LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Ben Rhodes led 149 of 150 laps Saturday night, October 26th, in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock “Fall Brawl” at Hickory Motor Speedway, driving the The win for the 16-year-old NASCAR Next driver was his second-career win at the historic North Carolina track and his sixth victory of the 2013 racing season.
Rhodes timed in third fast of the 21 cars during qualifying, but when a competitor had issues in post-qualifying tech, it put the No. 41 ride on the outside pole for the start of the event.
“The Hawk-McCall Motorsports team unloaded the car fast during testing and practice this weekend, and that helped us also focus on making sure we could qualify closer to the front,” said Rhodes. “We were in a great position starting third, but when we were moved up to second our strategy was to try and get the lead right at the start.”
That is exactly what happened when the green flag flew as Rhodes raced hard on the outside line. At lap two, he edged ahead while side by side for the top spot, and by the third lap he was clear and out ahead of the pack.
“Once I got out front I distanced myself from second to get a little space, and then I took care of my tires for the end of the race,” explained Rhodes. “If it was a 50-lap race we could have just went all out, but I wanted to save my tires as much as possible so I had something left at the end.”
Rhodes was able to hold on to the top spot after a lap 100 restart following a caution flag, and gapped the competition by multiple car lengths. On the final lap, he had about a six car-length lead as he drove on to the victory.
“This was a great win for Hawk-McCall Motorsports and my sponsors Alpha Energy Solutions, Alliance Comfort Systems, Refrigerant Rescue, Kentucky National Guard, Park Community Federal Credit Union, and everyone that supports our race team. Lee McCall and the guys gave me a great race car that I could keep up front for the entire race and still keep my tires under me. This was a big win for all of us.”
For Rhodes, being one of the drivers to win at the track known as “the Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars” is very special.
“I started my Late Model Stock career at Hickory Motor Speedway and I really like the track,” said Rhodes. “Winning any race is important and means a lot, but winning at Hickory twice this year is really cool especially knowing who has raced and won here.”