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Rhodes Salvages 11th at Pocono After Wreck

LONG POND, Pa. — The No. 41 Toyota of Ben Rhodes looked like the fastest ThorSport Racing truck at the start of Saturday’s Pocono Mountains 150 but had to settle for an 11th-place finish after an on-track incident with Jordan Anderson.

Anderson, in the No. 66 Chevrolet and Rhodes got tangled up on Lap 39 in the middle of Turn 1. Rhodes had the bottom line, and Anderson was trying to close the gap on him. The two spun, bringing out the seventh caution of the race. Both drivers were flirting with the top 10 before the wreck, with Rhodes running as high as second on the day.

“We had really good speed in the truck, and I think we had something to contend for the win today,” Rhodes told POPULAR SPEED. “We ran second behind William [Byron] in the beginning for a good part of the race, and we were gapping the guys behind us.”

During the fourth caution, Rhodes was penalized on pit road for too many men over the wall. He restarted from the tail of the field and wasn’t able to climb into the top five after. While racing mid-pack, he and Anderson got too close, and neither could save their trucks from getting sideways.

“We came down pit road and had a penalty,” Rhodes said. “Then when we got back out, we got collected with the 66 — he pinched us down too much, and he took the air away. We still salvaged the day with an 11th-place finish, but we’re not points racing — we’re trying to get wins.”

While Rhodes wasn’t happy with the outcome of the race, he knew the skirmish with Anderson wasn’t intentional. But he made a point of what knowledge a driver can learn from running around fellow competitors throughout the season

“I know it was a racing deal, and he didn’t mean to do it, but I’m still really disappointed with the situation,” Rhodes said. “We had a second-place truck, and he knew we had a really good truck, and he chopped us down to the bottom. We definitely had the spot, and he just held me too close to my right side. You don’t have to touch people at such fast tracks to wreck him, just get near him.

“You have to know who you can race around in this series. People have opinions of me, and I have opinions of other people. You just collect facts and take notes and learn who you can race around and what their driving styles are.”

Rhodes sits 12 in the standings, 18 points behind the eighth-place Chase cutoff — currently tied between Cameron Hayley and Ben Kennedy. Anderson, who ran as high as eighth at the Tricky Triangle, finished 14th and is 22nd in points.

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By John Haverlin

John Haverlin is currently studying Communication at Arizona State University. He has been a reporter at Phoenix International Raceway for three years and has written news stories for the track's official site. Born and raised in Long Island, N.Y., Haverlin has lived in Arizona the past three years.