Ben Rhodes Ready to Have the “Biggest Moment of His Career”by Kyle Pokrefky May 16, 2015 0 comments
NEWTON, Iowa — A start that has been seven months in the making, Ben Rhodes will take to the track on Sunday afternoon at Iowa Speedway to make his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut in the 3M 250.
Set to pilot the No. 88 Alpha Energy Solutions Chevrolet that currently sits fourth in the XFINITY owners standings, the 18-year-old Rhodes feels that he is completely ready to step up and race in NASCAR’s second-highest national division.
“I’m definitely ready, I’ve been waiting for this moment for seven months now and it’s the biggest moment of my career,” Rhodes said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to be running for such a big team such as JR Motorsports. They’ve given me great cars so far.”
Rhodes, the defending winner of the Casey’s General Store 150 – the weekend’s accompanying NASCAR K&N Pro Series event, has already become a familiar presence in the XFINITY garage, shadowing Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kevin Harvick – fellow drivers of the No. 88 Chevrolet – at several races this year already.
Rhodes – who Earnhardt Jr. likened to a ‘sponge’ for his ability to absorb data – has amassed plenty of knowledge from the two XFINITY Series champions and praised his team owner for being so open with the sharing of information.
“[I’ve learned] a whole lot [with] Kevin Harvick and Dale Jr,” Rhodes remarked. “I will say Dale goes out of his way to talk to me and he’s a ‘real’ person. I know that kind of sounds weird, but … he comes up and he spends as much time as he can with the track, teaching me, going over things and answering all of my questions.
“By ‘real’, I mean that he’s really down to earth. He’s taken time, he’s going out of his way and he’s doing everything he can to help me – which is really cool.”
With the way how Earnhardt Jr. has taken Rhodes under his wing, the defending K&N Pro Series East champion feels as if he is fully a member of the JR Motorsports family.
“I feel like JR Motorsports has really done a good job of welcoming me to the family and I feel like I’m a part of the family now after spending so much time with these guys and I’m only looking forward to the future with them,” he said.
As for his goal for Sunday, Rhodes acknowledges the strength of his No. 88 team and JR Motorsports’s equipment as he has his sights set on a top-10 finish.
“Top-10 finish,” Rhodes stated. “These cars can be pretty edgy as I’ve learned so I want to be careful, I want to bring the car home in one piece with no damage. Top-10 finish and that’ll be a good learning day.”
Featured Image Photo credit: Grant Halverson/NASCAR via Getty Images