It was a solid night for the Ohio based ThorSport Racing team with three of their four drivers finishing inside the top-10 with the exception of Johnny Sauter who wound up 17th after stalling on a late race restart.
Ben Rhodes, the highest finisher among his teammates, earned a fourth-place finish. Rhodes was up front for most of the race. He led the first couple of laps before settling into the top five for most of the race. In the first stage, Rhodes and the No. 99 Carolina Nut Company Ford F-150 finished fourth after leading a couple of laps early. However, in Stage 2, the Kentucky native fell back a little bit after pit stops and finished eighth.
Rhodes would find himself near the front again as the race continued to wind down. On a late race restart with three to go, he had the chance to run down eventual race winner Kyle Busch for a shot at the win and what would have been his first victory since Kentucky of last year. However, the No. 99 ThorSport team wound up fourth, the highest of the ThorSport finishers.
“Yeah, a little bit up and down,” Rhodes told MRN Radio describing his night at Charlotte. “Kind of missed the, I guess the audible that everyone pulled when me and Todd (Gilliland) stayed out. We had to drive through the field tonight. I’m wore out, that was a lot of work. I mean we had a fast Carolina Nut F-150. The guys at ThorSport, everyone back at home, Duke and Rhonda Thorson did an amazing job getting all their ThorSport trucks fast. Matt Crafton got the pole and I thought we were going to get second, but we were having a few issues with looseness. We know how to fix it, we’ll have to go home and do our homework, and we’ll be ready for the big money race at Texas.”
Crafton, in the No. 88 Menards Ford F-150, finished one spot behind his teammate Rhodes to round out the top five finishers.
Crafton’s day started off well by collecting the pole for the second straight week in a row and even winning the first stage. After winning the first stage, however, Crafton could not catch the leaders. He would fight in the top five, but could never get back to the front. Crafton was good enough to finish fourth in Stage 2. But alas, his winless streak is still intact as Crafton would earn his fifth top five of the year.
“We were actually really, really tight in the first half of the race, three-quarters of the race,” Crafton said to MRN Radio. “We were able to free it up in the end. Still needed a little bit more. The 51 (Kyle Busch) was definitely class of the field. All in all, I mean it wasn’t bad. We still have room for improvement, this group keeps getting better and better each week. As bad as we struggled last year, it feels good to run top five and top three and lead laps again.”
After finishing third in both stages, Enfinger, the No. 98 Champion Power Equipment driver, finished inside the top-10 in the ninth position.
“Not the finish we deserved but had a good truck all night,” Enfinger said in his post-race tweet. “These guys have been great all year on pit road and everyone who works for ThorSport Racing has brought us great F-150s. Hungry to get us a win.”
Sauter would be last of the ThorSport teammates finishing 17th after stalling on a late race restart.