The Camping World Truck Series race at Iowa Speedway brought much-needed joy to the entire ThorSport Racing family.
Just days after a fire consumed part of their race shop, the organization put two trucks in the top five. Cameron Hayley and Ben Rhodes contended for the victory in the race’s late stages yet finished third and fourth, respectively.
Hayley fought a tight truck throughout the race, yet the No. 13 came alive after the late-race red flag.
“Our Cabinets by Hayley Tundra kind of came alive there after the red flag, and at that point, it’s whoever makes the best moves at the right time,” he said. “William Byron made the best moves at the right time, and I’m just happy to come home third.”
His career-best finish was even sweeter in light of the team’s current rebuild, which Hayley experienced first-hand early Monday morning.
“As everyone knows, it’s been a tough week at ThorSport Racing, to say the least,” Hayley said. “I was a part of that first-hand. I got the call about 5:30 Monday morning. I was there at 5:30 and probably spent upwards of 36 hours – both me and the team – cleaning the trucks, getting things ready, working out of a parking lot trying to get to this race. To come out here with a third-place finish is not just amazing for me but for the organization as a whole. We really came together as a team.”
Rhodes and his No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions team, however, felt like there was a lot left on the table; after his run-in with Johnny Sauter at Kansas Speedway earlier this season, Rhodes admitted he ran conservatively to preserve their trucks. He had Iowa circled on his calendar as the race to go all-out, but the shop fire changed those plans. Despite that, he was able to keep up with the difficult conditions and green flag runs.
“We really needed to be on the outside to keep our momentum up,” Rhodes said. “That’s what our truck really struggled with on the bottom. It was just tough. On those long runs, we have a lot of speed, and I felt like we had the fastest truck tonight.”
Rhodes admitted the fire affected his mentality in the closing laps.
“I’m really proud of all our guys on the Alpha Energy Solutions Toyota Tundra tonight. They have worked their butts off all week after the fire. We only had two trucks tonight, and we only have two trucks for the next race so it’s really hard to try to race for a win and have that on your mind.”
“I’m really proud of all our guys on the Alpha Energy Solutions Toyota Tundra tonight,” Rhodes said. “They have worked their butts off all week after the fire. We only had two trucks tonight, and we only have two trucks for the next race so it’s really hard to try to race for a win and have that on your mind.”
In addition to Hayley and Rhodes, ThorSport Racing driver Matt Crafton grabbed an eighth-place finish. Rico Abreu, coming off a second-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway, encountered issues throughout the race. After spinning near the halfway mark, Abreu was just outside the top 10 before overheating under the red flag.
ThorSport general manager David Pepper spoke at the track and reiterated that the organization would run the schedule as previously planned and remain competitive despite the circumstances. The team is full of people that refuse to quit, and Hayley wanted to reward the team in the best way possible – with a victory.
“I wish we could’ve gotten [team owner Duke Thorson] the win,” Hayley said, adding, “But to come from where this team was on Monday to where we are now is just amazing. I just want to thank everyone for that.”
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