Ben Rhodes Earns Ford Performance’s First Truck Win At Charlotte Motor Speedway

Ben Rhodes Earns Ford Performance’s First Truck Win At Charlotte Motor Speedway

by May 28, 2023 1 comment

CONCORD, N.C. – Ben Rhodes earned Ford Performance’s first-ever win at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series on Friday night as he blistered the field in the final laps of the North Carolina Education Lottery 200.

On a late-race restart with just 25 laps to go, Rhodes passed Carson Hocevar for the lead, and he never looked back. Rhodes’ ThorSport Racing No. 99 Campers Inn RV Ford was dialed in in the finals laps as the drivers behind him competed for the runner-up position because no one was going to catch him without another caution. Rhodes not only captured the victory, but he also won the $50,000 Triple Truck Challenge bonus. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series has been competing at Charlotte Motor Speedway for 21 years, and Friday’s win marked the first for Ford Performance, which is based just down the street from the track.

“It means a lot,” said Rhodes about earning the win for Ford. “I spend a lot of time actually in Charlotte even though I live in Kentucky. I come down here to the Ford Performance Technical Center that is right down the road. This is their home track as far as that goes. They’ve got a lot of really hard-working people at Ford and they deserve this as much as anybody, too. To think that they’ve gone this long and not gotten a win in their backyard in that sense, that’s really cool. I’m just happy we could do it. I’m happy for my team, happy for Ford, everybody involved, and, of course, Campers Inn. They flew up from Florida and they’re here with us now and I don’t think they’ve been to a NASCAR Victory Lane before, so we’re gonna show them how they do it.”

The 2021 series champion hasn’t been having the best season thus far. Prior to Friday, Rhodes had only accumulated three top-five finishes in 10 starts, and he entered Charlotte coming off a 16th at Kansas Speedway, 18th at Darlington Raceway and a 33rd-place finish at North Wilkesboro Speedway. Following the win, Rhodes gave credit to his crew for the fast hot rod.

“Every track they pick up spots for us,” Rhodes said. “Two races ago they got us nine spots on pit road. They did the magic again tonight and got us to the front. The truck was good once we got in clean air. The night time came to us and they made some adjustments. I was worried at first and they came to us again. They looked into a crystal ball tonight and they gave me everything I needed.”

Corey Heim finished second in the TRICON Garage No. 11 Rootly Toyota, and he continued his hot streak of five consecutive top-10 finishes, including a win at Martinsville Speedway and a second-place at Kansas Speedway.

“Yeah, I think me and the 42 (Carson Hocevar) and the 5 (Dean Thompson) were probably the best trucks,” Heim said. “The 99 (Ben Rhodes) just came on really strong. Once we got to second on that restart when the 42 got put in the middle there, I really thought we had a shot at it. It just proves that clean air is king here. I feel like if I had done a better job of getting past him as soon as possible than waiting on a run, I might have had a better opportunity. I’m just proud of TRICON Garage.”

Dean Thompson in the TRICON Garage No. 5 Thompson Pipe Group Toyota earned his first-ever top-five finish in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series as he crossed the finish line in third. The 2023 season is only Thompson’s second full year competing in the series, and so far, Friday’s effort marked his second top-10 effort.

“It feels pretty sweet,” Thompson said. “It’s just surreal to be here. I’m so honored to be here and to be able to do this. I’m so grateful. I got all mad and upset about p2 in the ARCA race, and now I’m stoked to be here in p3 in the Truck race. Pretty awesome stuff.”

Hocevar and Grant Enfinger rounded out the top-five. Darlington winner, Christian Eckes finishes sixth, followed by Ty Majeski, Matt DiBenedetto, Nick Sanchez and Taylor Gray.

Heim won Stage 1, and Hocevar won Stage 2.

Throughout the 134-lap race, there were 12 lead changes among 5 drivers. Heim led a race high of 49 laps, while Hocevar led 43 laps, and Rhodes led 37 laps.

Heim leads Majeski in the standings by 26 points.

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will visit World Wide Technology Raceway on Saturday, June 3 for the Toyota 200. Live coverage will broadcast at 1:30 p.m. ET on FS1.

Photo Credit: Mitchell White/

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