GREENVILLE, S.C. – Change is good.
That’s the belief of Ben Rhodes as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East makes its 12th visit to Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway on Saturday for the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150.
“I think adding the break and giving us four tires will make a huge difference over what we saw last September,” said Rhodes.
After several drivers opted to employ a tire-saving strategy in the last series race at the South Carolina half-mile oval, NASCAR decided to add a halfway break and allow the teams four additional tires to use during the event.
“Adding the break and giving us some tires is huge,” said the driver of the No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions Chevrolet. “It changes the whole deal. Four fresh tires for the second half will make it pretty interesting.”
After a disappointing day at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway on March 15, Rhodes is ready to get back on the horse.
“It’s just too bad we couldn’t get the win (at Bristol), but we’ll head to Greenville and try to get a win there,” said the 17-year-old from Louisville, Ky.
Rhodes led 130 of 132 laps after starting on the pole for the second consecutive race at Bristol, but the two he didn’t lead were the last two. Race winner Eddie MacDonald made contact with Rhodes in the closing laps which left the youngster with some damage to his car.
“The damage made my car too tight for the green-white checkered so I had to choose the outside for the restart” Rhodes stated. “At that point there was nothing I could do and I was a sitting duck. I got shoved up out of the groove and was just trying to hang on for a solid points day.
“It was very frustrating. I really wanted to win this for my team. They did a great job giving me a car that was fast all weekend,” he continued.
In his only series start in Greenville last September, Rhodes started 19th and finished sixth.
“It’s kind of a tricky place, but we did some testing there and think we found a few things and I’m looking forward to see how they work out,” he said.