By Bill Martin, IMCA
Night two at the Duel In the Desert saw Lucas Schott and Jordan Grabouski ace Xtreme Motor Sports IMCA Modified qualifiers at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track.
Schott won Friday night's first feature ahead of Ryan Ruter, Dylan Smith and John Hansen. Joining Grabouski in the top four for the nightcap were R.C. Whitwell, Hunter Marriott and Travis Hagen.
All eight drivers advance to Saturday's $7,777-to-win main event. Both qualifying features paid $777 to win.
Schott led the first qualifier from the drop of the green and pulled out to nearly a half straightaway lead before fifth-running Jeremy Payne, a four-time Duel winner, slowed in turn two.
The race was for second following the ensuing re-start, as Hansen had his hands full holding off Ruter for second while David Murray Jr. motored behind in fourth.
Ruter had caught Hansen for the runner-up spot before 2008 race winner Murray spun on unlucky lap 13. Twenty-sixth starting Benji LaCrosse drove by Eddie Belec and Dylan Smith to crack the top four shortly after the race resumed.
Schott kept to the lower line, while Ruter ran up high. The distance between the two was down to a car length, but Schott kept the front spot until the 25th and final lap was scored.
Smith, who'd started 17th, and Hansen both shuffled LaCrosse out of a qualifying spot before the checkers flew.
It took Grabouski seven circuits to find his way to the front after starting inside row three in the nightcap, first passing Tim Ward for second and then Ricky Alvarado for the point.
Alvarado exited with mechanical issues, and shortly afterward Grabouski was pulling away from Whitwell, his closet pursuer, and entering lapped traffic by midway.
While Grabouski negotiated traffic and Whitwell ran a distant second, Marriott and Jeff Taylor both tried to reel in Ward for third.
Taylor broke on the backstretch with five laps left. Marriott used a great re-start to steal second from Ward and challenge Whitwell. Ward exited the top four with a flat before Grabouski checked out for the victory.
Last-chance qualifying fills the starting grid for the main event. If not already vote eligible, the winner becomes a candidate for the 2016 Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational.
He hasn't seen his name in lights yet, but Chase Rudolf stole the headlines Friday night at the Duel In the Desert.
The 17-year-old from Norwalk, Iowa, led every lap of the $500-to-win Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMods qualifying feature at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track.
He'll advance to Saturday's $1,777-to-win show along with fellow top-six finishers Rick Diaz, Clay Money, Ryan Wolla, Nick Spainhoward and Adam Armstrong.
The race ran caution-free, and Rudolf stayed flawless up front, leading by a straightaway when lap 12 was scored. A flat tire took Michael Johnson out of a transfer spot with three laps left.
Diaz took second well ahead of Money and Wolla.
Qualifying feature results