If you ever get the urge to smirk when you see Norm Benning in the race; watch the video below just once more. It is guaranteed to put a tear in your eye and pride in your heart.
A longtime ARCA racer, Benning has been a fixture at NASCAR’s national level since the late 1990s, but he’s never enjoyed a moment quite like the one he had on July 24, 2013 in a last-chance qualifying race at Eldora.
Once at the white flag, and again off Turn 4 before the checkered, Clay Greenfield tried slide-job passes to edge Benning for the fifth and final spot into the main event. Both times Benning held on, wedging his red No. 57 truck against the wall and sliding sideways across the finish line to the delight of both the garage area and the sellout crowd.
In the 2013 inaugural event of the first race for a NASCAR national series on dirt since 1970, the then sixty-two-year-old Norm Benning used all his dirt-track background and wall-banging expertise to produce one of the most enduring memories of the entire season.
"It's a lot more level playing field being on the dirt," Benning stated at the time. "As they say, horsepower and aerodynamics don't have a lot to do with it. You're just running around out there, bouncing off walls all night. It's a lot of fun."
While the moment may have earned him the biggest cheers of his career, the ‘banging battle’ with Greenfield took a toll on his vehicle. However, much to his surprise, just minutes later, the rest of the truck series garage provided much needed assistance.
Norm started the race from the thirtieth position and finished in twenty-sixth, four-laps down.
Some may label Benning a field filler; however, NASCAR Race Mom maintains that Norm is what makes our sport of NASCAR great. He never gave up and made the show.