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Apr 02, 2013 - 07:53 PM
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Ben Rhodes To Compete In Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown With Tony Stewart
Posted by: newsla on Apr 02, 2013 - 07:53 PM
Ben Rhodes To Compete In Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown With Teammate Tony Stewart

16-year-old Louisville, Kentucky, native Ben Rhodes has received an invite and will compete in the 2013 Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown at Richmond International Raceway (VA) on Thursday, April 25th, driving the No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions Late Model Stock with Hawk-McCall Motorsports. Rhodes will be teammates with three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart, who won last year’s event while Rhodes finished sixth, the highest-finishing rookie in the race.


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In 2012, Rhodes, who was 15 years old at the time, was invited to compete as a wild card in the event. In just his 13th-career start in a Late Model, he raced the No. 91 Stanley / Alpha Energy Solutions Ford with Marcos Ambrose Motorsport from the 13th starting spot to fourth, but on a late-race restart, a missed shift by a competitor with 12 laps to go shuffled him back to sixth.

“We had a great car last year,” said Rhodes. “I really thought we had a car to get up behind Tony Stewart at the end, but when Jeff Burton missed the shift, it shuffled us backwards. I had a faster car than the drivers in front of me and had an opportunity to make a risky move on the last lap, but I didn’t want to put myself in a bad position. I was there to learn and gain respect from the other drivers, so I took the sixth-place finish.”

His clean and solid performance last year as the highest-finishing rookie of the race behind veteran NASCAR and experienced local Late Model racers Stewart, Greg Edwards, Brandon Butler, Burton, and Joey Logano earned him an invite for the 2013 race.

“We are thrilled to have Ben back for the 2013 running of the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown,” said Buck Reuss, race coordinator of the event. “He did an amazing job last year and we cannot wait to see what he can accomplish in his racing career.”

Earlier this season, Rhodes won his heat race, started on the pole, and raced to a second-place finish behind his Hawk-McCall Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series UNOH Battle At The Beach at Daytona International Speedway (FL). For the Short Track Showdown, Rhodes will race the chassis nicknamed “Smoke” that Stewart won last year’s race with while his event teammate Stewart will drive “Alice,” the chassis Larson won Daytona with.

“I really appreciate the invite back this year because it is a fun race and for a good cause,” said Rhodes. “This year I get to go back as a Hawk-McCall Motorsports teammate with Tony Stewart, which is amazing. He is one of the best drivers in America, and I cannot wait for April 25th to get here.”

Besides racing in the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown, Rhodes will also compete in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East event the same day with Turner Scott Motorsports and his crew chief McCall in the No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions Chevrolet, his second start in the series. In March, Rhodes was fastest in practice in his series debut at Bristol Motor Speedway (TN) when oil dumped on the track from a car in front of him forced him into the wall. The chassis nicknamed “Sweetness” was too damaged to continue, so with no laps on his back-up car, Rhodes timed in 21st, racing to a ninth-place finish.

“Our primary car was very fast at Bristol and I really think we could have had a shot to win with it or at least a top-three finish,” said Rhodes. “It was damaged pretty good, but the Turner Scott Motorsports team worked hard and has ‘Sweetness’ fixed and ready for Richmond.

“Hawk-McCall Motorsports and Turner Scott Motorsports both have race-winning cars for me to drive in the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race. We are going to see if we can put both cars in victory lane.”

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.

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