Column By: JOHN DOUGLAS / RPW – ROSSBURG, OH – In what was some of the best racing you could have paid for in all of NASCAR racing, Ben Rhodes Todd Gilliland, Chase Briscoe, Matt Crafton and Stewart Friesen each took the top spot.
They weren’t the only stories to be told from the late afternoon preliminaries. Underdogs, dirt first timers and a duo of Cup Series drivers joined in the fray to determine who will compete in tonight’s Eldora Dirt Derby.
Ben Rhodes won the first qualifying race in a heated battle with Sheldon Creed. However an arguably as important story developed in the back of the field, as John-Hunter Nemechek missed the transfer spot.
Stewart Friesen’s win in the fifth and final heat was no great surprise, however, JR Heffner, who has had flashes of brilliance tempered with bad luck in the past at Eldora, qualified through in a solid fourth place.
Once again at Eldora, Norm Benning had fans on their feet as the underfunded veteran solidly qualified his way through to the feature event. Benning’s memorable Last Chance Qualifying effort in the inaugural running of the Dirt Derby made him a standout in many a race fan’s underdog category every time the series returns to the clay.
In the LCQ, John-Hunter Nemechek, Noah Gragson and Johnny Sauter all had to race their way in to the feature event consisting of 150 laps in three stages. Tanner Thorson, Justin Fontaine, Wendell Chavous and Dalton Sargent will join them in NASCAR’s only romp in the dirt.