JR Motorsports Race Report
Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015
Race 28 of 33: Hisense 200 at Dover International Speedway
Track Specs: 1-mile concrete oval / 200 laps
Weather: Cloudy; 60 deg.
Race Winner: Regan Smith
Rhodes’ finish: 13th
Ben Rhodes and the No. 88 Alpha Energy Solutions team battled back from a series of misfortunes on Saturday at Dover International Speedway to earn a 13th-place finish in the Hisense 200.
Rain throughout the weekend washed out practice and qualifying at the Monster Mile, and the field was set by owner points. Rhodes took the green flag in 11th position, making his first start at Dover in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. The rookie JR Motorsports driver battled a loose car early in the race, thanks to persistent rain that washed the track clean of rubber earlier in the day. Despite the loose condition, Rhodes moved up to ninth in just 15 laps, but lost control and spun coming off Turn 4 to bring out the caution flag.
Rhodes brought the car to pit road and the Alpha Energy Solutions team went to work repairing damage on the right rear and toe after impact with the wall. Rhodes restarted in 18th, one lap down, after completing two pit stops under the yellow, the latter to serve a pit-road speeding penalty.
Throughout the race, the team continued to work on the car and after receiving the free pass, Rhodes was able to climb back up to ninth place by the halfway point of the 200-lap race. The fourth yellow flag of the day waved at lap 106 and Rhodes headed to pit road. The crew performed a fast stop, making a track-bar adjustment, changing four tires and filling the car with fuel. Rhodes exited pit road in eighth, but received another pit road penalty for speeding on the exit.
Under the caution, rain started to fall, bringing out the red flag for just over 30 minutes. Once the cars rolled back onto the track, Rhodes headed down pit road to serve the penalty and pack the No. 88 Chevy with fuel. Restarting at the tail end of the lead lap with just 82 circuits to go, Rhodes steadily worked his way up to 12th. The additional fuel came in handy as the race would go green until the until the checkered flag. In the final laps, Rhodes radioed to the team that the car was very loose and thought a rear tire might be going down. Rhodes stayed out, however, and held on to finish 13th, one lap down.
Rhodes’ JRM teammate Regan Smith took home the victory, followed by Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson.
Ben Rhodes, driver No. 88 Alpha Energy Solutions team
“Our No. 88 Alpha Energy Solutions Chevy was fast right off the hauler, considering we had no practice. I was a little loose to begin with and got loose on the exit of the turn early in the race. I went to correct it and I hit the apron and lost control. I think if I had taken better care of the car, our team would have had a better finish. The track was changing on us and later in the last run, I just didn’t stay ahead of the track. This was my first start here at Dover in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and without any practice, it was difficult for me to say the least. I know I can do a lot better. The team deserves better for all the hard work they put into it. I want to run well. There are a lot of guys that come and go and I don’t want to be one of them. I’m looking forward to climbing back into the car at Homestead and hopefully bring home a solid finish in my final start of the season for JR Motorsports.”