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.”
|1||2||99||Ben Rhodes||ThorSport Racing||Toyota||150||Running|
|2||6||42||Carson Hocevar||Niece Motorsports||Chevrolet||150||Running|
|3||18||4||John Hunter Nemechek||Kyle Busch Motorsports||Toyota||150||Running|
|4||4||75||Parker Kligerman||Henderson Motorsports||Chevrolet||150||Running|
|5||19||98||Christian Eckes||ThorSport Racing||Toyota||150||Running|
|6||1||54||Joey Logano*||David Gilliland Racing||Ford||150||Running|
|7||7||7||Chase Elliott*||Spire Motorsports||Chevrolet||150||Running|
|8||16||23||Grant Enfinger||GMS Racing||Chevrolet||150||Running|
|9||14||88||Matt Crafton||ThorSport Racing||Toyota||150||Running|
|10||17||38||Zane Smith||Front Row Motorsports||Ford||150||Running|
|11||3||52||Stewart Friesen||Halmar Friesen Racing||Toyota||150||Running|
|12||12||91||Colby Howard||McAnally-Hilgemann Racing||Chevrolet||150||Running|
|13||33||61||Chase Purdy||Hattori Racing Enterprises||Toyota||150||Running|
|14||10||20||Austin Dillon*||Young’s Motorsports||Chevrolet||150||Running|
|15||35||15||Tanner Gray||David Gilliland Racing||Ford||150||Running|
|16||27||40||Dean Thompson||Niece Motorsports||Chevrolet||150||Running|
|17||21||33||Mike Marlar||Reaume Brothers Racing||Toyota||150||Running|
|18||26||1||Hailie Deegan||David Gilliland Racing||Ford||150||Running|
|19||5||18||Chandler Smith||Kyle Busch Motorsports||Toyota||150||Running|
|20||23||17||Harrison Burton*||David Gilliland Racing||Ford||150||Running|
|21||8||66||Ty Majeski||ThorSport Racing||Toyota||150||Running|
|22||13||24||Jack Wood||GMS Racing||Chevrolet||150||Running|
|23||29||56||Timmy Hill||Hill Motorsports||Toyota||150||Running|
|24||34||12||Spencer Boyd||Young’s Motorsports||Chevrolet||150||Running|
|25||28||9||Blaine Perkins||CR7 Motorsports||Chevrolet||150||Running|
|26||25||02||Kaz Grala||Young’s Motorsports||Chevrolet||150||Running|
|27||32||51||Buddy Kofoid||Kyle Busch Motorsports||Toyota||150||Running|
|28||24||30||Tate Fogleman||On Point Motorsports||Toyota||149||Running|
|29||15||19||Derek Kraus||McAnally-Hilgemann Racing||Chevrolet||149||Running|
|30||31||45||Lawless Alan||Niece Motorsports||Chevrolet||149||Running|
|31||20||16||Tyler Ankrum||Hattori Racing Enterprises||Toyota||147||Running|
|32||22||49||Andrew Gordon||G2G Racing||Ford||146||Running|
|33||30||44||Kris Wright||Niece Motorsports||Chevrolet||146||Running|
|34||36||43||Keith McGee||Reaume Brothers Racing||Chevrolet||146||Running|
|35||9||25||Matt DiBenedetto||Rackley WAR||Chevrolet||145||Running|
|36||11||22||Austin Wayne Self||AM Racing||Chevrolet||143||Running|
|DNQ||62||Jessica Friesen||Halmar Friesen Racing||Toyota|
|DNQ||6||Norm Benning||Norm Benning Racing||Chevrolet|
* – Ineligible for Truck points