LOUDON, N.H. – Two words have been synonymous with the 2014 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season: Ben Rhodes.
To say that the 17-year-old Louisville, Ky., native has been on a roll this year would be an understatement. Through nine events, Rhodes has five wins, eight top fives and eight top 10s. His average finish is 3.2, and if you remove the second race of the season at the UNOH Battle at the Beach at Daytona, his average finish becomes 1.6.
“I don’t ever think about the stats,” responded Rhodes when asked whether he thinks about the numbers he’s put up so far this year. “If I look at the stats, I start putting pressure on myself to perform and live up to those expectations. I just try and forget about it all and do my best. My best is my best. I’ve got to forget about the rest”
Rhodes heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Granite State 100 for the series’ annual stop in Loudon with a chance to tie two former champions. His four-race win streak leaves him one shy of tying 1991 champion Ricky Craven for most consecutive series wins in a season. Rhodes is also one victory away from tying Dylan Kwasniewski for most wins in a season, set last year by the NASCAR Nationwide Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender.
The strategy heading into the weekend for Rhodes is simple, avoid hitting the wall.
“I didn’t have the best race last year,” said Rhodes, who left New Hampshire with a top-five finish in 2013. “We hit the wall but ended up with a top five because we had a really good restart. We had a really fast car, but I made a mistake, so for this year, patience is going to be really big at this track.”
The NASCAR Next standout will look to build on his 71-point lead over Turner Scott Motorsport teammate Cameron Hayley this weekend, but don’t expect Rhodes to be thinking about that as he races around the 1.058-mile oval.
“I just go out there and do my thing. I can’t change things I have no control over. My best is my best and I’ve got to forget about the rest.”