Ben Rhodes Brings the Excitement in the Trucks on Bristol Dirt

BRISTOL, TENNESSEE - APRIL 16: Ben Rhodes, driver of the #99 Tenda Toyota, and Joey Logano, driver of the #54 Planet Fitness Ford, race during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Pinty's Truck Race on Dirt at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 16, 2022 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)

Ben Rhodes made good use of his fresher tires with a pass for the lead with four laps to go, never looked back, and went on to claim the win in the Pinty’s Truck Race on Dirt that he had dominated Saturday night on the dirt at Bristol Motor Speedway. Rhodes led 95 of the 150 laps, and swept the Stages in his ThorSport Racing Toyota en route to victory. It’s Rhodes’ sixth career win and his first this season. 

Rhodes said he had “a bad fast Toyota Tundra” and “a really good team behind me telling me where to go.”

At the end of the first Stage he was one of only two trucks who didn’t pit. Rhodes said the decision not to pit was a mistake: “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.”

And get there he did. Rhodes restarted 13th on Lap 91 and worked his way forward  helped by four cautions in the final 60-lap stage.

BRISTOL, TENNESSEE – APRIL 16: Carson Hocevar, driver of the #42 Premier Security Solutions Chevrolet, and Chandler Smith, driver of the #18 Charge Me Toyota, race during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Pinty’s Truck Race on Dirt at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 16, 2022 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)

“My crew gave me such an awesome Tundra this weekend that I wasn’t going to let them down,” said Rhodes. “I had to go back up there and earn the spot back. I’m really proud of all their effort.”

Carson Hocevar finished second in his Neice Motorsports Chevrolet tying his career high. He led the field in the final restart before being passed by Rhodes. 

Hocevar said he should’ve “either ripped the top or crashed him” to get the win, adding: “I hate saying that, but it’s part of this racing, right? I just couldn’t compete with him. He just had better tires, and he was the fastest truck all day. I was just trying to hold on… Second just sucks. It’s terrible, especially being that close.”

The top five was rounded out by John Hunter Nemechek, Parker Kligerman, and Christian Eckes.

BRISTOL, TENNESSEE – APRIL 16: Jack Wood, driver of the #24 Chevrolet, Zane Smith, driver of the #38 Speedco Ford, Derek Kraus, driver of the #19 NAPA AutoCare Chevrolet, and John Hunter Nemechek, driver of the #4 Mobil 1 Toyota, race during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Pinty’s Truck Race on Dirt at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 16, 2022 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)

Four Cup Series drivers competed in the trucks to get some experience on the track before Sunday’s race. Pole-sitter Joey Logano finished sixth, Chase Elliot was seventh, Austin Dillon was fourteenth, and Harrison Burton came home 20th. 

A few single-car spins were the only incident cautions early in the race, and a crash involving Ty Majeski, Buddy Kofoid, and Derek Kraus brought out the caution that led to the final restart. 

The only major incident was a bizarre one that occurred early in the final stage. Austin Wayne Self’s truck became stuck to the rear bumper of Matt DiBenedetto, and the two were forced to stop. Track workers needed over five minutes of red flag to separate the two trucks, both of whom were still running but finished last. Self called it a “one in a million situation.” 

The trucks return for the Dead On Tools 200 at Darlington after a three-week break. 

Photos: NASCAR at Bristol Motor Speedway, Saturday Apr. 16, 2022

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race Results Pinty’s Truck Race on Dirt
Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt
Bristol, Tennessee
Saturday, April 16, 2022

1. (2) Ben Rhodes, Toyota, 150.

2. (6) Carson Hocevar, Chevrolet, 150.

3. (18) John Hunter Nemechek, Toyota, 150.

4. (4) Parker Kligerman, Chevrolet, 150.

5. (19) Christian Eckes, Toyota, 150.

6. (1) Joey Logano(i), Ford, 150.

7. (7) Chase Elliott(i), Chevrolet, 150.

8. (16) Grant Enfinger, Chevrolet, 150.

9. (14) Matt Crafton, Toyota, 150.

10. (17) Zane Smith, Ford, 150.

11. (3) Stewart Friesen, Toyota, 150.

12. (12) Colby Howard, Chevrolet, 150.

13. (33) Chase Purdy, Toyota, 150.

14. (10) Austin Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 150.

15. (35) Tanner Gray, Ford, 150.

16. (27) Dean Thompson #, Chevrolet, 150.

17. (21) Mike Marlar, Toyota, 150.

18. (26) Hailie Deegan, Ford, 150.

19. (5) Chandler Smith, Toyota, 150.

20. (23) Harrison Burton(i), Ford, 150.

21. (8) Ty Majeski, Toyota, 150.

22. (13) Jack Wood #, Chevrolet, 150.

23. (29) Timmy Hill, Toyota, 150.

24. (34) Spencer Boyd, Chevrolet, 150.

25. (28) Blaine Perkins #, Chevrolet, 150.

26. (25) Kaz Grala, Chevrolet, 150.

27. (32) Buddy Kofoid, Toyota, 150.

28. (24) Tate Fogleman, Toyota, 149.

29. (15) Derek Kraus, Chevrolet, 149.

30. (31) Lawless Alan #, Chevrolet, 149.

31. (20) Tyler Ankrum, Toyota, 147.

32. (22) Andrew Gordon, Ford, 146.

33. (30) Kris Wright, Chevrolet, 146.

34. (36) Keith Mcgee, Chevrolet, 146.

35. (9) Matt DiBenedetto, Chevrolet, 145.

36. (11) Austin Wayne Self, Chevrolet, 143.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 45.957 mph.
Time of Race: 1 Hrs, 37 Mins, 55 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.824 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 8 for 43 laps.
Lead Changes: 3 among 2 drivers.
Lap Leaders: J. Logano(i) 0;B. Rhodes 1-91;C. Hocevar 92-146;B. Rhodes 147-150.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Ben Rhodes 2 times for 95 laps; Carson Hocevar 1 time for 55 laps.
Stage #1 Top Ten: 99,66,52,54,18,75,7,88,42,25
Stage #2 Top Ten: 99,66,4,75,54,7,51,42,18,19

Owen Johnson