In what was a very odd situation a brief and sudden downpour of rain on the backstretch of Daytona International Speedway during Round 1 of knockout qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series on Friday afternoon caused a seven-car accident and forced NASCAR to cancel the rest of qualifying.
Seventeen of the 25 minutes of Round 1 were completed when the rain hit and Dakoda Armstrong in the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 Ford had turned the quickest lap to that point in the round to earn his very first NASCAR Nationwide Series pole position.
With eight minutes left in Round 1 of the scheduled three rounds of knockout qualifying a group of about 15 cars headed back out on the 2.5 mile track and when they came off Turn 2 were greeted with heavy rain and a soaked track. Mike Bliss was the first to loose traction and spun out. Behind him Eric McClure, Robert Richardson Jr, Joe Nemechek, Scott Lagasse Jr, Ross Chastain, and Benny Gordon all also lost control and crashed.
Six of those teams still made the field of 40 cars based on being inside the top 36 with their lap times from before the crash but their crews will have a lot of work to do before the start of the Subway Firecracker 250 tonight to get the cars repaired or a backup car ready. Those drivers who will still race are Bliss, McClure, Richardson, Nemechek, Lagasse, and Chastain. Unfortunately for Benny Gordon and the No. 91 TriStar Motorsports team they did not make the race.
Also missing the race because they were not high enough in owner points were Blake Koch, Tommy Joe Martins, Bobby Gerhart, and Matt DiBenedetto.
DiBenedetto is expected to replace Jeffrey Earnhardt in the No. 4 JD Motorsports Chevrolet at the first caution tonight since Earnhardt suffered a broken collarbone in a motorcycle accident earlier this week.
NASCAR originally ruled that Round 1 was official and began drying the track to try to get Round 2 with the fastest 24 cars and then Round 3 in but then decided to call qualifying official to keep the rest of the day's track activities on schedule. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will qualify at 5 p.m. with the Subway Firecracker 250 Nationwide Series race scheduled for 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
Trevor Bayne will start second with Chris Buescher third, Ryan Reed fourth, Kyle Busch fifth, Elliott Sadler sixth, Chase Elliott seventh, Regan Smith eighth, Darrell Wallace Jr ninth and Kyle Larson tenth. Joey Logano will roll off 11th, Chad Boat 12th, Kasey Kahne 13th, Brendan Guaghan 14th, Brian Scott 15th, Ty Dillon 16th, Mike Wallace 17th, James Buescher 18th, JJ Yeley 19th, Johnny Sauter 20th, Ryan Sieg 21st, Mike Harmon 22nd, Derrike Cope 23rd, and Tanner Berryhill 24th. Landon Cassill will start 25th, Dylan Kwaniewski 26th, and John Wes Townley 27th.Tags: Chase Elliott, Chris Buescher, Dakoda Armstrong, Daytona International Speedway, Elliott Sadler, Kyle Busch, Mike Bliss, Motorsports, NASCAR, NASCAR Nationwide Series, Richard Petty Motorsports, Ross Chastain, Ryan Reed, Scott Lagasse Jr, Trevor Bayne
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