NASCAR at Bristol dirt race heat results and truck updates

Kyle Larson (5) and Ryan Blaney (12) exit Turn 4 during a practice session Friday, April 15, 2022, for Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series car race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee (David Crigger/ Bristol Herald Courier via AP)

Kyle Larson (5) and Ryan Blaney (12) exit Turn 4 during a practice session Friday, April 15, 2022, for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series car race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee (David Crigger/ Bristol Herald Courier via AP)

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Ben Rhodes won the NASCAR’s Truck Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway’s dirt track on Saturday night, taking the lead from Carson Hocevar in the final laps.

Rhodes moved up to third and then second in quick succession after a final restart, which came after Buddy Kofoid spun into Turn 2 in the final 15 laps. Rhodes followed Hocevar’s line then fell below him for the pass as John Hunter Nemechek ran inside them.

Rhodes won the first two stages of the race, but did not stop after the first stage, meaning he had to stop after the second stage break and lost track position. He came back in the lead for the last four laps.

“I thought we gave it away for a while,” Rhodes said on FS1. “Michael Waltrip asked me on the radio, ‘Did you mean stay out?’ And the real answer is “No”.

“Getting back into the peloton was really, really difficult and it wasn’t something we wanted to do,” Rhodes continued. “My crew gave me such an awesome Toyota Tundra this weekend that I was going to let them down.”

Rhodes sweeps the stages, takes the win

Rhodes, last year’s Truck Series champion, finished second in last year’s Trucks race on Bristol dirt. He also finished second at Daytona and Atlanta this year, but the latest victory marks his first of the year. He led a record 95 laps of the 150-lap event on Saturday.

Hocevar led the following laps at 55, and was asked after the race what he could have done when he got to the final flag.

“Either rip the top or smash it,” Hocevar said. “I hate to say it, but it’s part of this race. I couldn’t really compete with him. They just had better tires and he was the fastest on the track all day.

Budding Buddy Kofoid

Kofoid was a name that was repeatedly mentioned as a driver to watch by Cup Series drivers, including Christopher Bell, who gave the young co-Toyota driver instructions on his radio. Kofoid, 20, made his first start in the series and is considered a rising star in open-wheel dirt racing.

He raced from a 32nd place start to fourth on the final stage before spinning to bring out the final warning.

“I don’t even really know what happened there,” Kofoid told his team over the radio. “I feel so (expletive) bad.”

His crew responded by radio: “Things happen. You did a great job on your debut.

Cutting Drivers in Trucks Race

Among those racing in Saturday’s race were drivers who were scheduled to race in the Cup on Sunday. Their vehicles will be noticeably different, but the experience was something they were counting on helping them with.

Last year’s Bristol Dirt Cup winner Joey Logano finished sixth followed by Chase Elliott in seventh. Austin Dillon finished 14th and Harrison Burton finished 20th.

Track conditions and dust seemed fairly under control at the nighttime event, with drivers saying visibility was better at this year’s races compared to last year. Cole Custer starts on pole having won the most points throughout the playoff portion of the Cup race, with Bell starting on the front row with him.

We’ll see if Bell’s scouting on Saturday pays off at the wheel on Sunday, or if drivers in both races finish ahead tomorrow.

NASCAR Truck Series Race Results

Ordered Truck No. Driver Time behind the winner
1 99 Ben Rhodes
2 42 Carson Hocevar 0.824 (seconds)
3 4 John Hunter Nemechek 1.378
4 75 Parker Kligermann 1.555
5 98 Christian Eckes 2.528
6 54 Joey Logan 2.929
7 7 Chase Elliot 3.113
8 23 Grant Finger 3.761
9 88 Matt Crafton 3.968
ten 38 Zane Smith 3.984
11 52 Stewart Friesen 4.082
12 91 Colby Howard 4.39
13 61 chase purdy 4.903
14 20 Austin Dillon 5.016
15 15 Tanner Gray 5.162
16 33 mike marlar 6.13
17 40 Dean Thompson 6.214
18 1 Hailie Degan 6.484
19 18 Chandler Smith 6.811
20 17 Harrison Burton 7.043
21 66 Ty Majeski 7.182
22 24 Jack Wood 7.257
23 56 Timmy Hill 8.225
24 12 Spencer Boyd 11.109
25 9 Blaine Perkins 11.422
26 2 Kaz Grala 16.702
27 51 Buddy Kofoid 23.055
28 30 Tate Fogleman 6.831
29 19 Derek Kraus 18.726
30 45 Lawless Alan -1
31 16 Tyler Ankrum -3
32 49 Andrew Gordon -4
33 44 Kris Wright -4
34 43 Keith McGee -4
35 25 Matt Dibenedetto -5
36 22 Austin Wayne Himself -7

This story was originally published April 16, 2022 6:02 p.m.

NASCAR and Charlotte FC beat reporter Alex Andrejev joined The Observer in January 2020 after an internship at the Washington Post. She is a two-time winner of the APSE award for her coverage of NASCAR beats and winner of the National Motorsports Press Association award. She is the host of McClatchy’s “Payback” podcast about women’s soccer.
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