LOUISVILLE, KY – 17-year-old Louisville, Kentucky, native and NASCAR Next driver Ben Rhodes and the No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions Chevrolet Impala Turner Scott Motorsports team head to Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida, for the “Pensacola 150” NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) race on Friday, June 13th. The event will mark the eighth race of the 16-race NKNPSE season, and it will be the debut for Rhodes at the Florida track.
Last Time Out… Rhodes earned his fourth-career pole position at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on Saturday, May 31st, in the “NASCAR Hall of Fame 150” NKNPSE race. Leading all but one lap, Rhodes parked the No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions Chevrolet Impala in victory lane, earning his third-career series victory and second win in a row.
Points Leader … With the Bowman Gray Stadium win, Rhodes increased his NKNPSE championship points lead from 38 points to 49 points ahead of Friday’s race at Five Flags Speedway. He also is the leading driver in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings, increasing the point total from 17 to 21.
2014 Stat Tracker… After seven of the 16-race season, Rhodes has an average starting spot of 1.9 (four poles, two outside poles, and a fifth) and an average finish of 3.9. He has completed all 984 laps to date (the only driver to do so in 2014), leading 502 of them (51-percent of the laps). He has three victories, six top-five finishes and six top-10 finishes.
Ben Rhodes on Racing at Five Flags Speedway
What are your thoughts on Five Flags Speedway? “I am actually pretty excited to race at Five Flags. I have never been there before, but I have heard a lot about the track in the media and from other drivers. I have been told the track is really abrasive so tire conservation will be the key to being there at the end of the race. A lot of big name people have raced and won there, and it is where the Snowball Derby Super Late Model race is held, so it is a pretty special track to race at.”
Does it worry you to go there without any experience? “Not really. It is a one-day show, so I will have to get used to it pretty quick, but I have a great team that will be ready to adjust to what I need on the track. Mark McFarland (crew chief) and I have great communication, which will help to make quick changes during practice to tune in the car. Also, my entire Turner Scott Motorsports crew will have the car ready to race right off the trailer, so we are good to go for this weekend.”
Your Bowman Gray race extended your points lead. Are you on cruise control now? “Not at all. We were very fortunate to have a great race at Bowman Gray and get a victory. I watched the replay on FOX Sports 1 and didn’t realize how much carnage there was during that race. Even though that was a very tight little track, it is easy to get swept up in a wreck at any track. So we are not going to change anything going to Five Flags. Our goal is to perform the best every time we hit the track and the points will fall into place afterwards.”
Does being at the race shop during the summer help you? “Yes, a lot! I completed my junior year of high school and moved down to Mooresville (NC) for the summer, just before Bowman Gray. Every day I am in the shop with my Alpha team helping out and learning different things. I think it is important as a driver to learn as much as I can about building and preparing a race car in the shop. That knowledge helps me discuss changes with Mark at the track depending on how the car is handling. Also, I really enjoy spending time with my crew. We are a team, and anything I can do to help out I want to do.”
In 2014, Ben Rhodes is sponsored by Alpha Energy Solutions, Alliance Comfort Systems, Kentucky National Guard, Park Community Credit Union, and Refrigerant Rescue.
NASCAR K&N Pro Series East – Race 8 of 16
Friday, June 13th, 2014
Five Flags Speedway (0.5-mile asphalt oval) – Pensacola, FL
First Practice Session: 12:45pm – 1:30pm
Final Practice Session: 2pm – 2:45pm
Autograph Session: 7pm
Green Flag (150 laps): 9pm
(times listed in local track / central time zone)
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