NASCAR Truck Series

Ben Rhodes wins Bristol Dirt battle over Carson Hocevar

3 Mins read
Credit: Logan Riely/Getty Images

Carson Hocevar has been searching for his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win and it appeared to finally be in reach during Friday’s Pinty’s Truck Race on Dirt at Bristol Motor Speedway, but Ben Rhodes left him waiting for another day. Both drivers led all 150 laps, but Rhodes dominated the event by sweeping both stages. Although Hocevar led much of the final segment, Rhodes passed him shortly after a restart with four laps remaining to take his first win of 2022.

Rhodes started second alongside Joey Logano, but the former took the lead right away and hit the ground running by leading every lap in Stages #1 and #2. However, it was not smooth sailing for the reigning champion as he had missed pit road between segments; although the stages were short enough that fuel and tyres were not of utmost importance hence his domination of Stage #2, the error forced him to pit ahead of the final stage.

As Rhodes began Stage #3 in thirteenth following his stop, Hocevar—who finished the second stage in eighth—inherited the lead. After only one caution was called in each of the first two stages for Andrew Gordon and Kris Wright‘s spins, the first of the final segment occurred just four laps in for an especially bizarre incident: Austin Wayne Self rammed into Matt DiBenedetto‘s rear, accidentally causing the two trucks to become connected at the bumpers. This pseudo-tandem draft was obviously not a viable “strategy” in dirt racing, forcing the two to stop on the track and wait for crews to separate them.

Three more yellow flags flew in the stage for Keith McGee‘s spin, Chandler Smith turning Christian Eckes, and Buddy Kofoid and Ty Majeski‘s spin that ended with Derek Kraus sliding into the former. The last caution set up a restart with five laps remaining. While Hocevar led the first lap, Rhodes had a run along the outside line to that he used to pass Hocevar with a crossover move. Despite Hocevar and John Hunter Nemechek‘s efforts, Rhodes pulled away.

“Second just sucks. It does. It’s terrible, especially being that close,” Hocevar told FOX Sports.

“We have Bryan Clauson‘s logo on the car and ‘m wearing the shirt still. I was hoping to be able to give him tribute. He was definitely with me tonight. Hopefully, Tim (Clauson, Bryan’s father) and everybody that he really touched was really happy seeing that BC out front again. He was definitely with me tonight running that thing as hard as we were.”

With a dirt victory, Rhodes has now won on nearly every track type in the Truck Series, if not a complete sweep depending on definition. Two of his six career wins (Kentucky and Las Vegas) came on intermediates, one (Darlington) on a more traditional oval, and a 2021 Daytona sweep for superspeedway and road course. While Bristol, being a half-mile circuit, is normally a short track, it is reasonable to balk at giving its dirt layout that label rather than the traditional asphalt. Rhodes can add the pavement version if he wins there on 15 September.

“It was a tough race once the track started to slick off,” said Rhodes. “It held moisture in different pockets around the track. It was hard to hunt for the grip, but luckily, I had a really good team behind me telling me where to go and where they tried to see it. I just tried to follow their instruction.

“I really wanted to get to the front, but it was so hard to pass. I just didn’t want to give it away. I told (FOX analyst) Michael Waltrip that nah, everything was cool. We meant to stay out, but truthfully, mistake by me. We got the stage win because of it, but you don’t want to forfeit the win, so we had to get to the front. I knew we had the truck to beat, we just had to get there.”

Race results

FinishStartNumberDriverTeamManufacturerLapsStatus
1299Ben RhodesThorSport RacingToyota150Running
2642Carson HocevarNiece MotorsportsChevrolet150Running
3184John Hunter NemechekKyle Busch MotorsportsToyota150Running
4475Parker KligermanHenderson MotorsportsChevrolet150Running
51998Christian EckesThorSport RacingToyota150Running
6154Joey Logano*David Gilliland RacingFord150Running
777Chase Elliott*Spire MotorsportsChevrolet150Running
81623Grant EnfingerGMS RacingChevrolet150Running
91488Matt CraftonThorSport RacingToyota150Running
101738Zane SmithFront Row MotorsportsFord150Running
11352Stewart FriesenHalmar Friesen RacingToyota150Running
121291Colby HowardMcAnally-Hilgemann RacingChevrolet150Running
133361Chase PurdyHattori Racing EnterprisesToyota150Running
141020Austin Dillon*Young’s MotorsportsChevrolet150Running
153515Tanner GrayDavid Gilliland RacingFord150Running
162740Dean ThompsonNiece MotorsportsChevrolet150Running
172133Mike MarlarReaume Brothers RacingToyota150Running
18261Hailie DeeganDavid Gilliland RacingFord150Running
19518Chandler SmithKyle Busch MotorsportsToyota150Running
202317Harrison Burton*David Gilliland RacingFord150Running
21866Ty MajeskiThorSport RacingToyota150Running
221324Jack WoodGMS RacingChevrolet150Running
232956Timmy HillHill MotorsportsToyota150Running
243412Spencer BoydYoung’s MotorsportsChevrolet150Running
25289Blaine PerkinsCR7 MotorsportsChevrolet150Running
262502Kaz GralaYoung’s MotorsportsChevrolet150Running
273251Buddy KofoidKyle Busch MotorsportsToyota150Running
282430Tate FoglemanOn Point MotorsportsToyota149Running
291519Derek KrausMcAnally-Hilgemann RacingChevrolet149Running
303145Lawless AlanNiece MotorsportsChevrolet149Running
312016Tyler AnkrumHattori Racing EnterprisesToyota147Running
322249Andrew GordonG2G RacingFord146Running
333044Kris WrightNiece MotorsportsChevrolet146Running
343643Keith McGeeReaume Brothers RacingChevrolet146Running
35925Matt DiBenedettoRackley WARChevrolet145Running
361122Austin Wayne SelfAM RacingChevrolet143Running
DNQ62Jessica FriesenHalmar Friesen RacingToyota
DNQ6Norm BenningNorm Benning RacingChevrolet
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for Truck points
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About author
Justin is a History major at San Jose State University and lifelong racing fan who has worked for The Checkered Flag since 2018. His coverage mainly focuses on NASCAR, the Stadium Super Trucks, and off-road series like Extreme E and SCORE International. He also dabbles in other disciplines such as IndyCar, rallycross, and sports cars.
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