michigan this weekend to add to his one win (Kentucky), five top-five and seven top-10 finishes accumulated thus far, in addition to 218 laps led already this season.
- Race Rewind: Pocono… After an unfortunate run-in with the wall during practice, Rhodes and the No. 41 team pulled out their back-up Ford F-150 at Pocono. Rhodes qualified 14th and finished Stage 1 13th. Progressing seven positions during Stage 2 to finished sixth, Rhodes went on to finish the race 11th.
- Zipping into Bristol… Partnering with Bristol Motor Speedway, Rhodes, along with teammate Myatt Snider, headed south to Chattanooga, Tennessee, Monday, July 30, to preview the upcoming Thursday, Aug. 16, race. While there, Rhodes and Snider assisted in honoring Capt. Steve Everett, a firefighter from Chattanooga Fire Department Station No. 3, who saved a woman’s life from her burning home while off-duty. Racing to try on their protective equipment, the drivers also experienced shooting water out of the firehose before having lunch with the firefighters. After the visit, Rhodes and Snider then went to discover Ruby Falls and their zipline course. Racing up the rock-climbing walls and ziplining over tree-tops, Rhodes and Snider both had the chance to hide tickets for all four races at Bristol around the “Castle,” where one can see three different states from the top tower.
Chatting with Ben Rhodes…
“I feel really good about Michigan this weekend. It’s a teammate track, and I have a feeling that this year, [working with your teammates] will be even more critical because of the new motor. With that, you’re going to see even more drafting like what you would see at races like Talladega on the straightaways, but it drives like a mile-and-a-half in the corners. It poses some unique challenges that we don’t really have at other tracks. Because of that, your teammates are your biggest friends at this racetrack, and if you can get together with them, it can really help you have a solid run.”
Racing in Ford Performance’s backyard this weekend at Michigan, how special would it be to win, or help a teammate lock into the Playoffs with a win at Ford’s home track?
“It would be really special. I would really like to be the one that creates that unique moment for Ford at their home track. Everyone from Ford, and the team will be at Michigan, and with that, it will create a really fun Victory Lane celebration. If I can’t get myself there, getting my teammates there is also a priority.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK