Late Wreck Ends Rhodes’ Title Run

by Tucker White On Sat, Nov. 11, 2017

AVONDALE, Ariz. - NOVEMBER 10: Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, and Ben Rhodes, driver of the #27 Safelite Auto Glass Toyota, crash during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 10, 2017 in Avondale, Arizona. Photo: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Ben Rhodes’ Playoff run came to an end late Friday night when he got turned into the wall, and a teammate, in the closing laps of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix Raceway.

Restarting with 20 laps to go, Austin Cindric, who lined up behind Rhodes on the restart, dove under Rhodes to get the — while shallow, less than ideal entry — preferred groove through Turn 1. Rhodes moved down to block, came across Cindric’s nose and turned head-on into the inside wall. The impact lifted the right-side of his truck off the ground for a second, before landing on all four’s.

Rhodes’ lifeless truck spun up towards the track and into the path of teammate Matt Crafton, sending them both head-on into the outside wall in Turn 1.

The trucks rolls a few more yards, before coming to a stop in the middle of Turn 1.

This brought out the fourth caution of the night, as well as a 17-minute, seven-second red flag for cleanup.

“He put me in a bad place and (I was) trying to do everything I could to keep the spot, but once you file into Turn 1, we were all going to wreck. I’m not sure that was the right move on his part. I did everything I could to just make sure we were having a good day. We were in front of him all day long. We were going to be into the final four. I don’t know. It looked like a desperation move to me, because there’s so much racing left to do. I guess if I was in his position, I mean can’t blame him. But it’s definitely not the move I would’ve liked to see this early in the race. There’s so much to go on. The line in front of me started checking up. I could’ve done the same thing, but you have to be smart on the restarts, especially when you have, what, 70 laps to go, still?”

Cindric, after the race, said the incident was merely “two guys racing for the same amount of real estate.”

The wreck relegated Rhodes to a 20th-place finish. He leaves Phoenix fifth in points.

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