The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship season finale was held at Phoenix Raceway on Friday night. Ben Rhodes in his first appearance in the Championship 4, captured his first championship after six full seasons driving the for No. 99 ThorSport Racing.
Rhodes bumped Zane Smith in Turn 2 to capture the championship 4 lead with just eight laps remaining. Rhodes went on to finish third and Smith finished fifth.
“I thought it was gone. When the 21 (Smith) drove past me, I thought it was all over. He just kept driving away further and further and further. The end of the race, when everybody started wearing their stuff out, I didn‘t think I had anything left. I was sideways every corner. But we had just enough, just enough.” Rhodes said.
After winning the season openers at Daytona International Speedway, Rhodes went on to capture seven top-five finishes, fifteen top-10s, and three runner-up finishes heading into Phoenix.
“I wouldn‘t even be here today if it wasn‘t for Duke and Rhonda (Thorson, ThorSport team owners),” Rhodes said. “They gave me my opportunity in this sport. They were my very first full-time national team that I raced for and I‘ve been with them ever since. They‘re so amazing and I can‘t even begin to thank them enough. This has just been a ride of a lifetime. I hope it‘s not over. I want to keep going now. This is amazing.”
For the second season in a row, Smith would finish second place in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings. Smith had one win, two Top 5’s, fourteen Top 10 finishes, and 507 laps led this season.
“We were eight laps away from winning the championship. I’ve had so much support from Maury Gallagher, Mike Beam, MRC Construction, RTA gigFAST INTERNET; all the people that have helped me get to this point. Team Chevy – I almost got Chevy another one. I tried using all my tools from my side of things, but just couldn’t get the truck to turn and we fought that all night.” Smith said.
The final 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver standings are Rhodes with 4034 points, Smith 4032, John Nemechek 4030, and Matt Crafton with 4025 points.
Nemechek was a favorite heading into Phoenix. But after he scraped the wall on lap 1 because of some contact from the No. 02. Nemechek had a tire go down a few laps later and lost two laps during the unscheduled pit stop. He got his two laps back and finished the race in seventh place and third in the championship standings.
Matt Crafton fought a handling problem and finished the race in 12th place and fourth in the championship standings. Rhodes won the fourth championship for ThorSport Racing, who won championships in 2013, 2014 and 2019 with driver Matt Crafton.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race – 27th Annual Lucas Oil 150
Phoenix Raceway, Avondale, Arizona
Friday, November 5, 2021
(1) Chandler Smith #, Toyota, 150.
(7) Stewart Friesen, Toyota, 150.
(4) Ben Rhodes (P), Toyota, 150.
(2) Sheldon Creed, Chevrolet, 150.
(13) Zane Smith (P), Chevrolet, 150.
(9) Christian Eckes, Toyota, 150.
(16) John Hunter Nemechek (P), Toyota, 150.
(3) Todd Gilliland, Ford, 150.
(6) Carson Hocevar #, Chevrolet, 150.
(11) Austin Hill, Toyota, 150.
(17) Johnny Sauter, Toyota, 150.
(5) Matt Crafton (P), Toyota, 150.
(27) Grant Enfinger, Chevrolet, 150.
(14) Tyler Ankrum, Chevrolet, 150.
(8) Derek Kraus, Toyota, 150.
(12) Chase Purdy #, Chevrolet, 150.
(10) Hailie Deegan #, Ford, 150.
(23) Drew Dollar, Toyota, 150.
(18) Ryan Truex, Chevrolet, 150.
(15) Jack Wood, Chevrolet, 150.
(25) Dean Thompson, Chevrolet, 149.
(30) Will Rodgers, Toyota, 149.
(29) Jordan Anderson, Chevrolet, 149.
(32) Willie Allen, Chevrolet, 149.
(19) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 149.
(24) Austin Wayne Self, Chevrolet, 147.
(31) Chris Hacker, Toyota, 147.
(28) Danny Bohn, Toyota, 147.
(26) Taylor Gray, Ford, 146.
(35) Cory Roper, Ford, 146.
(36) Spencer Boyd, Chevrolet, 146.
(20) Kris Wright #, Chevrolet, 143.
(34) Tyler Hill, Chevrolet, Alternator, 106.
(21) Tate Fogleman, Chevrolet, Electrical, 98.
(22) Tanner Gray, Ford, Rear Gear, 80.
(33) Lawless Alan, Chevrolet, Accident, 11.