Ben Rhodes has gone back-to-back to open the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season at Daytona International Speedway.
After winning last week on the Daytona oval, Rhodes won Friday night’s race on its 3.61-mile road course after three overtime attempts.
“It was the most stressful race of my life for sure,” Rhodes said. “… 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.”
Friday night’s win is the fifth of Rhodes’ career and the 200th for Toyota in the Trucks as a manufacturer.
Nemechek won the first stage, but fell a lap down shortly before the end of the second stage after running out of fuel on his Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota. He was able to return to pit road and re-fire, then later earned the free pass to get back on the lead lap from a caution at Lap 31. He steadily worked his way back into contention from there.
On a restart with three laps to go in the scheduled distance, Creed took the lead from Rhodes at Turn 3 in the infield section. Rhodes attempted to re-gain the lead but was squeezed by Rhodes entering Turn 6, and the caution came out for a crash farther back involving Sam Mayer and Tanner Gray.
In the first overtime attempt, Creed appeared to get loose through Turn 1 and Rhodes got past him to take the point. But as Rhodes entered the tri-oval to take the white flag – which would’ve ensured that the next flag ended the race – the caution came out again for another incident in the field.
The second overtime attempt saw Rhodes hold on to the lead as Nemechek pushed past Creed for second place. But a stack-up ensued behind them coming out of Turn 1, and the stalled truck of Jennifer Jo Cobb forced what would be the final yellow of the night.
STAGE 1 WINNER: John Hunter Nemechek
STAGE 2 WINNER: Raphael Lessard
WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Derek Kraus rebounded from an incident-marred season opener last week to finish seventh … Kaz Grala finished eighth subbing for Kris Wright in Young’s Motorsports’ No. 02 Chevrolet. Wright is running full-time for Young’s in Trucks, but is focusing on making his Xfinity debut tomorrow for Sam Hunt Racing.
WHO HAD A BAD RACE: All four Niece Motorsports drivers – Carson Hocevar, Ryan Truex, Brett Moffitt and Jett Noland – were involved in incidents Friday night. Hocevar and Truex were both part of the Lap 31 incident; Hocevar was making his way out of pit road, but crashed in the exit lane and Truex was unable to avoid him.
NOTABLE: Rain showers leading up to the race led NASCAR to declare a wet weather start, with teams installing Goodyear rain tires prior to leaving pit road … 20 of the race’s 51 laps – 39.2 percent – were run under caution. The race was originally scheduled for 44 laps.
NEXT: The Truck Series takes next weekend off before returning to action on Friday, Mar. 5, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (9 p.m. ET, FS1). Austin Hill earned a playoff win in the most recent Truck race there last September.