Ben Rhodes blocked a last lap challenge by Christopher Bell to win his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in Saturday night’s Las Vegas 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Rhodes made his win look easy, but it was far from it. With seven laps to go, Rhodes ran low around the first three trucks on a restart, got past and then held on to take the checkered flag.
In so doing, Rhodes — a native of Louisville, Kentucky — gets an automatic berth into the second round of the Truck Series playoffs.
Bell finished second, followed by Chase Briscoe, Austin Cindric and Kaz Grala.
MORE: Results from Saturday’s Camping World Truck Series race in Las Vegas
MORE: Christopher Bell holds dominating lead in Truck playoffs
John Hunter Nemechek looked like he might win, but ran out of gas with 14 laps left while in the lead after Austin Wayne Self wrecked on Lap 133, then stalled twice on pit road and was never able to catch back up. Nemechek, who is at risk of elimination in the playoffs, finished eighth.
Stage winners: Stage 1 (Chase Briscoe), Stage 2 (Ben Rhodes)
Who else had a good race: Christopher Bell gave it everything he had, but passed on a chance to wreck Rhodes on the last lap. “That was some intense racing right there,” Bell said. “Really happy for Ben, he’s been long overdue for that win. He earned it tonight.”
Who had a bad race: Myatt Snider’s race didn’t even last a full lap, spinning and hitting the wall in Turn 3. … A big wreck occurred on Lap 23 when Austin Cindric got into the rear of Johnny Sauter, spinning him into the wall. Kaz Grala was also involved. All three were able to continue, but were never able to get back up in the field to challenge.
Notable: There have now been 11 different winners in the last 11 Truck races. … Noah Gragson was penalized twice for speeding on pit road. … Making his first NASCAR start since 2015, Travis Pastrana finished 22nd.
Quote of the day: “I used every play in my playbook. That was the most nervous thing I’ve ever done in my life. This is the biggest high of my life. I just never thought it would come after so many things went wrong, and now it did.” – Race winner Ben Rhodes
What’s next: The series is off next weekend but returns Saturday, Oct. 14, with the Fred’s 250 at Talladega Superspeedway. That will also mark the first cutdown race of the Truck playoffs.