LOUISVILLE, KY (September 30th, 2014) – On Friday, September 26th, 17-year-old Louisville, Kentucky, native and NASCAR Next driver Ben Rhodes completed his rookie season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE), earning his two biggest accomplishments of his young racing career to date. Despite motor problems which resulted in a 15th-place finish in the “Drive Sober 150” at Dover International Speedway (DE), Rhodes, driving the No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions Chevrolet with Turner Scott Motorsports, celebrated the conclusion of the year after the checkered flag as the NKNPSE Champion and Sunoco Rookie of the Year.
Rhodes entered the season finale already clinching both titles, allowing his Alpha team to focus on winning the 150-lap race. After qualifying third, Rhodes raced within the top-three positions until the two-thirds mark of the race when he was able to take over the top spot. However, despite leading 21 laps, Rhodes felt his Chevrolet losing power, resulting in him losing the lead and several positions, eventually finishing 15th, two laps off the lead lap.
Following the race, Rhodes and his team celebrated his 2014 accomplishments as he was presented the NKNPSE championship trophy by NASCAR President Mike Helton. He will by honored for his championship season on Saturday, December 12th, at the NASCAR Touring Series Awards in the Grand Ballroom of the Charlotte Convention Center at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina.
In the 16-race NKNPSE season, Rhodes earned six pole positions (with an average starting position of 2.6), five victories, 11 top-five finishes and 13 top-10 finishes with an average finish of 5.8. He completed 2110 of 2112 laps, leading 778 of them. He also concluded the season with a 60-point lead in the championship standings and a 36-point lead in the rookie of the year standings, and joined 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.
Ben Rhodes Quotes
Talk about the race. “For practice we had a really good race car, but for qualifying it wasn’t so good, so starting third was a great spot for us. From the drop of the green flag I felt we were down on power. As the race went on it was getting worse and worse, and I was hoping to make it all the way, but it started losing more RPMs when I gained the lead. It was disappointing we couldn’t battle for the win, but I still had a great Alpha Energy Solutions Chevrolet and we led some laps in our final race of the season.”
How does it feel to conclude the season with both the championship and rookie of the year honors? “Last year we raced seven races to get prepared for this year, and while we didn’t win any of them, we had a lot of positive momentum going into this season. Our goal at the start of the year was to win many races, the Sunoco Rookie of the Year and the season championship, and we accomplished that. There were more races that I think we could have won, but circumstances took us out of contention. But overall it was a great year for my Turner Scott Motorsports team, and I have to thank Alpha Energy Solutions, Alliance Comfort Systems, Kentucky National Guard, Park Community Credit Union, and Refrigerant Rescue for their support. It was a great year, and I couldn’t have accomplished all of it without them.”
The “Drive Sober 150” will be shown on Saturday, October 4th on FOX Sports 1 at 10am ET.
NASCAR K&N Pro Series East – Race 16 of 16
Friday, September 26th, 2014
Dover International Speedway (1.0-mile concrete oval) – Dover, Delaware
Laps Completed (Led): 148/150 (21)
Final Championship Points Position: 1st (by 60 points) – Official Champion
Final Sunoco Rookie of the Year Points Position: 1st (by 36 points) – Official RoTY
Next Up for Rhodes
While the 2014 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season has come to a conclusion, Rhodes will enter one more race this season, driving the No. 32 Alpha Energy Solutions Chevrolet Silverado with Turner Scott Motorsports in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Phoenix International Raceway (AZ) on Friday, November 7th.
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