Ben Rhodes rallies previous Hocevar, corrals Tenting World Vans win on Bristol Dust


BRISTOL, Tenn. – Ben Rhodes overcame a communications error and stormed forward in the final laps of Saturday’s Pinty’s Truck Race on Dirt, snagging the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win from second-place finisher Carson Hocevar.

One race way past the final restart on lap 146 of 150, Rhodes, the defending series champion, sank his No.99 ThorSport Racing Toyota at Turn 1, slipping past the outside of third-place finisher John Hunter Nemechek and dove inside Hocevar to take the lead.

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The dramatic win atoned for Rhodes’ failure to pit his truck at the end of stage one on lap 40 after missing his pit lane entry. Rhodes had to pit after winning stage two, starting lap 91 in 13th and working his way up with the help of four cautions in the final 60-lap stage.

“My crew gave me such great tundra this weekend that I didn’t want to let them down,” said Rhodes, who led 95 laps and won the first two stages en route to his first win of the year and sixth of those his career. “I had to get back up and earn my place back. I’m really proud of their commitment.”

2022 April 16 Ben Rhodes main picture

Rhodes and Hocevar were the only two drivers credited with leading laps. The No. 42 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet driver snatched the top spot after starting fourth on lap 91 and held it until Rhodes passed him for victory.

In hindsight, Hocevar said he could have defended the crucial pass better.

“Either he tore the roof or he crashed him,” Hocevar said of his alternatives. “I hate to say it, but it’s part of this race, isn’t it? I just couldn’t keep up with him. It just had better (fresher) tires and was the fastest truck all day. I was just trying to hold on. …

“He gave me a slide job and I should have prepared, crossed him and rode really hard against him. Second, it just sucks. It’s awful, especially being so close.”

Where does Rhodes finish in Darlington? – Powered by pickup

The story goes on

The race marked the NASCAR National Series debut for reigning USAC National Midget Champion Buddy Kofoid, who started 32nd after his No. 51 Toyota overheated during the first qualifying heat earlier in the afternoon.

Kofoid methodically worked his way up, running into third place before spinning at Turn 2 as he tried to get inside Rhodes’ truck in the battle for fourth place on Lap 139 after Rhodes went deep into the Cornered and slid towards her was the top of the track.

In the ensuing wreck, Ty Majeski, who saw a likely attempt go awry in the top five, and Derek Kraus were collected.

MORE: Photos along the way: Bristol

The race also smacked of the bizarre. On Lap 96, Austin Wayne Self bumped into unlucky Matt DiBenedetto’s Chevrolet after it passed Self. Self’s Silverado’s front bumper interlocked with DiBenedetto’s Chevy’s rear bumper, and the two drivers were unable to separate them.

It took a red flag and a handful of track workers to separate the trucks. This incident ruined the race for both drivers, but the subsequent restart on lap 106 put Rhodes on course for eventual victory. By the time caution returned on lap 112, he had moved up to fifth and was well on his way up.

The next Camping World Truck Series race is scheduled for Friday, May 6 (7:30pm ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM) at Darlington Raceway.

Remarks: The post-race inspection was completed in the Bristol Motor Speedway garage with no problems, and Rhodes was confirmed as the winner. … Cup Series regular Joey Logano started from pole position and finished sixth in his first Camping World Trucks start since 2015.

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