AVONDALE, ARIZ. — In quadruple overtime, with the race extended 29 laps, Ben Rhodes clinched his second NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship.
“You know what it’s like to go 25 [it was 29] laps in overtime?! I thought we were gonna pop a tire or something but I’m so glad we won,” Rhodes exclaimed.
Rhodes finished four positions behind winner Christian Eckes. Eckes led a 1-2 finish for McAnally-Hilgemann Racing with teammate Jake Garcia in second.
“That one is gonna sting but it’s always good to win,” Eckes said.
Eckes missed the Championship Four after a speeding penalty in the final green-flag run of the race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
TOP-10 FINISHERS: Eckes, Garcia, Chase Purdy, Jesse Love, Rhodes, Enfinger, Dean Thompson, Kaden Honeycutt, Tanner Gray, Nick Sanchez
The first two stages were very, relatively calm. Corey Heim ran second in the 45-lap stage one and for another three laps before leading 47 laps, including at the end of stage two.
Heim then lost the lead when he pitted while 16 drivers stayed out.
Carson Hocevar commanded the championship from there until he and Corey Heim came to blows on track on lap 121. Hocevar dived into turn one, spun Heim and collaterally wrecked Stewart Friesen.
Then, 27 laps later, Corey Heim appeared to get Carson Hocevar back. Heim denied the wreck was intentional, saying, “he got on my door and I had no side force.”
That snatched the championship away from Grant Enfinger.
“You see that with this format and moving the restart zone. We’ve manufactured it in a way so I don’t know why it’s surprising. It happens because these are very hard to pass with. Us truckers got a bad rap, we had too many green-white-checkereds,” Enfinger said.
Enfinger looked none-too-pleased with Heim, who wasn’t happy with Carson Hocevar.
“He’ll wreck you and apologize then do it again. You’ve only known him for a few years but I’ve known him for over a decade,” Corey Heim said.
Carson Hocevar is headed to the NASCAR Cup Series to race against the likes of Tyler Reddick, Denny Hamlin and others.
When the incident with Heim happened, Reddick tweeted/posted on X, “This d*mbass will never learn.”
Denny Hamlin, the owner of his Cup Series car, reposted that. He also sounded off on the general nature of the racing, saying:
“This is what happens when there’s no rules, no officiating. You get a product like this. “The Show” has taken over US Motorsports and why it’s hard to take seriously.”
Reddick, Hamlin and Hocevar ran eighth, 18th and 27th-fastest, respectively, in Cup Series practice.