By Jerry Jordan, Editor
AVONDALE, Ariz. – For 2021 Craftsman Truck Series Champion, Ben Rhodes, he’s been there and done that in regards to winning the title, but after missing his shot in 2022, he wants it now, more than ever.
Rhodes shared his thoughts on what his emotions are ahead of the season finale on Friday night at Phoenix Raceway, where he will battle on the track against, Corey Heim, Grant Enfinger and Carson Hocevar. He doesn’t have to win the race, he just has to finish ahead of the other championship contenders.
“I can tell you that there is no lack of fire in my belly,” Rhodes told members of the media during his Championship 4 appearance on Thursday. “I have never been more hungry than now, having tasted what it is like to win. You know, the first run of four or five years, I never made it to here. You almost get into a lull, where is like, wow, this sucks, I didn’t make it, wow, it sucks I didn’t make it. You almost get where your fire is, it’s not gone out, but it’s a little suppressed.
“And not that I have won it, it’s just raging. And then you lose it and it is just raging even harder. Like what? I was so mad last year.”
At just 26 years old, Rhodes is somewhat of a veteran of the truck series, having raced full-time since 2016 in the series and making the playoffs for the past three years. His 2021 title almost didn’t happen because he said he was ready to retire and work in the world of heating and air conditioning after 2018. However, he got a call from Duke Thorson, owner of ThorSport Racing and the rest was history.
“It’s really humbling to me, because a few years ago, if you told me I would be racing for a championship, I would say, ‘wow, what an opportunity.’ It makes me emotional, really, because I came so close in my career at one point to not even being here, like I was going to be an HVAC tech. I started going to school for it in 2018 and 2019. I officially retired in 2018 and Duke called us and gave me the opportunity.
“I mean, I am here because Duke Thorson gave me the opportunity to do this. And I am hoping that the Owner’s Championship in 2021 made him happy because he hadn’t had that before, thanks for believing in me. I wrote that on the picture that I have him of me winning the championship because it really does come down to the fact that he gave me the opportunity and now, for three years in a row, we are backing it up and trying again.”
Rhodes said he is ready for action and knows it won’t be easy but he is motivated and said, he knows what not to do on and off the track.