NASCAR driver loves HC’s slower pace
Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor, Editor, [email protected]
Life in Harrison County is quite different for a 22-year-old NASCAR driver who recently moved to the Lanesville area.
“I’m a south-end guy from Louisville, from near Dixie Highway,” Ben Rhodes said at the 85th annual meeting of the Chamber of Commerce of Harrison County on Oct. 18 at Horseshoe Southern Indiana’s Showroom. “I wanted an area to get away.”
Thanks to a brother who had lived in Mauckport, Rhodes had become familiar with Harrison County.
“I wasn’t a wine drinker before I moved here, but I am now,” he said.
It’s not just the wineries that enticed him to relocate here, but also the events and festivals.
“I’m absolutely loving it here,” said Rhodes, who is getting married in January.
Rhodes began racing, starting with go-karts, when he was 7. As he aged, he began racing at the Sportsdrome Speedway in Jeffersonville.
“I was really bad when I started,” he said.
As his love for racing — and a need to “go fast,” like Ricky Bobby — grew, his parents supported him.
“We didn’t know the challenges we’d have since our family was not in racing,” Rhodes said, adding that his mom had “many roles,” from changing engines to cooking for the entire team.
“My best memories are those of being at the race track with my family,” he said.
For the past four NASCAR seasons, he has been on the ThorSport Racing team, which is based in Sandusky, Ohio, competing in the Gander Outdoor Truck Series. He can be found behind the wheel of the No. 99 Ford F150 truck, racing from mid-February to late November as far north as Canada, south to Miami, Fla., and west to Las Vegas.
Rhodes talked about how “everything else fades away” when he’s racing.
The week before the Chamber annual meeting, Rhodes finished 12th at the famous Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.
“There were probably 20 Ricky Bobbys running through the infield,” Rhodes joked, referring to the main character in the “Talladega Nights” movie. “I got a really bad concussion there two years ago.”
Rhodes talked about encounters with numerous “arrogant” people and how he tries to find the balance between standing up for himself and doing the right thing.
“I race against people who don’t do the right thing,” he said. “If you do the right thing, it will come back to you … I can’t lose faith in myself.”
To conclude, Rhodes said he loves all the local businesses, including all the wineries, in Harrison County.
“I know it’s attracting my friends and family to come here,” he said. “Know that all your hard work makes it a special place.”
Several awards were presented during the program, including the Chairman’s Award for Community Service. Pam Bennett Martin, the Chamber’s chairman, selected Bill Harrod as the recipient.
Other awards were:
Ambassador of the Year — Angel Frizzell, executive director of Main Street Corydon.
Nonprofit of the Year — Leadership Harrison County.
Fastest Growing Business — Conrad Brothers Moving and Storage.
Environmentally Friendly — Harrison County Hospital.
2018 Small Business of the Year — C&R Construction.
Outstanding Family Friendly Business of the year — O’Bannon Publishing Co. Inc.
Healthy Workplace Award — Habitat for Humanity’s ReSALEstore.
Martin spoke briefly about the new Insurance Under One health insurance plan by the Chamber of Commerce of Harrison County and One Southern Indiana designed for businesses with two to 50 employees.
Past Chamber chairman Jason Copperwaite commented about the benefits of belonging to the Chamber, including how 63% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a Chamber member.
Darrell Voelker, director of the Harrison County Economic Development Corp., gave the invocation prior to the meal, and Lisa Long, president of the Chamber, served as emcee.