LOUISVILLE, KY — Louisville, Kentucky, native Ben Rhodes will enter the 2014 finale in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) at Dover International Speedway (DE) on Friday, September 26th, with two new titles attached to his name. The 17-year-old NASCAR Next driver will drive the No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions Chevrolet with Turner Scott Motorsports in the “Drive Sober 150” already being declared the NKNPSE champion and Rookie of the Year, putting just one focus for the 150-lap race: win.
Last time out (NKNPSE) … After earning his sixth pole position of the 2014 season, Rhodes raced to a fourth-place finish at Greenville Pickens Speedway (SC) in the “Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 140” on Saturday, September 6th, earning his 11th top-five finish in 15 starts during the 16-race season.
The champion … With his fourth-place finish at Greenville Pickens Speedway, Rhodes exited the South Carolina event with a 62-point lead in championship standings. With a maximum of 48 points per race and just one race left in the season, Rhodes was declared the official NKNPSE champion.
Rookie of the Year … On Wednesday, September 17th, NASCAR officially announced Rhodes as the 2014 NKNPSE Sunoco Rookie of the Year. In 15 races to date, he has been the Sunoco Rookie of the Race 11 times and has amassed a 36-point lead in the standings (max points per race is 10).
Duel title factoid … Rhodes joins current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Joey Logano, Kyle Larson, and Ryan Truex as the only four drivers in NKNPSE history to win the Sunoco Rookie of the Year and championship in the same season.
2014 Stat Tracker … After 15 races of the 16-race season, Rhodes has an average starting spot of 2.5 (six poles, five outside poles, a fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh) and an average finish of 5.2. He has completed all 1962 laps to date (the only driver to do so in 2014), leading 757 of them. He has five victories, 11 top-five finishes and 13 top-10 finishes.
Dover redemption … Rhodes has made two previous starts at Dover International Speedway and has had success, but not the finishes to show. In 2013, Rhodes raced the NKNPSE event, and after battling from the back of the pack due to a fuel pick-up problem, his No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions Chevrolet Impala ran over debris and hit the wall while running third with 25 laps remaining. In May, 2014, Rhodes raced in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at the track. The No. 32 Alpha Energy Solutions Chevrolet Silverado was strong with Rhodes wheeling it to 10th and moving forward late in the race, but he was collected in an accident that occurred ahead of him, ending his race.
Ben Rhodes Quotes
This will be your first series event since being declared the champion and rookie of the year. Thoughts? “It is pretty cool to enter this race as the champion and the rookie of the year. It is a testament to my entire Turner Scott Motorsports team and their dedication in making it happen this year. I have to thank Alpha Energy Solutions and all my sponsors for their support. Last weekend we were able to race in the ARCA Racing Series event at Kentucky Speedway and put on a show for my home state fans and sponsors, but this will be the first K&N Pro Series East race since we got both titles. I am looking forward to representing NASCAR as the series champion.”
With the points out of the way, how are you approaching the Dover race? “We were fortunate enough to build up a large points lead earlier in the season and maintain it over the last few races. Our goal was to have the title locked up before Dover, and we accomplished that. So now we have two goals for Dover, which is to get our seventh pole position of the year and sixth victory.”
With your strong run last year, do you feel you have some unfinished business at Dover? “Dover was a track I was really looking forward to racing on, and last year in this race we had a fast enough car to win, but had a few things keep us from the victory. I was really disappointed we had that cut tire late in the race because I wanted to take the Miles the Monster trophy home to Kentucky. That is our goal Friday.”
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 16 of 16
Friday, September 26th, 2014
“Drive Sober 150”
Dover International Speedway (1-mile concrete oval) – Dover, Delaware
First Practice Session: (Thursday 9/25) 2pm – 3:10pm ET
Final Practice Session: (Thursday 9/25) 3:50pm – 5pm ET
Qualifying: 11am ET
Autograph Session: 2pm – 2:45pm ET
Green Flag (150 laps): 5pm ET
(times listed in local track / eastern time zone)
-Ben Rhodes PR. Photo Credit: Speed51.com