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Davidson: Rhodes makes it two-for-two, winning again at Daytona

Daytona Beach, FL, Feb 19/20 (by John Davidson): Ben Rhodes got his fifth career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on the third restart of the night, book-ending his victory in last week’s Oval race to give Toyota its 200th victory in NASCAR’s Truck Series races.

After heavy rain in the afternoon led to starting on a wet race track with rain tires mounted and windshield wipers going, the race ran fairly smoothly until the third stage, with triple restarts at the end.

A restart with three laps to go saw leader and last week’s winner Ben Rhodes leading at the green flag but Sheldon Creed out-braked him into the right-hander in the infield road course before two trucks spun and stalled, both Chandler Smith and Tanner Gray needing tows to clear the track, leading to an overtime finish. Creed locked his brakes on this restart and fell back; Rhodes opening a healthy lead with Herbst, Crafton and Nemechek following before Nemechek powered his way into third on the back straight before Austin Wayne Self got spun exiting the ‘bus stop’ chicane and Jett Noland was also spun to bring out the race’s eighth caution and second overtime restart.

A multi-truck spin in mid-pack brought out yet another caution before the white flag was shown, leading to the third overtime when Jennifer Jo Cobb couldn’t restart her truck to continue. Rhodes made a good restart, chased closely by Sheldon Creed but Creed seemed to overdrive the bus stop chicane slightly, allowing Rhodes to have a comfortable edge approaching the finish.

“Unbelievable, I don’t even have words for it,” said Rhodes in victory lane. “Rich is a good crew chief, a really good crew chief.”

The three overtime extensions made this a 51-lap race instead of the 44 laps that were scheduled. Creed was running short on fuel but none of the front-runners ran out of gas.

Among the Canadians, Stewart Friesen finished in 11th place, Rapheal Lessard won the second Stage but he ended up in 26th place, and Jason White from British Columbia finished in 38th place.

• Click HERE for the race results

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