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CWTS: Kentucky native Rhodes wins in the Bluegrass State

(MRN) Thursday night was “Home, Sweet Home” for 21-year-old Ben Rhodes as the Louisville native drove to victory at Kentucky Speedway, giving Ford its first win of the 2018 season. Rhodes started third, won the first stage and then reasserted himself midway through the final stage – taking his last lead of the night twenty-four laps from the finish and keeping the Number-41 ThorSport Racing entry in front the rest of the way to record his second series win. The margin of victory over runner-up Stewart Friesen was ninety-two one-hundredths of a second. Matt Crafton rode home in third place with Brandon Jones and John Hunter Nemechek completing the top five. Todd Gilliland was the highest-finishing rookie, in ninth place. Pole winner Noah Gragson dominated the first half of the race, won Stage-2 and led a race-high sixty-two laps en route to an eighth-place finish.

Crew chief Eddie Troconis opted for fuel only on Rhodes’ final pit stop of the night. Friesen got two fresh tires but despite that, he was unable to catch Rhodes in the closing laps and settled for second place, matching his season best that was first recorded last month in Texas.

Thursday night’s race included just three cautions, tying the track record for fewest yellow flags that was set in 2002.

Qualifying once again proved to be a key to success at Kentucky. Rhodes’ victory marks the sixth straight year that the winning driver qualified among the top three.

Top 10 Finishers at Kentucky Speedway

DRIVER STARTING POSITION LAPS LED

1. Ben Rhodes (3) 38

2. Stewart Friesen (14) 37

3. Matt Crafton (30) —

4. Brandon Jones (6) —

5. John H. Nemechek (17) —

6. Grant Enfinger (5) —

7. Todd Gilliland (R) (2) 1

8. Noah Gragson (Pole) 62

9. Dalton Sargeant (R) (9) —

10. Justin Haley (10) —

Unofficial Point Standings – After 12 Races

DRIVER POINTS BEHIND LEADER

1. Johnny Sauter 533 —-

2. Noah Gragson 491 -42

3. Brett Moffitt 442 -91

4. Stewart Friesen 414 -119

5. Grant Enfinger 410 -123

6. Ben Rhodes 407 -126

7. Matt Crafton 397 -136

8. Justin Haley 393 -140

9. Myatt Snider (R) 318 -215

10. Cody Coughlin 315 -218

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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