Ben Rhodes wins 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championshipby Jack Gaffney November 6, 2021 0 comments
After a relatively tame race by NASCAR Trucks Series standards, a champion has officially been crowned. Of the four contenders, not a single one led a lap in the Lucas Oil 150. Chandler Smith and more so Sheldon Creed were the only two drivers to do that. With that in mind, the double whammy of getting a win and championship on the same night felt unobtainable more and more as the night went on.
John Hunter Nemechek entered Friday as the favorite but went multiple laps down almost instantly. This is due to a cut tire and a date with the turn two wall. He made it back onto the lead lap and top 10 by the end but never had a shot after the beginning. Matt Crafton meanwhile never ran into serious trouble, but never had the speed to contend. Which left his ThorSport teammate Ben Rhodes and GMS Racing’s Zane Smith to duke it out.
Rhodes held the top spot of the Championship Four up until lap 110. Smith, for the time being, had the championship in hand with two-thirds of the race completed, but Rhodes was not out of the fight yet. After Smith lost a ton of time via lap traffic. Rhodes was able to erase his deficit to the driver of the No. 21 truck. Then with under 10 laps left, Rhodes ever so slightly moved Smith out of the way. Just like that, Rhodes was able to secure his first Camping World Trucks Series Championship.
— NASCAR Camping World Trucks (@NASCAR_Trucks) November 6, 2021
Rhodes to the Top
No matter how you cut this one up, this is a great day not just for Rhodes, but for ThorSport as well. Starting things out with the driver of the No. 99 Tundra. Rhodes is now the first NASCAR National Series Champion born in Kentucky since David Green. He won the then Busch (now Xfinity) Series Championship back in 1994. Rhodes is however the first Trucks Champion from Kentucky. This is also his second NASCAR title total, adding to his K&N East Series Championship back in 2014.
For the ThorSport team, this is also a momentous occasion. With this title, the Ohio-based team run by Duke and Rhonda Thorson now has four total Trucks Series Championships. Breaking the record for most by a team with Hendrick Motorsports, who last won one back in 2001 with Jack Sprague. This is also the first Championship for ThorSport not from Crafton, who won three in 2013, 2014, and 2019. A big celebration is in sure order for the longest-standing team in the series no doubt.
Hey I’ve Seen This One
If you may recall, Brad Keselowski won the NASCAR Cup Series Championship back in 2012. After doing so, he maybe had roughly a few dozen too many alcoholic beverages. Keselowski proceeded to go on live national television with both SportsCenter, and then later Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain. In the process, he gave an all-time interview with a cartoonishly big drinking glass with the former.
In the same vein, Rhodes almost certainly had several alcoholic beverages after his title clincher on Friday. Like Keselowski as well, he then had some media obligations to take care of post-race. With a Bud Light and water bottle in arms reach, Rhodes then took to the media center to hold court. The results as you could imagine were spectacular.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) November 6, 2021
Safe to say Rhodes is having a good night, and deservingly so. After sweeping the opening two races at Daytona, he went winless to close out the season. Despite that, Rhodes was able to do enough to make it to the Final Four and is now a champion. Additionally, despite being somewhat of a veteran at this point, Rhodes is still only 24-years-old. It would be hard to imagine he isn’t in the thick of things for years to come in the Trucks Series.
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