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Ben Rhodes sealed the deal Friday Evening time at Phoenix Raceway, worthwhile the 2021 NASCAR Tenting World Truck Collection championship in his first-ever look Inside the Championship 4. After six full-time seasons Inside the Truck Collection, the 24-yr-previous ThorSport Racing driver has a truck title to rejoice.
The Championship 4 battle acquired here Proper down to The final laps. Zane Smith Appeared to be in championship-worthwhile place, however with eight laps remaining, Rhodes found enough velocity in his No. 99 ThorSport Racing Ford to move Smith, nudging the again bumper of the No. 21 GMS Racing Chevpositiont in Flip 2 to get by him.
Rhodes accomplished the race in third. Smith accomplished fifth and second Inside the championship standings.
Associated: Official end outcomes | Store: NASCAR gear, champion merchandise
“I assumed it was gone,” Rhodes said By way of the trophy presentation. “When the 21 (Smith) drove previous me, I assumed it was All through. He simply stored driving away further and further and further. The prime of the race, when everyone started sporting their stuff out, I didn’t assume I had something left. I used to be sideways every nook. But we had simply enough, simply enough.
“… This sounds bizarre, however this felt particular from the time I acquired right here, however I didn’t Want to damage it,” he added. “I didn’t Want to say something, I didn’t Want to do something out of context, I simply needed To maintain 100% focused.”
One other Championship 4 driver, John Hunter Nemechek, had his title possibilities shortly evaporate Initially of the race. A left-entrance tire went down on his No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota after The start of the race As a Outcome of of some contact with another truck. Nemechek misplaced two laps after pitting To vary tires. He earned each laps again and recovered for a seventh-place finish To finish third Inside the championship standings.
The final Championship 4 driver, Matt Crafton, fought an unwell-dealing with No. 88 ThorSport Racing Ford throughout the Evening time. Crafton accomplished Twelfth and took the 4th spot Inside The final playoff rankings.
Associated: Chandler Smith wins race | Nemechek, Crafton, Zane Smith mirror on seasons
Rhodes opened the season with A press launch, worthwhile again-to-again races at Daytona Worldwide Speedway and the monitor’s road course format. These proved to be his solely two wins throughout The The rest of the common season, however his consistency radiated All yr prolonged with seven prime-5 finishes, 15 prime 10s and a trio of runner-up finishes this season heading into Phoenix.
The Phoenix finale caps off a profession yr for Rhodes Inside the Truck Collection, collectively with his first multi-win season, however he’s no stranger to success behind the wheel.
Earlier than touchdown On The very Greater of the Truck Collection standings, Rhodes burst onto the NASCAR K&N Professional Collection East (now ARCA Menards East) scene with a stellar 2014 advertising campaign. At 17 yrs previous, Rhodes scored 5 wins, 11 prime 5s, 13 prime 10s And 6 pole awards in 16 races. He had simply 5 finishes outdoors The very biggest 4 all season, Ensuing in a series championship. That very similar yr, Rhodes ran 4 races Inside the Truck Collection and launched house three prime-10 end outcomes.
That early success landed Rhodes An factor-time journey Inside the Xfinity Collection, driving 10 races for JR Motorsports in 2015. One yr later, he earned Proper into a full-time position Inside the Truck Collection behind the wheel for ThorSport and hasn’t seemed again since. Rhodes joins veteran Matt Crafton (2013, 2014, 2019) on the itemizing of championship drivers for ThorSport.
“I wouldn’t even be right here right now if it wasn’t for Duke and Rhonda (Thorson, ThorSport group house owners),” Rhodes said. “They gave me my alternative On this sport. They have been my very first full-time nationwide group that I raced for And that i’ve been with them ever since. They’re so superb And that i can’t even start to thank them enough. This has simply been a journey of a lifetime. I hope it’s not over. I even have to maintain going now. That is superb.”