The NASCAR Truck race was a challenge Friday night after rain soaked the Daytona Road Course, forcing teams to start the road race on rain tires, and three overtimes extended the race by several laps.
Wet or dry, it didn't matter to Ben Rhodes, who won his second straight NASCAR Truck race to start the 2021 season.
Rhodes maintained the lead through three overtime restarts and held off defending Camping World Truck Series champion Sheldon Creed to win the NASCAR Truck r. John Hunter Nemechek rallied from a lap down to finish third, followed by Riley Herbst and Todd Gilliland.
"Unbelievable," Rhodes said. "I don't have the words for it."
The NASCAR Truck race started with the trucks on rain tires after afternoon and early-evening rain soaked the track. Teams ran the first two stages of the NASCAR Truck race on rain tires before switching to slicks for the final stage.
How did Ben Rhodes win the NASCAR Truck race?
After switching to regular slick racing tires, Creed led the field to the green flag for the final stage and quickly pulled away from the field. He got a scare, however, with 11 laps remaining.
Creed was leading the NASCAR Truck race under caution when he cut off his truck to save fuel. At one point, it wouldn't restart, however, causing him to lose pace with the pace truck and draw a penalty. The mistake cost him five spots on the track, forcing him to restart sixth on Lap 9.
Riley Herbst and Ben Rhodes led the NASCAR Truck race on the restart, but Creed quickly charged from sixth to second when another caution flag came out. Creed regained the lead on a restart with three laps to, bumping and banging his way past Rhodes.
Rhodes charged back by Creed on an overtime restart and appeared to win the race when another caution flag flew just before the white flag. Rhodes thought he had taken the white flag before the caution, which would have made him the winner.
"You gotta be sh------ me," Rhodes said over his team radio. "No way they just threw that before the line. No way."
Rhodes held the lead on another overtime restart, only to have another caution flag fly to set up a third overtime.
Nemechek passed Rhodes, the pole-sitter, on the first lap and led the first 12 laps to win Stage 1.
Creed passed Nemechek for the lead early in Stage 2 and maintained the lead despite getting run into by Bobby Reuse, a lapped driver who hit Creed in the left side of his truck and nearly wrecked the leader.
Nemechek was running third when he lost power in his truck and slowed on the track, bringing out a caution. Nemechek got his truck refired, but lost a lap while pitting and fell to 35th at the start of Stage 3. He got his lap back under caution and rallied to finish third.
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Raphael Lessard won Stage 2 under caution after Creed, the leader, pitted during the caution flag.