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Exclusive: “Trucks Aren’t Just for Everybody”- Ben Rhodes Delivers a Fiery Verdict on Former Teammate Hailie Deegan’s Xfinity Break

Published 11/08/2023, 1:21 PM EST

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When popular Truck Series driver Hailie Deegan announced a career switch to the Xfinity Series, many questioned the merits of the decision. In the three years since her debut, the highest driver standing produced by Deegan has been outside the Top 10. Her ThorSport Racing teammate Ben Rhodes suggested that was precisely the reason behind the shift in an exclusive interview with EssentiallySports.

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Ultimately, the #13 driver could not effectively utilize the championship-winning team of Ben Rhodes. This season’s title winner did not mince his words while hailing the caliber required to sustain as a Truck driver.

Ben Rhodes hopes Hailie Deegan gets good Xfinity finishes unlike her Truck races 


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When Hailie Deegan accomplished a Top 10 finish in her 2021 rookie season, it paved the way for millions of women to dream of a NASCAR career in a largely male-centric sport. She added four more Top 10 finishes in the next two years but could not break into the Top 5 spot. More concerningly, the wrecks far exceeded noteworthy finishes. Even joining ThorSport Racing this year could not salvage her middling performances. Her #99 teammate and two-time Truck champion Ben Rhodes explained the competitive intensity of the series.

Rhodes said, “Because the trucks race so hard, the race craft, the way that you have to race each other on restarts, the things that you do, and the truck series compare more to Cup now and the way that they drive compares more to the Cup Series. And the competition and the Truck Series, the depth of the field goes back to a 20-something place where the depth of the field and the Xfinity Series does not.” This is why Rhodes believed Deegan was more suited for the Xfinity Series.


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Watch this story: Hailie Deegan’s Bold Leap from Trucks to Xfinity Series

In the exclusive conversation, Rhodes opened up to Essentially Sports about Deegan’s new career path. “I do think the move is good because she’s going with a good team. She’s going forward and I think there’s an opportunity there for her to change stuff up and get some really good finishes, top-five wins, top-tens because she’s been in the trucks for a while and sometimes the trucks aren’t just for everybody.” Ben Rhodes also conveyed his sentiments on Hailie Deegan as his 2023 teammate.

Ben Rhodes claims Trucks are not fitting for Hailie Deegan’s driving style

Hailie Deegan participated in an Xfinity race for SS-Green Light Racing last year. In her very first start, Deegan finished 13th at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The result was promising enough to suggest a potential Xfinity career, but no one had expected her to join AM Racing before the end of this season. And certainly not when she placed 19th in the drivers’ ranking.


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But Ben Rhodes was convinced Deegan might not have what it took to succeed as a Truck driver even though ThorSport Racing, as he put it, had “20 Trucks that can win”. Rhodes reiterated the popular consensus in the Truck Racing community. “We consider the Truck Series the more competitive series compared to Xfinity”.


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The #99 driver elaborated on the Essentially Sports exclusive deep-dive: “They do drive differently. So, if they’re not fitting for her driving style, maybe expand the years and maybe she can have a ton of success.” In the end, though, Ben Rhodes only wished the best for Hailie Deegan. “I think she has an exciting future ahead. I really think she’s a great person. And obviously, Chase [Cabre] her fiance has become a friend of mine…So, I want to see them do well.”

Ben Rhodes Smugly Credits Carson Hocevar and Corey Heim’s Lack of Patience for his Championship Feat at Phoenix

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Written by:

Parika Singh


One take at a time

I began my motorsport journey in the European lanes of Formula 1, but after years of predictability, I ventured into the road courses and oval tracks of the United States. Upon discovering NASCAR, I was fascinated by the anecdotal gems waiting to be uncovered. Since I am a storyteller by heart, NASCAR gave me the perfect canvas with its cherished camaraderie and ancient rivalries.
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Edited by:

Abhishek Ramesh