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Mar 07, 2013 - 06:15 AM
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Ben Rhodes Set For UARA-Stars Season Opener
Posted by: newsla on Mar 07, 2013 - 06:12 AM
NASCAR News
Ben Rhodes Set For UARA-Stars Season Opener At Southern National Motorsports Park


A few short weeks ago, the then 15-year-old Ben Rhodes started his 2013 racing season at Daytona International Speedway (FL) by winning his heat race, starting on pole, and leading 87 of the 150 laps en route to a second-place finish in the UNOH Battle At The Beach NASCAR Whelen All-American Series event. Now, a few weeks later and after his 16th birthday, the Louisville, Kentucky, native will travel to Southern National Motorsports Park in Kenly, North Carolina, with the Hawk-McCall Motorsports team entering the No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions ride in to the UARA-STARS Late Model Stock season opener. The 150-lap event on Saturday, March 9th, will be the first of 16 races Rhodes will enter in the UARA series this season, challenging for the series championship.

 

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“The 2013 season of UARA racing is something I am really ready to start,” said Rhodes. “I haven’t raced in the series since October last year, so I am very anxious to get back in the car and take the green flag.”

Rhodes entered the UARA-STARS tour in 2012 as a rookie, earning the Rookie of the Race award in the first race of the season with crew chief Lee McCall, driving the No. 9 Stanley / Alpha Energy Solutions Ford with Marcos Ambrose Motorsport. McCall and the team parted ways mid-season, and after a challenging year, Rhodes reunited with McCall at the newly-formed Hawk-McCall Motorsports team, choosing to skip the final-two 2012 UARA events. Despite missing those races, he still finished ninth in the season point standings.

“The beginning of last year was initially great and even though we were caught up in a few wrecks we were having many top-five runs and almost won at Hickory in June,” said Rhodes. “But we started to struggle during the rest of the season, so it was time for a change. We thought about entering the final two UARA events of 2012 with Hawk-McCall Motorsports, but we didn’t want to rush things. We all decided it was best to sit out the final two UARA races and work on getting the cars ready for a few end-of-year events. It was really hard, especially skipping Rockingham, but we knew it was the right decision.”

To get prepared for the 2013 UARA-STARS season, Rhodes entered three races with Hawk-McCall Motorsports. In October he qualified for the “Virginia Is for Racing Lovers 300” race at Martinsville Speedway (VA), racing his way up towards the front and leading laps during the event. In November, Rhodes qualified 10th for the big “Myrtle Beach 400” race at Myrtle Beach Speedway (SC) before weather postponed the event until this season.

Showing he is ready for a full assault on the 2013 UARA tour, Rhodes and the Hawk-McCall Motorsports team shined in Daytona during the UNOH Battle At The Beach in February.

“Daytona was an important start to our season,” said Rhodes. “The two races at the end of last year Lee and I figured we would use to get back to what we had before, but we were on the same page right away. I think I have matured as a driver to give better feedback to Lee on what I feel and want in a car, and that translated over to Daytona and our great showing there. We are all very confident about where we are and where we are going with our program.”

Before turning laps at Daytona, Rhodes tested his Late Model at Southern National Motorsports Park for the first time in January.

“We had a very good and fun test at Southern National,” said Rhodes. “It was the first time I had been to the track, and it is pretty cool. It is a fast track and our test helped us understand what we will need for the race this weekend. The No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions Late Model should be fast out of the trailer.”

In 2013, Rhodes is sponsored by Alpha Energy Solutions as well as Alliance Comfort Systems, Kentucky National Guard, Refrigerant Rescue, and Park Community Federal Credit Union.

Qualifying for the UARA-STARS 150-lap season opener at Southern National Motorsports Park will take place on Saturday, March 9th, at 12:30pm with racing starting at 2pm. For more information on the event, visit the series website at www.uara-stars.com or the track website at www.snmpark.com. Rhodes’ race day updates can be followed on his Twitter at www.twitter.com/benrhodesinc.

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