The race was held at Phoenix Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona on the 4th of November 2023. In addition to being the season’s last race, it celebrated NASCAR Racing’s 75th anniversary. The remaining four drivers who made it to the finals were Ben Rhodes #99, who also won the 2021 Truck Series Championship, Corey Hiem #11, Grant Enfinger #23, and Carson Hocevar #42. Anyone who is willing to use the trophy could be the winner.
During Stage 1, The Race was all lined up with trucks in a row of 2 before starting the race. When the pit crew truck got off the racetrack, the person at the white checker flag waved the green flag to start the race for one last time of the 2023 Season. When the action began, there was already some contact from Rajah Caruth to Jack Wood at turn one while the first 7 trucks are willing to get the early lead before the next lap around the track. Ty Majeski took the lead at Stage 2 followed by Corey Heim #11, Ben Rhodes #99, Zane Smith #38, Nick Sanchez #2, Taylor Gray #17, Christian Eckes #19, Chase Prudy #4, and Jesse Love #1 which the trucks had a major switch at the 3 and 4 wide. At the 4th Lap, Grant Enfinger had his dashboard on and saw Derek Kraus #77 contact Stewart Friesen #52 and spanned at turn 3 on. 90 degree angle.which Halie Deegan #13 slowed down her truck along with Colby Howard #9 behind her which Stewart Friesen #52 locked all 4 tires to avoid a collision. Once they restart the race. Majeski resumed the lead which Heim is currently the winning driver of the final 4. The race was clean and smooth until the final lap of the first stage which Majeski and Heim battled to win the first stage but it was close at the 3rd turn but Ty Majeski would win the first stage of the race. Along side with Zane Smith and Ben Rhodes included Nick Sanchez in the top 5 position.
During Stage 2, it all began with Corey Heim regaining the lead but a little contact from Carson Hocevar. On the other side, Matt Crafton #88 went far out and almost hit the guardrail but managed to successfully stay in the race. After the first 2 laps, Chris Hacker #30 crashed his truck into the wall which his rear right tire was blown out. Marco Andretti on the #7 truck also got some damage on the front Side of the truck. The AMR Safety Crew came in to help Hacker walk out of his truck safely into the ambulance. On the other view of the crash, Marco Andretti truck contacted Chris Hacker’s truck and then the 30 truck landed and hit the wall but he was lucky that he wasn’t hurt. As soon as the green flag was on, Corey Heim continued his lead with Ty Majeski, Zane Smith, Grant Enfinger and Taylor Gray took charge which Heim resumed his lead until stage 2 was over and which the other 4 drivers took the top 5 of the 2nd stage. While Corey Heim went to pit stop it took a while for his pit crew to check his truck but he was let go but the crew wasn’t happy about the longer wait of getting his truck ready.
During Stage 3 as the final round, the race started off with Ekces taking the lead follow by Prudy and Gracia but some contact from Prudy and Sanchez at the wide turn of turn 1 while all of the trucks were finding a solution to fight for the top 10 but Carson Hocevar has been taking the winning position of the final drivers to begin the 3rd stage but the other 3 trucks were in the top 20 which had to gain more speed to go back to the top 10. After a couple of laps to resume the race, another caution came out from Conner Jones #66 who pushed Jake Drew #61 which Hallie Deegan slide at a 90 degree angle so avoid the crash. As the green flag resume, Nick Sanchez took the lead along side with Eckes. Carson Hocevar had squeeze his truck to stay in the top 5 for a tight battle of the race. With 37 laps to go, Ben Rhodes was finding a way to get back to the top 10 but made some contact with Tanner Gray #15 but didnt avoid an accident which nothing bad happen. In the meantime, Carson Hocevar took the lead of the champions of the final 4 along side with Corey Heim which Hocevar refuse to let Heim pass his truck but made contact after Corey Heim passed Carson Hocevar. After another lap was passed, Hocevar took a wide turn and took Corey Heim out of the crash and Stewart Friesen crash which the caution was on by turn 2. Carson Hocevar got really upset and frustrated that he didn’t wanna push Corey Heim but was gonna contact him instead of pushing him out of the race. As the race resume, 25 laps to go and Nick Sanchez has taken the lead but Hocevar decide to pull back into the top 20 which it was a poor restart. Ben Rhodes has decided to get closer in the top 5 and release the 6th caution by 25 41 43. Dye on the 41 pushed Matt Dibenedetto #25 and Daniel Dye #43 pushed Bailey Currey #41 and all of them crash into the wall. With 15 laps to go, Christian Eckes and Zane Smith are battling for the lead while Rhodes and Enfinger were taking the battle for the championship. Jesse Love was doing outstanding heading to the top 5 which it has been approving well with race. Before the final couple of laps, Zane Smith and Eckes was battling for the lead which Ben Rhodes and Grant Enfinger has been battling for the championship in the last 10 laps until another caution was out and disrupted their clean battle. Carson Hocevar had destroyed his truck which Corey Heim’s truck had his right side damage which Corey Heim give revenge on Carson Hocevar along side with Tanner Gray who spinned out in turn 2 along side with the other 2 playoff drivers that were involve of the accident.
Once overtime has taken over, the top 4 drivers are willing to taker the lead, by turn 2, Enfinger made contact with Sanchez and slip a little but manage to stay alive which Prudy moved to the top 4. Zane Smith and Ben Rhodes were about to battle for the win until caution was out before the white checkered flag was up. Derek Kraus #77 crashed into the wall between turn 3 and 4. Ben Rhodes saw the white flag being switch to the yellow flag before the final was on while trying to take the lap. It didn’t last when Grant Enfinger went back to pitstop and downgrade to the outside of the top 20 to restart the race. The 2nd round of overtime took off with Zane Smith taking the lead but Ben Rhodes made a careless mistake by holding traffic and pushed Zane Smith which he spud around and crash into Jack Wood #51 to release another caution. There was some damage from Ben Rhodes and got right into Zane Smith, but missed the shift, which his crew chief has to take a look at his to make sure it’s fine to resume which nothing serious happen. The 4th try of overtime alert started off with contact from Eckes to Prudy and pushed Ty Majeski to the side and then the 98 truck got hit by Jesse Love #1 which spun Majeski out along with the trucks being too close which Matt Crafton #88 also spun a 360 angle to crash Tyler Hill #56, Colby Howard #9 and plow into Sean Hingorani #75. During the 5th and final restart of overtime, Eckes on the outside and Purdy on the inside which Ben Rhodes has determine to take the Championship spot. After turn one, Grant Enfinger made a major move to get close to Ben Rhodes which Garcia was getting close to Eckes and Tyler Ankrum hit himself in the wall of turn 3 which this time the caution will not be out this time and release the white checkered flag for final lap. The Championship spot was close for Rhodes that won before in 2021 and Enfinger wanted to get his first Truck Series Championship which it was tight battle until Enfinger jumped to the outside but not enough to get close to Rhodes. The race finished with Eckes taking the winner of the race but Ben Rhodes has officially won the 2023 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Championship. Ben Rhodes’ Crew Cheif celebrated their moment of victory lane. Even though Ben Rhodes got one victory race at Charlotte Speedway before claiming the victory of the truck series title. Both truck drivers had a clean race without being spun out and refused to give up their positions of the championship.
Ben Rhodes is officially the Championship of the 2023 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series for first time since his first one in 2021. He kept it calm and steady until the very end to hold his excitement which his crew was happy for the victory which Enfinger’s crew was disappointed that couldn’t capitalize the victory. Rich Lushes who was the crew chief of Ben Rhodes had an interview with Fox Sports which he quoted “Were like a baseball team and we had a starting pitcher and Jared Prince said got the deal going and take the win.” He was proud that his crew kept their toes up and banged to survive the championship and also thanked Enfinger the he kept it clean instead crashing and burning like everyone else. Throughout the celebration, Ben Rhodes did the donut while raised the NACSAR Championship Flag. The truck had some damage from shifting gears from contact in overtime but managed to survive the race by the great encouragement while having issues with the restarts. It was battle born of surviving the championship. While Eckes drove away with the checker flag, Ben Rhodes swing the Championship flag and the fans cheered for his tremendous victory. When Rhodes started his interview, he shout out “LET’S GO! Man I hate when people do that on tv I’m so sorry but dang this was so awesome.” He was thrilled to see all of the people who came to support him. Ben Rhodes was born and raised in Louisville, Kentuck that he always wanted to be a nascar driver which started off as local basvar league in his hometown and then promoted to 4th Division which is known as the ARCA Racing Series in 2014. A Year later, he joined the NASCAR Truck Series and enjoyed working for the truck league since then. He also pointed out that he thought that 25 laps into overtime which he fought he was loose a tire or get pushed by Enfinger which give him full respect. He also shout out to all of his fans and crew member for dedicated support and also thanked ThorSport Racing, kubota USA and Ford for the support. While switching to Grant Enfinger’s interview, Ben Rhodes was speechless of joy excitedly gone wild. Enfinger told the reporter that we was gonna take the win for the original green flag before the final until the caution disrupted his moment but after that, there was nothing that he could do about with the results. He also thought that he would’ve take the win if Ben Rhodes didn’t extend his speed until the very end. While Corey Heim gets his interview with Amanda Busick, he told her that the race was not planned on what thought with crash by Carson Hocevar, which he did lost control of his truck while he did had a terrific season even Hocevar’s truck before the final race of the season. Overall he had great truck but crash into the wall and destroy his right side while hoping stay in playoff for next season. Lastly, Carson Hocevar wanted to have his interview at the AMR Care Center because he was too embarrassed react on live tv so he rather have it at a safe place with little amount of people as possible. He told the reporter that he thought Corey Heim was a gonna do some contact but didn’t wanna push him out for a caution which he felt guilty for the accident which got him distress about the situation. He wanted to block the other trucks to let Heim get a win or top 5 finish but there so much trucks in the way for heavy traffic parts if the time which caused the accident. He didn’t wanna finished the race in the final few laps into overtime for the second time that crashed with Corey Heim and his truck was totaled which he surrender and be away from the race to get some space to avoid media attention. He wanted to do better has a truck driver and didn’t wanna cause any accidents for the 2024 Season. Last but not least, Christan Eckes won the race who was a non playoff winner and told the sports reporter that it was good to have victory for the winner but it wasn’t unfortunate to not stay in the playoffs which he would’ve been the Truck Series Championship. Finally, Ben Rhodes has lifted the trophy and makes him the 2023 NASCAR Craftsman Trucks Series Champion. He was happy and patted all of his crew members for a celebration and a good job for the dedicated work.
The Top 5 Drivers of the Race
- #19 Christian Eckes
- #35 Jake Garcia
- #4 Chase Purdy
- #1 Jesse Love
- #99 Ben Rhodes