Ben Rhodes has come within a single digit number of laps away from victory in each of his two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at Kansas Speedway, only to leave with disappointing finishes.
While racing with Johnny Sauter for the win last year, Rhodes made one final effort to make a move inside of Sauter heading into Turn 3 on the final lap, but the two trucks made contact, crashed, and handed the trophy to William Byron.
A much stronger and more patient performance from Rhodes placed him in a battle with Kyle Busch on Friday night. Through the numerous restarts early, Rhodes learned from the veteran and was able to use what he picked up to keep pace later in the race, take the lead, and set sail.
Rhodes began pulling away from Busch and developed a one-second lead before trouble struck with eight laps remaining. A piece of debris penetrated his No. 27 Toyota Tundra’s grill and went into the radiator, ultimately blowing the engine which handed him a 23rd-place finish.
The Toyota Tundra 250 marked the best performance of Rhodes’ career as he kept up with and had the upper hand over Busch. However, losing the race late seems to attest to the No. 27 Toyota team’s fortune.
“We ran with the best of the best,” Rhodes said. “I was learning from Busch all night long. He’s got more wins than I have in total stock car starts. It’s just crazy because something always goes wrong with our team. We do everything right; we just can never pull one off.”
Rhodes will have another opportunity to battle Busch for a win at a 1.5-mile venue next Friday night as the series heads to Charlotte Motor Speedway, another place where Busch has dominated in the past, but Rhodes could again give Busch a run for his money.
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