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Apr 21, 2014 - 04:02 PM
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Ben Rhodes No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions Chevrolet Preview: Richmond
Posted by: newsla on Apr 21, 2014 - 03:55 PM
NASCAR News
Ben Rhodes No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions Chevrolet Preview: Richmond


Ben Rhodes and the No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions Chevrolet Impala team travel to Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia, this weekend for the “Blue Ox 100” NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) race, the fifth race of the 16-race season. The 17-year-old Louisville, Kentucky, native and NASCAR Next driver will be making his 12th series start with Turner Scott Motorsports.

 

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Last Time Out… In the fourth race of 2014, Rhodes drove the No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions Chevrolet to victory lane at Greenville Pickens Speedway (SC) on March 22nd. The win was his first-career win in his 11th start in the series.

Pole Roll… Rhodes has been on a hot streak during qualifying in 2014. In the season-opener at New Smyrna Speedway (FL), he started on the outside pole. Two days later at Daytona International Speedway (FL), Rhodes earned his first-series pole, and currently has three in a row, earning the pole position at the next two events at Bristol Motor Speedway (TN) and Greenville Pickens Speedway.

Leader of the Pack… For the first time in his career, Rhodes, a rookie in the series, leads the championship points by seven points heading into Richmond. Also, Rhodes currently leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year points by 12 points over second.

Richmond Experience… Rhodes is not a stranger to the 0.75-mile D-shaped oval of Richmond. As a wild card invitee, he finished sixth in the 2012 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown Late Model Stock event, and followed that up in 2013 with a third-place finish behind NASCAR Sprint Cup regulars Kyle Busch and David Ragan. In 2013 he also raced in the NKNPSE event at the track, driving from 25th to within the top 10 before being sidelined with an oil leak (finished 35th).

Ben Rhodes on Racing at Richmond International Raceway

Why is Richmond one of your favorite tracks? “Before I raced in a Late Model at Richmond, I practiced on a simulator to learn the line and just really enjoyed running laps on the track. That helped out when I went there for the first time and it was even more fun than it was on the computer. The characteristic of the track lends itself to great battles and a really fun race for the drivers and fans.”

Last year you didn’t qualify so well. Are you shooting for your fourth pole in a row this time around? “Last year I messed up qualifying pretty bad. I was running the Late Model and the K&N car on the same day, so I was back and forth between both cars and they handle different there. When I went to qualify the K&N car I wasn’t as focused on it as I should have been and I clipped the apron in turn three and four. It killed both laps and put us in the back. This year I have really worked on my focus and my Alpha team has given me a great set-up that helped me get three poles and an outside pole. It would be great to get four in a row, but we will see what happens.”

Is there added pressure going into the race as the points leader? “I wouldn’t say there is added pressure, but it is something we do not want to lose. Sometimes things happen like at Daytona when we got caught up in a wreck that we couldn’t do anything about, but we have been fortunate so far in the other three races to have great finishes, and it got us the points lead. As long as we keep doing what we are doing and do not have bad luck, we can keep the No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions Chevrolet in the points lead and be there at the end of the year for the championship.”

Sponsor Support
In 2014, Ben Rhodes is sponsored by Alpha Energy Solutions, Alliance Comfort Systems, Kentucky National Guard, Park Community Credit Union, and Refrigerant Rescue.

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