2018 GN Four Wheel Drive Champion Spotlight

Ben Ellis
Champlain, Virginia
"Benjammin"
Four Wheel Drive

In his first year running the entire GN circuit, Ben Ellis “wanted to see if I could be competitive. Living on the East Coast, there is a lot of travel. I’m glad I did it; it paid off. I’m extremely thankful and blessed!” In 2017, Ben won the Shell Rotella Cup and the Bowling Green ring. Adding a title cements his status as one of the best in the country. Completing an incredible comeback, the first time he led was after the final hook.

Ben started out with a 10th-place finish Friday night at the Mule City 300. He pulled into fourth on Saturday. The next two hooks were in Hutchinson, Minnesota, 23 hours from home, where he won and finished fifth to the Foster family’s “Foster Child” with Rob at the controls.

The first hook in Tomah, Wisconsin was rained out. “Benjammin” finished 12th in the second while Rob’s daughter Carmen drove “Foster Child” to its second win and the division lead. With one of his poorest finishes and his father in the hospital, this was the season’s low point.

When the action moved to the Lions Super Pull of the South, Ben finished 10th and second. Twelve days later, he finished third in Monroe. The first hook at the Northeast Nationals in Langford netted a sixth, but Ben won for the second time on Sunday to stay within striking distance. He finished fifth and sixth at the Norwalk Lions Club Pull in Norwalk, Wisconsin to go into Bowling Green 17 points out.

“There is no way I can make up this deficit,” Ellis thought. “I just want to hang in there and do my thing.” Ben finished 12th of 34 in the first hook, which cut into Foster’s lead when she got 25th. Then, he parked “Benjammin” in second on Saturday afternoon to pull within two with just the M.E. Miller Tire Tri-State Showdown left. His victory there turned that deficit into a two-point winning margin.

“I didn’t have anything to lose. Swing for the fences! It was like a fairytale for me. Being the first hook, the way it all came down, I was a nervous wreck. Winning the pull and clinching the championship in such dramatic fashion was so surreal.” Ben added another first with a win at the Enderle Pull-Off.

“I would like to thank my family: wife Shannon, children Laura, Lizzy, Regan, Cameron, and Tripp, and my parents, Ben and Frances, for supporting me at home and allowing me to do this. I also want to thank Sonny’s Racing Engines, Steve Barker, Nichols Tire, William Lewis, Chad Seal, and Willie Rutherford.”