Ben Rhodes is not any slouch on street programs, profitable the NASCAR Tenting World Truck Sequence race on the Daytona Highway Course in February and ending tenth at Circuit of the Americas in late Might. On Sunday, he’ll see if this success can translate to the Cup Sequence when he makes his top-level début at Sonoma Raceway within the #77 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE for Spire Motorsports.
Rhodes has raced full-time within the Truck Sequence since 2016 with 5 profession wins. His 2021 season obtained off to a roaring begin when he swept the primary two races on Daytona’s oval and street course, and he presently sits second in factors with prime tens in all however one race. His 9 prime tens lead all drivers.
As he has settled within the Vehicles, he has not raced at a better tier since 2015 when he ran ten Xfinity Sequence occasions for JR Motorsports. He scored two prime tens with a greatest run of seventh in his maiden begin at Iowa. Rhodes had two street races on his schedule, one in all which noticed him begin on the pole at Highway America after qualifying was rained out earlier than misfortunes befell him within the race.
Whereas Rhodes just isn’t sometimes related to street course prowess, he has 4 prime tens and two prime fives in seven profession Truck begins on such tracks. Along with his Daytona RC victory, he gained the pole at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in 2018 and completed third the next yr. His two street races in what’s now the ARCA Menards Sequence East in 2014 additionally ended with prime tens with a 3rd at Watkins Glen and tenth at Virginia Worldwide Raceway, a season that ended with him profitable the championship.
“You solely get to make your first Cup begin as soon as and to do it with Spire Motorsports is fairly particular,” Rhodes mentioned. “I’ve a enjoyable and lengthy historical past with the Spire household however we haven’t labored collectively in a number of years so it’s good to come back full circle. It’s formidable to make my first Cup begin at a street course that I’ve no expertise at, however I’m assured the group can have the automotive snug and quick. That is fairly thrilling for me, and Sonoma can’t get right here fast sufficient.”
Spire’s #77 serves because the group’s multi-driver automotive. Justin Haley has comprised the majority of the automotive’s schedule as he has run all however three races thus far in 2021, with Jamie McMurray, Stewart Friesen, and Josh Berry making begins as nicely. Friesen and Berry’s one-offs additionally marked their Cup débuts. By the way, Friesen and Rhodes are each Truck regulars who race Toyotas but recorded their first Cup begins in a Chevrolet.
Whereas Haley ran the 2019 Sonoma race for Spire (the place he completed thirty-fourth), he’s unavailable for the 2021 version as he’s contesting the Xfinity race at Mid-Ohio that weekend.
“Ben Rhodes has lengthy been part of the Spire household and we’re thrilled to have him make his NASCAR Cup Sequence début in Spire Motorsports’ #77 Chevrolet,” Spire Motorsports co-owner T.J. Puchyr added. “Ben is a superb child and comes from an ideal household. Justin Haley might be specializing in his NASCAR Xfinity championship aspirations at Mid-Ohio so this was an ideal alternative for Ben to slip within the seat. He’s an incredible street racer and has earned this chance. We expect a ton of Ben and we’re wanting to see how he does at Sonoma.”
The #77 is presently thirty-first in proprietor factors with McMurray holding the perfect end of eighth within the opener at Daytona. Haley completed twenty-fourth on the Daytona RC and final at COTA, the latter resulting from a steering subject.