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Late Wreck Ends Rhodes’ Title Run

Ben Rhodes’ Playoff run came to an end late Friday night when he got turned into the wall, and a teammate, in the closing laps of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix Raceway.

Restarting with 20 laps to go, Austin Cindric, who lined up behind Rhodes on the restart, dove under Rhodes to get the — while shallow, less than ideal entry — preferred groove through Turn 1. Rhodes moved down to block, came across Cindric’s nose and turned head-on into the inside wall. The impact lifted the right-side of his truck off the ground for a second, before landing on all four’s.

Rhodes’ lifeless truck spun up towards the track and into the path of teammate Matt Crafton, sending them both head-on into the outside wall in Turn 1.

The trucks rolls a few more yards, before coming to a stop in the middle of Turn 1.

This brought out the fourth caution of the night, as well as a 17-minute, seven-second red flag for cleanup.

“He put me in a bad place and (I was) trying to do everything I could to keep the spot, but once you file into Turn 1, we were all going to wreck. I’m not sure that was the right move on his part. I did everything I could to just make sure we were having a good day. We were in front of him all day long. We were going to be into the final four. I don’t know. It looked like a desperation move to me, because there’s so much racing left to do. I guess if I was in his position, I mean can’t blame him. But it’s definitely not the move I would’ve liked to see this early in the race. There’s so much to go on. The line in front of me started checking up. I could’ve done the same thing, but you have to be smart on the restarts, especially when you have, what, 70 laps to go, still?”

Cindric, after the race, said the incident was merely “two guys racing for the same amount of real estate.”

The wreck relegated Rhodes to a 20th-place finish. He leaves Phoenix fifth in points.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

Tucker White
Tucker White
I've followed NASCAR for well over 20 years of my life, both as a fan and now as a member of the media. As of 2024, I'm on my ninth season as a traveling NASCAR beat writer. For all its flaws and dumb moments, NASCAR at its best produces some of the best action you'll ever see in the sport of auto racing. Case in point: Kyle Larson's threading the needle pass at Darlington Raceway on May 9, 2021. On used-up tires, racing on a worn surface and an aero package that put his car on the razor's edge of control, Larson demonstrated why he's a generational talent. Those are the stories I want to capture and break down. In addition to NASCAR, I also follow IndyCar and Formula 1. As a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, and a graduate of the University of Tennessee, I'm a diehard Tennessee Volunteers fan (especially in regards to Tennessee football). If covering NASCAR doesn't kill me, down the road, watching Tennessee football will. I'm also a diehard fan of the Atlanta Braves, and I lived long enough to see them win a World Series for the first time since 1995 (when I was just a year old). I've also sworn my fan allegiance to the Nashville Predators, though that's not paid out as much as the Braves. Furthermore, as a massive sports dork, I follow the NFL on a weekly basis. Though it's more out of an obligation than genuine passion (for sports dorks, following the NFL is basically an unwritten rule). Outside of sports, I'm a major cinema buff and a weeb. My favorite film is "Blazing Saddles" and my favorite anime is "Black Lagoon."

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