Ben Rhodes missing high school graduation for Xfinity Series debut

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Ben Rhodes will follow in the footsteps of Erik Jones this weekend when he misses his high school graduation to go racing.

According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, the Louisville, Ky., native will miss out on the graduation ceremonies at Louisville’s Holy Cross High School. Rhodes, 18, will be in Newton, Iowa preparing to make his Xfinity Series debut in the 3M 250 at Iowa Speedway.

Rhodes, who has four Camping World Truck Series races under his belt, will be racing in the first of 10 scheduled Xfinity Series events in JR Motorsports’ No. 88 Chevrolet.

“I’m very eager to get in the race car and prove myself,” Rhodes told the Herald-Leader. “At the same time, I know I am in with the All-Star group. They are going to perform. They are going to win a bunch of races. I’ve got to try to impress them. I don’t know if I will win races, but I’ve got to try to impress them.”

Rhodes’ mother, Lori Rhodes, said her son has no problem missing out on the ceremony.

“Ben’s always been OK with missing anything as long as it is for racing,” she said.

Rhodes won’t miss out entirely. The Herald-Leader says Tim Weihe, the president of Holy Cross, will fly to Iowa to give the driver his diploma during driver introductions on Sunday.

Last June, Jones missed his graduation to race in the CWTS race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Car owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. told the paper Rhodes has been acting like a “sponge” this year, soaking up information in preparation for his debut.

“He’s really done a lot when it comes to being accountable at the races and standing there and trying to be a sponge to the information that is available to him when we’re practicing,” Earnhardt Jr. said during a NASCAR test session at Kentucky Speedway last month.

“I’ve seen him at every (Xfinity) race I’ve been at,” Earnhardt said. “At the races I drove this year, he’s been in the garage asking questions. In between practice runs, he’s standing there listening and asking questions. … He wants to be as prepared as possible.”