Donnie Wilson, Stephen Nasse and Christian Eckes all raced a 16.660 qualifying lap Friday, to rank 30th, 31st and 32nd overall on the Snowball Derby qualifying list.
Typically, drivers who run a lap time in qualifying for the Derby that falls below 30 are “bumped,” meaning they have to race in the “Last Chance” race on Saturday for a shot to get into the main show.
But each of the three had their own set of circumstances earning them a spot in the show.
Under Derby rules, whoever goes out first breaks the tie, meaning Nasse got in on time.
It was expected that Nasse would fall to 31st when Eckes took the field, last year’s Derby winner, but instead he shocked those in attendance and ran that same 16.660 lap time.
Wilson made the race through his standing at Five Flags Speedway where he regularly races, earning him a provisional spot due to his third place in the standings.
And Eckes’ Derby win last year earned him a spot in this year’s race.
In addition to those three, Garrett Jones will make the field because he was third in the Southern Super Series standings, earning him a provisional as well.
Nasse was still processing what happened after qualifying.
“It’s pretty crazy, and I’m glad to be on top of that, I guess it’s the luck of the draw with me going first, so I will take that little bit of luck going into the weekend and try to keep it going forward into Sunday,” he said.
Wilson said his qualifying run was due to an issue with equipment. “We had a rack-and-pinion go bad,” he said. “So we changed that and it was just a completely different car.”
Eckes has been recovering from an illness all week and looked forlorn after such a disappointing qualifying run.
“I made a mistake through the corners,” Eckes said. “I messed us up for the second lap.”
“To come up short like that was really unfortunate, but I do think we have a really good racecar,” he added. “We’ll come back through the field on Sunday.”
For a full qualifying list, click here.
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