BEN RHODES SCORES TOYOTA’s 200th NASCAR TRUCK SERIES WIN
Rhodes goes back-to-back for the first time in his career
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 19, 2021) – Ben Rhodes took his Tundra back to Victory Lane at Daytona International Speedway – this time on the road course as the Kentucky-native scored Toyota’s 200th NASCAR Truck Series victory.
Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Daytona International Speedway Road Course
Race 2 of 23 – 44 Laps, 158.8 Miles
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, BEN RHODES
2nd, Sheldon Creed*
3rd, JOHN HUNTER NEMECHEK
4th, Todd Gilliland*
5th, Riley Herbst*
6th, MATT CRAFTON
7th, DEREK KRAUS
10th, CHRISTIAN ECKES
11th, STEWART FRIESEN
12th, CHANDLER SMITH
18th, JOHNNY SAUTER
22nd, PARKER CHASE
30th, DANNY BOHN
33rd, AUSTIN HILL
36th, LAWLESS ALAN
BEN RHODES, No. 99 Bombardier LearJet 75 Toyota Tundra, ThorSport Racing
Finishing Position: 1st
How do you describe this week and this moment?
“It’s unbelievable. 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.”
Can you describe your emotions after winning at Daytona for a second time in seven days?
“We did the sweep. I didn’t know that there was a sweep possible at Daytona, but we did it. I don’t know what to say. This Bombardier Tundra was fast from the get-go. Starting on the pole, I knew that if we just played it safe, if I gave up the lead – I didn’t care about the laps led, none of that stuff. We didn’t need an ego, we needed to win the race. We played it smart all day. The rain was so fun. I prayed for the rain before the race and we got it. I just wish it had stayed the whole time because we were making so much hay once I got the handling down on it. I honestly didn’t want it to go dry, but I guess I’m glad that it did because it worked out okay.”
How difficult were all the restarts at the end of the race?
“It was the most stressful race of my life for sure. There’s been stressful races, but this was really stressful. I thought it was going to be taken away from us for sure. I’m not sure if they showed me throwing my hands up, I hope they didn’t. Hope they didn’t listen to the radio either. I was a little frustrated. Gosh, it all worked out now. So stressful, so stressful. I don’t think I’ve had one that stressful before.”
What does it mean to get the 200th win for Toyota in this series?
“So cool. 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.”
What has it felt like to come out so strong with Toyota in the first two races back?
“It feels good to sweep Daytona for them. I saw Jack Irving (TRD) over in victory lane and it’s a sweet homecoming. It makes everything worth it. For Duke and Rhonda Thorson (team owners), they put so much into this, so much effort and so much time out of their days. They have so much other stuff to worry about than just running a race team and they do so good with it, they’ve done it for so long. For them to be in the position they’re in now and with the drivers they have now, the people on the team they have now, I truly believe I have the fastest teammates in the series. They set themselves up so well with this new partnership and I couldn’t be more proud of the team and just so grateful for the place that I’m in. I’m so grateful for it. I count my blessings everyday because it’s such an honor to race for them. I tell them all the time how much I truly mean that.”
Can this be a championship season?
“It’s looking better now with these extra Playoff points. I’ve learned that Playoff points are the winning ticket. They get you to the final four and I guess we’re at 10 now or maybe 11. That’s such a relief and we came into this race, I finished horrible here last year, had a horrible race last year and basically fell out of the seat. I was struggling physically hardcore with all the heat at this race. I was a little intimidated coming back to this road course, not going to lie. I feel like to conquer this and to conquer the speedway, this is our championship year, I really believe that. I don’t know, a lot of racing left and a lot of season left so we’ll see what happens.”
What has the switch back to Toyota done for the ThorSport Racing team?
“It’s been huge. The support we get is unparalleled and the fact that their (Toyota/TRD) engineering, their engineering is what it’s all about. We’re not a Cup team, we don’t have 30 engineers. We’ve got a few, we’ve got our little engineering department that could and we get so much support from them that it bumps us to the next level. They don’t do it like anybody else and I think that’s why they have 200 wins now in the Truck Series.”
JOHN HUNTER NEMECHEK, No. 4 Mobil1 Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports
Finishing Position: 3rd
How do you describe this race and the last few laps?
“Very frustrating day. Had a really fast Tundra and led most of the race. Second stage, we thought we were good on mileage with the wet conditions and how slow we were. Ended up running out of gas. Just a mistake. Honest mistake. We win and lose as a team. Fought hard, got our lap back and got back to the front, made some moves and we did some things there on strategy that hurt us, but put us in a good position for that last restart. I just messed up. Go back and study and be better next time.”
DEREK KRAUS, No. 19 NAPA Autocare Toyota Tundra, McAnally-Hilgemann Racing
Finishing Position: 7th
How was your race tonight?
“We just stayed patient the whole time. We minded our own business and stayed on track. Overall we had a pretty good run in our NAPA Autocare Tundra.”
How much are you looking forward to Las Vegas?
“Really, it’s the first oval race on the schedule and I really look forward to that. Last year in Vegas, we ran really good. I struggled a little bit tonight on the road course. I was really uncomfortable in the rain, and then we ended up in the top-10, so that was good. Going to Vegas, we just have to have another good clean run, get some stage points and try to be up front all night.”
CHRISTIAN ECKES, No. 98 Protect The Harvest/CURB Records Toyota Tundra, ThorSport Racing
Finishing Position: 10th
Solid start to your ThorSport Racing tenure tonight. How was your run?
“It was a good first day, a good first day with ThorSport. We fought a lot of obstacles throughout the day. We tried some things that didn’t really work and then we got spun with three to go and came from all the way in the back to finish 10th, so overall, a decent first day. I’m looking forward to getting back in a Tundra with this team in Vegas.”
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