Ben Rhodes wins Truck season opener at Daytona
Ben Rhodes won Friday night’s season opener for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Daytona International Speedway in a wild overtime finish.
On the final lap, Cory Roper took the lead in Turn 1 and looked poised to score an upset victory. But off Turn 4, Rhodes was able to get to the outside of Roper. As multiple drivers behind him wrecked, Rhodes completed the pass in the tri-oval to win.
“As a driver, you’re always asked about what your biggest accomplishment is - this is it,” Rhodes told FS1 after the race. “This is, hands down, it. This is the place to be. I can’t even believe it.
”... I’m gonna soak it up for as long as I can. That last Darlington win went by too fast, and you just don’t know when you’re gonna get it again. But I’m gonna enjoy this night. Best night of my life, right here.”
Jordan Anderson took the white flag in 10th place, but made a stellar charge to the front and passed Roper to finish second. It’s the second consecutive runner-up for Anderson in the Truck season opener at Daytona.
Roper’s third-place finish was a career-best for him in the Trucks. Niece Motorsports teammates Ryan Truex and Carson Hocevar completed the top five.
In her full-time Truck debut, Hailie Deegan ran inside the top 10 for much of the race, but spun on Lap 81 and hit the inside backstretch wall.
She drove back to pit road for damage repair and returned to the race. She finished 24th, three laps down.
STAGE 1 WINNER: Raphael Lessard
STAGE 2 WINNER: John Hunter Nemechek
WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Reigning Truck champion Sheldon Creed overcame involvement in a restart crash at Lap 65 to finish sixth ... John Hunter Nemechek, who ran as a Cup Series rookie last year, finished seventh and earned a playoff point in his first race for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
WHO HAD A BAD RACE: A mechanical problem kept Tanner Gray from going at the start of the race and led to a stack-up behind him that eliminated James Buescher and Gus Dean. ... Derek Kraus was involved in three spins and a run-in with Kris Wright on pit road during the Stage 1 break. Kraus was knocked out of the race after spinning into the Turn 4 wall on Lap 53.
NOTABLE: The race’s 10 cautions was one shy of tying the record for a Truck race at Daytona, which was set in 2019. The last of the cautions was the biggest, involving 10 drivers; it came out with six laps to go and sent the race into overtime.
NEXT: The Truck Series returns to action for its second race of the season next Friday, Feb. 19, on the Daytona road course (7:30 p.m. ET, FS1). Sheldon Creed won the Trucks’ inaugural race there last August.