Rhodes Going For Record

Ben Rhodes

Ben Rhodes enters Friday's race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with five wins, including four in a row. (Photo: Getty Images)

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For some Victory Lane is a faraway, mystical place. For Ben Rhodes, it’s become a habit.

The 17-year-old Louisville, Ky., seeks to tie Ricky Craven’s record of five consecutive series wins in Friday’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

“I’m really pulling for him to not only tie the record but exceed it,’’ Craven said. “Twenty-three years is a long time.’’

Rhodes finished fourth at New Hampshire last year after bouncing of the wall early, but that has not altered his attitude toward the track.

“I really like how the track has different banking, how you can go down and use the apron to get your car around,’’ he said. “These big tracks are fun because we race on so many short tracks. When we get on these big tracks, it’s just a nice change of pace.’’

Few have been able to keep up with Rhodes this season. He has five wins and eight top-10 finishes. HIs average finish is 3.2. Rhodes holds a 71-point lead on teammate Cameron Hayley in the season standings.

Rhodes benefits from having former driver Mark McFarland as his crew chief. McFarland won the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national title in 2003 and drove in the Nationwide Series for JR Motorsports.

Rhodes credits McFarland with helping him win at Langley Speedway, the most recent race in the series McFarland, who had raced at that track, showed Rhodes the best line around the track. Rhodes led 162 of the 175 laps to win that race.

The sustained success leads to questions about Rhodes, who drives for Turner Scott Motorsports, will do next year. He’s not but but

Rhodes says he’d like to drive in the Nationwide Series next year if he had a choice between that series and the Camping World Truck Series because he says he believes it would be an easier transition from the K&N cars to the Nationwide cars than to the Trucks.

“We’re still figuring out our plans,’’ Rhodes said. “(The success) has definitely opened some doors and brought attention to us.’’

Dylan Kwasniewski used last year’s K&N East title to move to the Nationwide Series. He’s 12th in the standings after last weekend’s race at Daytona.

A victory this weekend for Rhodes also would tie him with Kwasniewski for most wins in a season with six.

 

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