“This is sweeter than my first win,” Rhodes said. “This is sweeter because of the people that are here.
“(Kentucky Speedway) doesn’t have the history that Daytona does but it has the history for me,” Rhodes said.
Rhodes had one of the strongest trucks in the 150-lap race (he won the opening stage) but was aided by fuel-only pit stop with 25 laps to go. The other leaders took two tires.
The victory was the second of Rhodes’ career. His other win came Sept. 2017 at Las Vegas. The win is Rhodes’ first of the season and earns him a spot in the playoffs.
Stage 1 winner: Ben Rhodes
Stage 2 winner: Noah Gragson
How Ben Rhodes won: Runner-up Stewart Friesen said he felt that he lost time to Rhodes coming on to pit road when they made their final pit stops. After that, Friesen struggled with his truck’s handling the closer he got to Rhodes before fading in the final laps.
Who had a good race: Stewart Friesen’s second-place finish marked the fourth time in the last five races on 1.5-mile tracks he’s placed sixth or better. … Matt Crafton started 30th (after nearly crashing in qualifying) and finished third for his best result since placing second at Dover in May. … Dalton Sargeant’s ninth-place result snapped a streak of eight consecutive finishes outside the top 10.
Who had a bad race: Rookie Myatt Snider had to start at the rear after crashing in qualifying and had to go to a backup. He was never a factor, finishing 26th. … Points leader Johnny Sauter was penalized for speeding on pit road and then for a commitment line violation while serving the speeding penalty. He finished 15th, two laps off the leaders.
Notable: Ben Rhodes’ win marks the fourth consecutive series victory for a driver age 25 or under. Rhodes is 21 years old.
Quote of the night: ThorSport Racing General Manager David Pepper after Ben Rhodes’ win: “With 5 races to go in the regular season, leading into the playoffs, the rest of these teams need to look out for ThorSport. We’re going to be a factor.”
Next: The series races at Eldora at 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday, July 18.