Just days after Xfinity Series driver Regan Smith said he would be leaving JR Motorsports at the end of this season, promising prospect Ben Rhodes is also departing the Dale Earnhardt Jr. co-owned organization.
According to a report by his hometown newspaper, the Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal, Rhodes was grateful for the “wonderful opportunity” to have competed in 10 Xfinity Series races for JRM this season.
The 18-year-old Rhodes is leaving JRM to pursue a full-time ride with another team.
“I feel like if I can get behind the wheel more, that’s going to make me an even better driver,” Rhodes told the newspaper. “I had 10 races this year, but I wasn’t racing any on the side. I wasn’t honing my skills. I was learning by going to the track but not honing my skills inside a race car.
“We feel that a full season would be best for me, or just more races than I’ve had.”
Rhodes has earned two top-10 finishes in his nine starts, including a seventh-place showing in his JRM debut at Iowa in mid-May, as well as a 10th place finish at Mid-Ohio in mid-August.
Rhodes, who won the 2014 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship, has one more start with JRM scheduled in the season-ending Xfinity Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway next month.
“This year has been great for me,” Rhodes said. “I’ve learned so much in a short amount of time. While I’m not with JR Motorsports in 2016, there are a lot of organizations out there, and I’m looking forward to what the future holds.”