Make it 2-for-2 for Ben Rhodes to begin the 2021 season as he sweeps the Daytona races for the Camping World Truck Series. His win marked Toyota’s 200th win in the series and the third time a truck series driver has won the first two races of a season (Mark Martin, Johnny Sauter).
The anticipation was high as the truck series hit the Daytona road course under wet conditions. However, Friday evening provided less-than entertaining moments as elongated cautions kept the pace at the speed of the sloth and matters weren’t helped with laps under yellow run through the entire course rather than around the oval.
The first two stages were won in reverse order by John Hunter Nemechek and Raphael Lessard. Lessard won the first stage of the season last Friday while Nemechek won the second.
However, during the final laps of stage two, Nemechek ran out of fuel and came to a complete stop on the backstretch. He lost a lap, but eventually got the “Lucky Dog” in the final stage.
The first two stages didn’t see many incidents. GMS Racing teammates Zane Smith and Lessard got together on the opening lap. Outside of that, there were a few spins, but nothing to completely alter the pace of the race.
The final stage turned into a complete farce as cautions bred cautions and the caution laps felt like the length of full races.
The first major incident occurred on pit road as Ryan Truex hit the barrier as he re-entered the track. He ended up being hit in the rear by his Niece Motorsports teammate Carson Hocevar and the caution was thrown to fix the barrier.
Six laps later, the caution flew again as Brett Moffitt turned Smith coming out off turn four of the superspeedway, culminating in a multi-car pileup in the frontstretch chicane with debutant Parker Chase and Lessard getting collected.
Four more cautions occurred within a span of nine laps and the race turned into a farce from there.
On the first overtime restart, Rhodes was around 50 yards away from crossing the line, but the caution came out and he was stripped from taking the win.
Another overtime and another caution came out, but somehow, Rhodes held off Creed and Nemecheck to take the checkers.
Riley Herbst scored his second-career top-five truck finish in nine starts. The other came at Talladega Superspeedway in 2019.
Matt Crafton, Derek Kraus and Kaz Grala finished sixth, seventh and eighth respectively.
Timmy Hill scored his fifth top-10 finish in the truck series in his 43 starts while Christian Eckes rounded out the top 10 in his debut for Thorsport Racing.
Camden Murphy earned his best-career truck series finish with a 13th-place run in his 27th start.
The truck series heads out West in two weeks for a third-straight night race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.