Ben Rhodes Slide Jobs Late To Win Bristol Dirt Race

In a word

Ben Rhodes passed John Hunter Nemechek and Carson Hocevar with less than five laps to go to claim his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory of 2022 in the dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday evening April 16. Hocevar and Nemechek finished second and third respectively, followed by Parker Kligerman and Christian Eckes in fourth and fifth.

The victory that could have been

There were only two leaders in Saturday night’s dirty event – Rhodes and Hocevar.

Rhodes took the win on Saturday night, but before the final warning flag, Hocevar was on course for his first career Truck Series victory.

After Rhodes swept both stages one and two, the #99 Toyota finally came to a halt after most of the peloton, who had already stopped after the conclusion of stage one, stayed away . That left the door open for 19-year-old Niece Motorsports driver to inherit the lead – and even keep it.

For 55 of the 150 laps covered to this point, and after four cautions and three restarts, Hocevar held off hard chargers like Nemechek and Kligerman to maintain his lead.

But he couldn’t save it for a fourth restart.

Rhodes, who had started fourth, tore through the high line and blew through Nemechek’s No. 4 on the final restart with six laps to go. With just four laps to go and only the No. 42 ahead of him, Rhodes pulled off some sliding work – a staple move in the world of track racing – to take the lead from Hocevar.

Hocevar finished second. Another opportunity in that increasingly elusive first win was gone.

Race Notes

Dirt Aces and Dirt Rookies

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series features two dirt races on the series schedule, the best of all the top three national series.

Like NASCAR’s road-racing ringers (drivers who live their racing in the world of sportscars or open-wheel car racing), we’ll often see dirt-track aces enter the sport to hone their skills. try to production cars.

Saturday night had its fair share.

Most significant was the first start of Buddy Kofoid, the current defending USAC National Midget Series Champion.

Kofoid drove the No. 51 for Kyle Busch Motorsports on Saturday night, starting 32nd and finishing his first Truck Series start in 27th – although looking at where he started and where he finished certainly doesn’t do his efforts justice. At one point, Kofoid was indeed a threat to victory.

After cracking the top 10 and finishing seventh on stage two, Kofoid seemed shaken by the leaders among his KBM teammate Nemechek. In the closing stages of the race, his clay prowess was on full display, and with 10 laps to go, he toppled eventual leader Rhodes for position.

Behind him was Ty Majeski, and unlike Kofoid, Saturday night was Majeski’s first ever clay race, period.

Majeski, who had grown up competing in iRacing and racing late models on short asphalt tracks, had never raced a dirt track in his life. It seemed hard to believe, as for most of the night the #66 truck competed in the top five.

With 10 laps to go, however, their worlds collided. Literally.

Majeski would end his evening 21st.

Self and DiBenedetto tangle…literally

Just when you think you’ve seen it all.

It was shortly after the start of the final stage when Austin Wayne Self and Matt DiBenedetto found themselves in the middle of a dirt sandwich as everyone clamored for position. Amidst the mess, DiBenedetto attempted to pull a slide on Self’s No. 22.

Self hit the back of DiBenedetto and kept pushing him through the rest of the turn. Then he kept pushing him right away. Then in the next corner.

It was around that time that they probably realized something was wrong.

While still connected, Self and DiBenedetto pulled up on the straight, leaving fans perplexed, drivers, officials and just about anyone you can think of in the world of NASCAR all scratching their heads. of confusion.

It took a six-minute red flag, a tow truck and many members of the security team to uncouple the two Chevrolet trucks.

Self (who at one point was third) and DiBenedetto finished 35th and 36th, second to last and last, as a result.

2022 Rookie Report

No. 9 – Blaine Perkins
No. 24 – Jack Wood
No. 40 – Dean Thompson
No. 45 – Lawless Alan
No. 51 – Corey Heim

Number of rookies in the race: 4
Number of rookies in the top 10: 0
Race rookie: Thompson (16th)

Points ratio: With his perfect sweep and win, Rhodes not only locked himself into the 2022 Truck Series playoffs, but he also increased his lead in the regular season standings.

Chandler Smith, who is also locked in the playoffs, and Stewart Friesen are second and third, at 38 and 51 points respectively.

Zane Smith, who is also locked in the playoffs, is fourth, followed closely by Nemechek and Eckes. All three are within 72 points of the lead.

Majeski is seventh, with Tanner Gray continuing a quietly successful 2022 in eighth, at 85 points. Hocevar, who put in a strong showing on Saturday night, broke into the top 10 and now sits ninth in the standings, seven points off the playoff streak.

He and Matt Crafton are both in the bubble of the playoff standings, with Grant Finallyger just nine points behind in 11th.

Regular Series Winners: Zane Smith (Daytona, COTA), Chandler Smith (Las Vegas), Ben Rhodes (Bristol Dirt)

Tweetable

Following

After a few weeks off, the Truck Series visits Track Too Tough to Tame, Darlington Raceway.

Coverage of the Dead On Tools 200 in Darlington begins Friday night, May 6 at 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1.

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