Swept Up in an Early Race Incident, Ben Rhodes Finishes 30th at Kentucky Speedway

JR Motorsports Race Report

Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015

 

Race 27 of 33: VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 at Kentucky Speedway

Track Specs: 1.5-mile speedway / 200 laps

Weather: Cloudy; 70 deg.

Race Winner: Ryan Blaney

Rhodes’ finish:  30th

 

The No. 88 Alpha Energy Solutions team endured an uncharacteristically tough night at Kentucky Speedway in the VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300, finishing 30th after a wreck ended their evening early with 33 laps to go.

 

Problems occurred from the start of the race for the team. After starting 15th, Rhodes got caught in a wreck on only the third lap after the No. 42 of Brennan Poole got loose in turn two, making contact with Rhodes in the process. The No. 88 was forced into the wall, knocking out the car’s toe and throwing off its steering. Rhodes brought the Alpha Energy Solutions Camaro to pit road several times under that caution as the crew worked hard to make repairs.

 

When the field took the restart and Rhodes raced back up to speed, issues from the earlier incident compounded to give the No. 88 a tight condition. The Alpha Energy Solutions team was still able to stay on the lead lap and hold on until a lap 28 caution flag waved. Once again, the crew got to work on the car, pitting multiple times to work on the issues from the previous wreck. The repairs paid dividends for the team, as Rhodes restarted 26th on lap 33 and methodically cut his way through the field, landing in 14th before the next caution on lap 85.

 

Rhodes would eventually work as high as eighth. But he and the Alpha team would battle the tight-handling condition for the rest of the night. With a gritty determination, Rhodes tried to muscle through the condition, however with 33 laps to go, the right-front tire cut down, sending the No. 88 hard into the wall. The damage ended the race for 18-year-old Rhodes and the Alpha Energy Solutions team.

 

Ryan Blaney took home the win in the 200-lap NASCAR XFINITY Series race followed by Ty Dillon. Rhodes’ JRM teammates Regan Smith and Chase Elliott crossed the line in third and fourth. Brandon Jones rounded out the top five.

 

Ben Rhodes, driver No. 88 Alpha Energy Solutions team

“The tire just went down and we immediately hit the wall. Nothing we could do about it. At that point it destroyed the car for good. It wasn’t our night to begin with. After two laps, somebody got loose underneath us and put us up in the wall. The team did an awesome job recovering from that and I stayed in it all night, just like them. We didn’t quit and we actually got up and raced in the top 10 for a little bit, but the car was so crooked from the wreck that we just couldn’t make do with what we had and that ultimately is what we believe led to the tire going down and us going into the wall.”

 

“It was great to be able to race tonight. It helped knowing that I could race with these guys even with a wounded race car. I had a lot of fun. I learned a lot. We try to do everything we can with controlling the A factors and we did a good job with that tonight, but the B factors took us out of contention. We’ve just got to keep chugging along and hopefully we’ll get a good finish next weekend at Dover.”

 

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