The Truck Series returned to Daytona International Speedway once again this week, but this time on the Daytona Road Course. There were three overtime restarts and on the second restart, Ben Rhodes was close to taking the white flag, but a late yellow flew. However, Rhodes prevailed and took home the win after starting on the pole and holding off Sheldon Creed for the win.
“It’s unbelievable,” Rhodes said about winning twice at Daytona. “I don’t have words for it. I don’t even know what to say. This is so cool. I just have to thank my team. The Bombardier Tundra was fast all day. ThorSport Racing gave me a truck that handled this year and we were fast. Rich (Luches) is a really good crew chief. It’s good to be paired up with him and all of the guys on my team. I’m just thrilled. I don’t know what to say. I’ve been on cloud nine all week, so it’s above that. I’m just so happy.”
Originally, 12-13-19 made up the 44-lap race, but three late-race yellows extended the race distance to 51 laps.
Stage 1: Lap 1 – Lap 12
Prior to the race start, NASCAR had determined a wet race for the initial green-flag since late day rain showers moved through the area, and left the track damp.
John Hunter Nemechek was fast from the get-go and dominated early on. He took the lead from pole-sitter Rhodes while Raphael Lessard and Zane Smith spun each other out in Turn 1. One caution slowed the stage with eight to go when the No. 04 of Cory Roper came to a stop in Turn 3.
The late yellow brought out a one-lap restart for the stage, but Nemechek held off Rhodes for the stage victory. Chandler Smith, Brett Moffitt, Ryan Truex, Matt Crafton, Johnny Sauter, Austin Hill, Sheldon Creed and Riley Herbst were the Top 10 finishers.
During the stage break, Nemechek stayed out to maintain the lead, but there were some penalties as Chase Purdy was penalized for a safety violation and Sam Mayer was penalized for not going to the rear in the previous restart.
Stage 2: Lap 14 – Lap 25
From the restart, last year’s Truck Series champion, Sheldon Creed, was able to nab the lead from Nemechek coming out of Turn 6 and going into Turn 1. The Californian dominated for the majority of Stage 2 until a late stage yellow came out on Lap 22. Stage 1 winner, Nemechek, came to a complete stop due to no oil pressure in Turn 10, prompting the yellow. During this, Creed was on pit road, changing from wet tires to dry tires.
As the yellow flag flew late, the stage ended under caution and 2020 Talladega winner Raphael Lessard took the stage victory. Grala, Zane Smith, Wayne Self, Gilliland, Crafton, Deegan, Creed, Purdy and Moffitt were the top 10. Rhodes was right outside the Top 10, finishing 11th.
Stage 3: Lap 27 – Lap 51
While the first two stages were relatively calm, the final stage saw five cautions. Creed was well on his way to victory but contact between Sam Mayer and Tanner Gray brought out the first overtime of the night.
On the first restart, Rhodes was able to get by Creed and was just inches away from taking the white flag before the yellow flew once again in a matter of seconds. This time, the No. 44 of Jett Noland, who was making his debut for Niece Motorsports, stopped in the grass and Austin Wayne Self came to a stop just off Turn 10.
The final overtime restart of the night was prompted by Jennifer Jo Cobb, who came to a complete stop on the frontstretch chicane. The restart came on Lap 48 with race leaders Rhodes and Creed battling hard with each other for the win. However, Rhodes was determined to hold off Creed and stretched out his lead over second place. After 51 laps, the finish came under yellow due to a truck stopped in the grass. Ben Rhodes would win his second consecutive race and give Toyota Racing their 200th Truck Series victory.
“So cool,” the Kentucky native added about getting Toyota Racing their 200th win, “200 wins for Toyota, I’m so proud to be able to get that for them. You always want to be the guy that delivers for people and I’m glad that I could be the delivery man. That’s so cool. Toyota, they’ve given so much support to us. I think that’s a big reason why we’ve been in victory lane both weeks.”
There were 10 cautions for 20 laps and nine lead changes among six different drivers.
- Ben Rhodes, led 13 laps
- Sheldon Creed, led 17 laps
- John Hunter Nemechek, won Stage 1, led 14 laps
- Todd Gilliland
- Riley Herbst, led one lap
- Matt Crafton
- Derek Kraus
- Kaz Grala
- Timmy Hill
- Christian Eckes
- Stewart Friesen, led one lap
- Chandler Smith
- Camden Murphy
- Carson Hocevar
- Austin Wayne Self
- Codie Rohrbaugh
- Dawson Cram
- Johnny Sauter
- Tate Fogleman
- Tanner Gray
- Tyler Ankrum
- Chase Purdy
- Parker Chase
- Timothy Peters
- Brett Moffitt
- Raphael Lessard, led five laps, won Stage 2
- Bobby Reuse, 1 lap down
- Hailie Deegan, 1 lap down
- Jett Noland, OUT, Crash
- Danny Bohn, 2 laps down
- Ryan Truex, 3 laps down
- Norm Benning, 3 laps down
- Austin Hill, 3 laps down
- Cory Roper, OUT, Fuel Pressure
- Jennifer Jo Cobb, 4 laps down
- Lawless Alan, 6 laps down
- Sam Mayer, OUT, Crash
- Jason White, 10 laps down
- Spencer Boyd, OUT, Transmission
- Zane Smith, OUT, Crash
Up Next: The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will take next weekend off before heading out west to Las Vegas Motor Speedway Friday night, March 5, live at 9 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 and MRN Radio.