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May 19, 2014 - 05:15 PM
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Beast In The East - Ben 'The Savage' Rhodes Wins At Iowa Speedway
Posted by: newsla on May 19, 2014 - 05:14 PM
NASCAR News
Beast In The East - Ben 'The Savage' Rhodes Wins At Iowa Speedway


17-year old Louisville, Kentucky, native and current NASCAR K&N Pro Series East points leader Ben “The Savage” Rhodes led the final 115 of 150 laps in the “Casey’s General Store 150” East / West combination race, picking up the victory on Saturday, May 17th, at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. The win was the NASCAR Next driver’s second of the season, which helped extend his points lead in both the championship and rookie of the year standings.

 

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Driving the No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions Chevrolet with Turner Scott Motorsports, Rhodes was third fast in both practice sessions during the day. In qualifying he turned in the second-fastest time, which earned him his fifth front row starting spot of six races to date this season.

During the race, Rhodes was able to maneuver through lapped traffic better than the early leader, weaving his way by for the top spot by lap 36. Just 10 laps later, a scare occurred when he radioed his crew he ran over debris on the front stretch. Despite some fender damage, Rhodes was able to keep the Alpha ride in the top spot until the halfway break when the team discovered the debris also caused a pinhole leak in his right front tire.

After the Alpha team fueled the No. 41 and bolted on four new tires, Rhodes paced the field during the second half of the event, holding on to the top spot and earning his second-career victory, giving him a 38-point lead after six of 16 races in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season. He also earned his fifth Sunoco Rookie of the Race award and third Autolite Iridium XP Lap Leader Award (has led 381 of the 832 laps this season).

Ben Rhodes Quotes

Tell us about your second career win in the series. “This was a great weekend for my Alpha Energy Solutions team. We were pretty good in practice, but there were a couple cars I felt were going to be hard to beat. The 43 (Brodie Kostecki) was really fast, but the track started to change in our favor and I was able to steal the lead away from him early. We got real lucky in the first half because I hit some debris on the track that damaged my fender and we found out later it put a hole in the tire. But the second half of the race I just ran as hard as I needed to keep the lead until about 30 laps to go. We made the right changes during the break to keep up with the changing track and we were able to pull off the win.”

Did you feel the tire going down? “Something didn’t feel right after we hit that debris. It was a fender brace or something off someone else’s car and by the time I saw it I couldn’t avoid hitting it. Luckily it was a small puncture and the tire was just slow leaking, so we made it to the halfway break without it going down and sending me into the wall.”

You did have some pressure from behind the second half. Did you think you could keep the lead? “At one point during the second half my TSM teammates Scott Heckert and Brandon Jones were right behind me and we were in the top-three spots. Scott was driving in harder in the corner than I was, but I was able to pull away coming off the corner. I didn’t want to risk hurting my tires, so I thought about letting them go if they pressured me too hard, but I was able to save some tires and keep the top spot. Knowing it was Scott right behind me too helped. He is a great driver, a teammate, and a friend. He is a clean racer and I knew he wasn’t going to wreck me to get by.”

How do you feel winning the race for the East drivers in the East / West battle? “It is pretty cool to win this not only for our team but for us East drivers. Twice a year we have the East / West combination races at Iowa Speedway. The first race last year was won by a West driver and the second by an East driver. So keeping that trophy here is big for us East racers. When we go back in August I have a feeling the West drivers are really going to bring everything they can to take the crown back.”

You extended your points lead again this race. Too early to think championship? “It is never too early to think about doing what you can to win a championship, but there are still 10 races left. We are fortunate to be in a great position now and having another good points day helps, but anything can happen. Last year my TSM teammate Dylan Kwasniewski had a huge points lead and had bad luck that almost cost him the championship. The best thing we can do is just keep performing the way we have been and hope when the season ends we are still on top.”

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.

Race Breakdown
NASCAR K&N Pro Series East - Race 6 of 16
Saturday, May 17th, 2014
“Casey’s General Store 150”
Iowa Speedway (0.875-mile asphalt oval) – Newton, Iowa
Start: 2nd
Finish: 1st
Laps Completed (Led): 150 (115)
Championship Points Position: 1st (by 38 points)
Rookie of the Year Points Position: 1st
TV Broadcast: FOX Sports 1 on Saturday, May 24th at 8:30am (Eastern)

Next Races
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Friday, May 30th, 2014
“Lucas Oil 200”
Dover International Speedway (1.0-mile concrete oval) – Dover, Delaware

NASCAR K&N Pro Series East - Race 7 of 16
Saturday, May 31st, 2014
“NASCAR Hall of Fame 150”
Bowman Gray Stadium (0.25-mile asphalt oval) – Winston-Salem, North Carolina

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