Ben Rhodes Edges Jordan Anderson To Capture First Daytona Victoryby Hunter Thomas February 13, 2021 0 comments
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Ben Rhodes edged Jordan Anderson to the finish on Friday night as he won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season-opener at Daytona International Speedway.
On the final lap of Friday’s NextEra Energy 250, Sheldon Creed and Cory Roper led the field into Turn 1. Roper quickly solidified himself in the top spot with ThorSport Racing’s Rhodes and Crafton pushing him. Austin Wayne Self spun down the backstretch, but the race stayed green. Roper still led out of Turn 4, but nearly every truck from third on back, crashed in the tri-oval. When the checkered flag flew, it was Rhodes beating Anderson to the finish line as they split the truck of Roper. The victory marked Rhodes’ first at Daytona International Speedway, one that he says is the biggest of his career.
“I’ve got to give such a big thank you to my team,” Rhodes said. “This is so special. Biggest win of my career. I can’t even believe this. As a driver, you are always asked about what your biggest accomplishment is. This is it. This is hands down it. This is the place to be. I can’t even believe it. We’ve got Bombardier on the truck. We came back to Toyota and we won in our first race with them back with ThorSport. I can’t thank Duke and Rhonda Thorson (team owners) enough for this opportunity. This is special.”
Anderson crossed the finish line just 0.036 seconds behind Rhodes. The effort marks the second consecutive year that the South Carolinian finished runner-up in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season-opener. Anderson started the event in the 20th-postion and avoided the accidents throughout the night. In his post-race interview, Anderson reflected on his days of competing on the grassroots level.
“This is so much energy and so much emotion,” Anderson said. “To see what God has done in my life, and my career, I shouldn’t be here. I shouldn’t be racing in a national series. Coming from Columbia, South Carolina, no one in my family raced. My dad is here with me. To go through all that we have gone through, to never give up.”
Anderson continued and said, for every kid that races Late Models, Legends Cars, Dirt Late Models out there, never give up. If you want to be here, just keep digging. I have so many people to thank.”
Roper finished third, earning his best-career finish in the series. Ryan Truex and Carson Hocevar rounded out the top-five. Completing the top-10 was Creed, John Hunter Nemechek, Codie Rohrbaugh, Chandler Smith and Drew Dollar.
There were 31 lead changes among 12 drivers. Smith led a race high of 22 laps.
The caution flag flew on 10 occasions for 43 laps. The race saw six multi-truck accidents.
Up next for the schedule for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is the BrakeBest Brake Pads 159 at Daytona presented by O’Reilly. Live coverage will broadcast on FS1 at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday, February 19.
Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images