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Jun 19, 2013 - 04:26 PM
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NASCAR Next Driver Ben Rhodes to Focus on NASCAR Events for Remainder of 2013
Posted by: newsla on Jun 19, 2013 - 04:24 PM
NASCAR News
NASCAR Next Driver Ben Rhodes to Focus on NASCAR Events for Remainder of 2013


To prepare for the 2014 full season of racing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East with Turner Scott Motorsports, where he will race for Rookie of the Year honors as well as the championship, 16-year-old Louisville, Kentucky, native Ben Rhodes will switch focus for the remainder of the 2013 season, racing only in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series events at various tracks with his Hawk-McCall Motorsports team alongside his already-scheduled NASCAR K&N Pro Series East part-time schedule with TSM. The change starts this weekend as Rhodes, who was recently selected as one of 13 NASCAR Next drivers, will pilot the No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions Late Model Stock at Kingsport Speedway (TN) on Friday, June 21st.

 

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Rhodes has had several strong runs in big races under the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series banner, including being in contention late in the race at Martinsville Speedway (VA) in the 2012 “Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300” event, finishing second in the “UNOH Battle at the Beach” at Daytona International Speedway (FL) in February 2013, battling for the win on the last lap in the “Myrtle Beach 400” at Myrtle Beach Speedway (SC) in March, and finishing third behind NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regulars Kyle Busch and David Ragan in the “Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown” at Richmond International Raceway (VA) in April.

There were already several big NASCAR Whelen All-American Series events previously scheduled for the rest of Rhodes’ 2013 season, including the “Rusty Harpe Memorial” at Caraway Speedway (NC), the “Bobby Isaac Memorial” at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC), and the return to Martinsville Speedway and Myrtle Beach Speedway for their big events. However Rhodes will now add several NASCAR-sanctioned races to his racing schedule, including this Friday at Kingsport Speedway.

“NASCAR has a great program for racers to have fun and race weekly at various tracks across the country,” said Rhodes. “Up until now this year we have only raced a few big events under NASCAR sanctioning, but now we are going to race at various tracks during the rest of the year in a few shorter local races as well as the longer ones and have some fun. I am looking forward to Friday’s race at Kingsport Speedway.”

Recently Rhodes headed to Langley Speedway in Virginia to support his Turner Scott Motorsports teammates during a test session for this weekend’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series East event. After watching the test, especially after finishing fifth overall and third for the East drivers in the East – West combo event at Iowa Speedway (IA) on June 7th, Rhodes was eyeing going to Langley with his No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions TSM Chevrolet instead of racing Kingsport, but he cannot add anymore KNPSE races this season to his schedule.

“We really want to race for the Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East next year and chase the championship at the same time, so we cannot add anymore races to our part-time schedule this year to keep the rookie eligibility for 2014,” explained Rhodes. “We still have four more races though this year already scheduled, so my TSM team will focus on those races in the K&N Pro Series East, and I will race with Hawk-McCall Motorsports on the Whelen All-American Series side.”

In June, Rhodes was selected by the NASCAR Selection Committee to the NASCAR Next program for 2013 – 2014, an industry initiative to help spotlight NASCAR’s rising stars. The program demonstrates NASCAR’s commitment to the future of the sport by identifying young drivers to help shape and mold them to carry the sport in years to come, and Rhodes wants to give back by supporting NASCAR’s developmental programs throughout the season.

“My first ever Late Model Stock race was in a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series race at Hickory Motor Speedway in July, 2011. NASCAR has a great program for drivers that just want to race at local levels as well as those that want to learn and move up through the sport and race in the various levels of competition. There are many NASCAR tracks of all different shapes and sizes, and short races and long races. Everything a driver needs to develop themselves for their next step in the sport is right there under the NASCAR banner, and I am proud to be a part of it as well as representing NASCAR in the Next program.”

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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