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Feb 11, 2013 - 06:47 PM
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Ben Rhodes Ready To Race In Daytona UNOH Battle At The Beach
Posted by: newsla on Feb 11, 2013 - 06:41 PM
NASCAR News
Ben Rhodes Ready To Race In Daytona UNOH Battle At The Beach


Just like many young racers across the country, 15-year-old Louisville, Kentucky, native Ben Rhodes has always aspired to one day race at Daytona International Speedway in Florida. On Monday, February 18th, Rhodes will see his aspiration come to fruition as he kicks off his 2013 racing season by entering the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series portion of the UNOH Battle At The Beach, piloting the No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions Late Model with Hawk-McCall Motorsports.

 

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“Daytona is a track I have always wanted to race at since I started my driving career,” said Rhodes. “I have been waiting for months for this race and I cannot wait to take to the track for the first time.”

The inaugural UNOH Battle At The Beach features three races and divisions over a two-day span on a 0.4-mile flat oval, situated on the super stretch of the Daytona International Speedway 2.5-mile track. The layout of the track has long straight-aways with very tight, flat corners, which might be an advantage for the teen racer, who has had a lot of experience and victories on flat tracks.

“A few years ago I raced a lot on the Kentucky Speedway Legends Car track and at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the Summer Shootout Series,” said Rhodes. “Even though they are a bit shorter and I was in a different car, they are both very flat tracks with tight corners. The basic concepts will be the same, just on a larger scale with a heavier car.”

Rhodes, who turns 16 a few days after the UNOH Battle at the Beach, started racing Karts in 2004. After winning races and championships in both Karts and Bandoleros, Rhodes moved up to Legends Car competition. In 2011 he celebrated more championships to compliment his season’s 43 victories, more than any other driver internationally. His success translated over to Late Models with several starts in 2011 and a full season of racing in 2012 with Marcos Ambrose Motorsport.

Rhodes turned heads in April in the invite-only Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown at Richmond International Raceway (VA), finishing sixth behind top NASCAR stars as the highest-finishing rookie in the race.

Late in 2012 Rhodes joined Hawk-McCall Motorsports. Led by NASCAR veteran Lee McCall, the two paired up to qualify in and compete up front in the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300 at Martinsville Speedway (VA).

“Lee was my crew chief when I first started Late Model racing with Marcos Ambrose Motorsport, so it was great getting back into the seat with him again, this time at Hawk-McCall Motorsports,” explained Rhodes. “We have great communication and that helped us qualify in to the Martinsville race and race towards the front. That track has long straights and tight corners, just like the new Daytona track, so that should translate over well to our efforts in Florida.”

Rhodes and McCall have one other possible advantage for Daytona that might help them “smoke” the field.

“We will be using our white-schemed cars during most races in 2013, but we are taking our black-schemed car nicknamed ‘Smoke’ to Daytona,” said Rhodes. “That chassis is what Tony Stewart used with Lee to win the 2012 Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown at Richmond, and I drove it at the Martinsville race. The car drives great and Tony has won many times at Daytona, so we are going to use that combination to help bring us some luck in our first race of 2013.”

Daytona will kick off a full season of racing for Rhodes, who will enter multiple NASCAR Whelen All-American Series races and compete for the championship in the UARA-STARS Late Model Stock tour with Hawk-McCall Motorsports as well as racing several NASCAR K&N Pro Series East events with Turner Scott Motorsports. He is sponsored by Alpha Energy Solutions as well as Alliance Comfort Systems, Kentucky National Guard, Refrigerant Rescue, and Park Community Federal Credit Union.

Practice for the UNOH Battle at the Beach NASCAR Whelen All-American Series event on Monday, February 18th, kicks off at 9AM Eastern, followed by an autograph session with the fans from 2:30PM -3:30PM. Qualifying heat races begin at 4PM with a last-chance race at 6:15PM. Driver introductions will take place at 6:50PM with the green flag dropping for 150 laps of competition at 7PM. The event will be broadcast live on SPEED TV and heard on SiriusXM NASCAR (channel 90) and MRN (streaming at www.motorracingnetwork.com) beginning at 7PM Eastern.

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