By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
For Ben Rhodes, the UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway presents an opportunity to ensure a Playoff berth. Currently, Rhodes sits sixth in the points standings, but his No. 27 Safelite AutoGlass Toyota Tundra is eighth after Playoff seeding.
In the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Rhodes has two starts at the high-banked, 0.533-mile oval. In those two starts, he has one top-10 finish, a ninth-place in 2014. He looked as if he would improve that finish last year, running second until an engine failure ended his day just past halfway.
Rhodes also has two NASCAR K&N Pro Series East starts at Bristol with one top-five (third in 2014), two top-10s, and one pole position.
Rhodes was excited to return to Bristol after last year’s strong run,
“I’m really excited to get back to Bristol. We ran really well there last year, up to the point where we had a motor problem, which ended our race prematurely. Up until then though, we were running second, and I felt like we had the opportunity to compete for a win. We’re taking a different truck to Bristol this year, and a new setup that we have been working hard on. I feel like if you’re not trying to innovate with setup this year, you’re going backwards. Everything we’ve done this year, has been new – never done at ThorSport (Racing) – I think that’s shown. We’ve had a lot more speed this year.”
The chassis that crew chief Eddie Troconis is bringing to ‘Thunder Valley’ for Rhodes is Chassis No. 38. This is a brand-new chassis for the team.
With three races left until the Playoffs, Rhodes has yet to lock himself in. He is in a tight battle for the Playoffs with ThorSport Racing teammate Grant Enfinger and fellow Toyota Racing driver Ryan Truex. Rhodes is behind Truex by five markers, and is up on Enfinger by 14. He also has one Playoff Point from a stage win at Kentucky Speedway earlier this season.
Now Rhodes, Troconis, and the entire No. 27 ThorSport Racing team will look to ensure a spot in the Playoffs, and in turn, a run for the Championship.