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Bright Shines On Opening Night Of Chili Bowl

| , RacinToday.com Wednesday, January 13 2016

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With only a few feet to spare at the finish line, Pennsylvania’s Alex Bright held off Indiana’s Joey Saldana to kick off the 30th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire, topping Tuesday’s Warren Cat Qualifying Night for his first Chili Bowl preliminary score.

“Absolutely amazing,” Bright said after his win on the quarter-mile Tulsa Expo Raceway clay oval. “This possibly tops as one of the best wins of my career; if not, it definitely ties the one big race in Australia I won. But Saturday would definitely top them all. This is big for me.”

The top three in each Qualifying Night A-Feature transfer directly into the Saturday championship event with the remainder of Saturday’s features lined up according to the Qualifying night finishes.

Giving chase from the eight starting spot, Bright cracked the top five by Lap 6 as California’s Kyle Larson took off with the lead. Sitting comfortably ahead of Jonathan Beason, the Oklahoma shoe worked to hold off Zach Daum, while at the same time Bright continued his march to the front.

Taking over third on Lap 9, Bright jumped to second the following lap. The caution flew on Lap 11 as leader Larson found himself the victim of a slower car. Finding the No 22e stalled off the exit of the second turn, the resulting impact sent Larson spinning to a stop. Larson was forced to restart at the tail of the field.

“It was unfortunate he (Larson) got caught up in a wreck,” Bright said. “He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, but that’s racing. We’ve all been in that position. I don’t think that’s all he had. It would’ve been interesting to see what would have happened. I think we definitely had something for him.”

The race was slowed on Lap 21 for a flip in Turn 4. Going for a Hail Mary slide on the restart, Beason slammed the cushion, causing a domino effect that brought Spencer Bayston to a halt. Going for the same slide again on the ensuing restart, the cushion again bit the No. 8j, allowing Saldana to jump into second.

Working every angle possible on the No. 77b in the closing laps, Bright edged Saldana by 0.144-seconds at the line. “I don’t know how in the hell to drive these race cars, to tell you the truth,” Saldana said. “It’s just an honor to race a Midget with these guys. Last year I finished fourth, so I missed it by one. Just putting yourself in the show, I’ve never done that before so for me it’s a huge honor to say I get to race the A-Main on Saturday night.”

Zach Daum was the final transfer into Saturday’s 55 lap A-Feature. “There are eight or 10 crown jewel events for Midget racing and this is at the top of the list, so to be locked into it is big,” Daum said. “Less than 8 percent of the drivers here will make the race. There is no other race in the world that tough to make. We work all year for the Chili Bowl, basically. We are always learning, always trying and just trying to make our race car better.”

Beason settled for fourth with Arizona’s R.J. Johnson scoring Hard Charger honors, coming from 16th to round out the top-five. Chad Boespflug advanced six spots to finish sixth with Matt Sherrell seventh and Andrew Felker eighth. Rebounding from the Lap 11 crash, Larson charged back to finish ninth with Dillon Welch completing the top-10.

The eighth annual Vacuworx Invitational Race of Champions found a new champion as 2015 NMDoTY, Tanner Thorson, held off the No. 71k of Larson. Taking advantage of a restart near the race’s halfway point, Thorson snagged the lead from Tracy Hines. Joined by Larson in the process, the pair dueled nearly the entire last half of the 20-lapper with Thorson able to hold off several attempts at a Larson slide-job.

 

Budweiser Heat Races: Top 40 in passing points advance to Qualifiers

Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 5D-Zach Daum[5]; 2. 4H-Tom Harris[3]; 3. 17J-Chase Johnson[7]; 4. 22E-Cameron Hagin[6]; 5. 3FF-Mason Zeigler[4]; 6. 30T-Larry Bratti[1]; 7. (DNF) 7W-Kory Schudy[8].

Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 1PW-Paul White[3]; 2. 3C-Raven Culp[1]; 3. 44X-Wesley Smith[8]; 4. 55-Nick Knepper[6]; 5. 35F-Michael Faccinto[7]; 6. 44J-Jared Sewell[2]; 7. 10-George White[5]; 8. 0B-A.J. Johnson[4].

Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 39B-Spencer Bayston[3]; 2. 3N-Jake Neuman[2]; 3. 7H-Darren Hagen[6]; 4. 45X-C.J. Johnson[7]; 5. 6C-Jeff Flesher[8]; 6. 17KT-Joe Janowski[5]; 7. 59-Richard Harvey Jr[4]; 8. 56Z-Mindy McCord[1].

Heat 4 (8 Laps): 1. 8J-Jonathan Beason[8]; 2. 5$-Danny Smith[1]; 3. 51J-R.J. Johnson[7]; 4. 12K-Zac Taylor[2]; 5. 99-Kevin Chaffee[5]; 6. 96-Cody Brewer[3]; 7. 19N-Nick O’Neal[6]; 8. 26-Dustin Golobic[4].

Heat 5 (8 Laps): 1. 0T-Tyler Brehm[2]; 2. 11C-Chett Gehrke[6]; 3. 00-Chase Briscoe[1]; 4. 0S-Dylan Westbrook[8]; 5. (DNF) 2S-Travis Scott[5]; 6. (DNF) 3M-Brent Rees[3]; 7. (DNF) 37T-Tim Kent[4]; 8. (DNF) 05-Brad Loyet[7].

Heat 6 (8 Laps): 1. 93-Dustin Morgan[1]; 2. 39S-Kevin Thomas Jr.[4]; 3. 17-Joey Saldana[3]; 4. 2-Ryan Hall[2]; 5. 23-Jimmy Light[7]; 6. 77X-Katlynn Leer[8]; 7. 14T-Tony Rossi[5]; 8. (DNF) 32A-Garrett Aitken[6].

Heat 7 (8 Laps): 1. 14W-Matt Westfall[2]; 2. 91A-Chris Andrews[1]; 3. 53H-Austin Archdale[4]; 4. 17E- Blake Edwards[5]; 5. 3T-Tim Barber[7]; 6. 5J-Jeff Crook[8]; 7. 76J-David Jones[6]; 8. 5BB-Bobby Brewer[3].

Heat 8 (8 Laps): 1. 57B-Chad Boespflug[1]; 2. 77B-Alex Bright[5]; 3. 18-Tony Bruce Jr.[3]; 4. 11A-Andrew Felker[4]; 5. 4M-J.J. Ercse[7]; 6. 81-Jerry Hammock[2]; 7. 9H-Holly Porter[6]; 8. (DNF) 0K-Don O’Keefe Jr.[8].

Heat 9 (8 Laps): 1. 99P-Dillon Welch[1]; 2. 71K-Kyle Larson[7]; 3. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr.[4]; 4. 2D-Steve Davis[2]; 5. 7SS-Wade Seiler[5]; 6. 46-Kenney Johnson[3]; 7. 926-Morgan Frewaldt[6].

Heat 10 (8 Laps): 1. 78-Nick Wean[1]; 2. 88T-Tyler Nelson[4]; 3. 7RS-Merril Lamb[7]; 4. (DNF) 35X-Zach Hampton[6]; 5. (DNF) 98-Jarid Blondel[2]; 6. (DNF) 0Z-Joe Rinne[3]; 7. (DNF) P40-Aaron Dromgoole[5].

Heat 11 (8 Laps): 1. 55B-Alex Bowman[4]; 2. 35M-Matt Sherrell[7]; 3. 73T-Trey Marcham[6]; 4. 9U-Doug McCune[1]; 5. 5C-Colten Cottle[5]; 6. 21T-Ty Hulsey[2]; 7. 3-Dustin Weland[3].

D-Features: Top 2 advance to corresponding C-Feature

D-Feature 1 (10 Laps): 1. 21T-Ty Hulsey[1]; 2. 0G-Glenn Styres[8]; 3. 10-George White[4]; 4. 32A-Garrett Aitken[9]; 5. 9H-Holly Porter[3]; 6. 37T-Tim Kent[6]; 7. 56Z-Mindy McCord[11]; 8. 19N-Nick O’Neal[2]; 9. (DNF) 26-Dustin Golobic[10]; 10. (DNF) 7W-Kory Schudy[7]; DNS P40-Aaron Dromgoole.

D-Feature 2 (10 Laps): 1. 05-Brad Loyet[8]; 2. 14T-Tony Rossi[4]; 3. 76J-David Jones[2]; 4. 5BB-Bobby Brewer[10]; 5. 3-Dustin Weland[6]; 6. 30T-Larry Bratti[1]; 7. 0K-Don O’Keefe Jr.[7]; 8. 926-Morgan Frewaldt[3]; 9. (DNF) 59-Richard Harvey Jr[5]; 10. (DNF) 0B-A.J. Johnson[9].

C-Features: Top 4 advance to corresponding B-Feature

C-Feature 1 (12 Laps): 1. 35F-Michael Faccinto[1]; 2. 11A-Andrew Felker[3]; 3. 2-Ryan Hall[4]; 4. 96-Cody Brewer[10]; 5. 3T-Tim Barber[2]; 6. 5C-Colten Cottle[8]; 7. 0G-Glenn Styres[14]; 8. 2S-Travis Scott[7]; 9. 9U-Doug McCune[6]; 10. 46-Kenney Johnson[11]; 11. 98-Jarid Blondel[9]; 12. (DNF) 21T-Ty Hulsey[13]; 13. (DNF) 77X-Katlynn Leer[5]; 14. (DNF) 44J-Jared Sewell[12].

C-Feature 2 (12 Laps): 1. 23-Jimmy Light[1]; 2. 05-Brad Loyet[13]; 3. 3FF-Mason Zeigler[8]; 4. 99-Kevin Chaffee[6]; 5. 81-Jerry Hammock[12]; 6. 14T-Tony Rossi[14]; 7. 12K-Zac Taylor[3]; 8. 4M-J.J. Ercse[2]; 9. 5J-Jeff Crook[5]; 10. 17KT-Joe Janowski[9]; 11. 0Z-Joe Rinne[11]; 12. 7SS-Wade Seiler[7]; 13. (DNF) 2D- Steve Davis[4]; 14. (DNF) 3M-Brent Rees[10].

Qualifiers: Top 16 in combined passing points advance to the A-Feature

Q1 (10 Laps): 1. 39B-Spencer Bayston[4]; 2. 57B-Chad Boespflug[1]; 3. 8J-Jonathan Beason[6]; 4. 17-Joey Saldana[10]; 5. 22E-Cameron Hagin[9]; 6. 4H-Tom Harris[7]; 7. 55B-Alex Bowman[5]; 8. 88T-Tyler Nelson[2]; 9. 7RS-Merril Lamb[3]; 10. (DNF) 5$-Danny Smith[8].

Q2 (10 Laps): 1. 7H-Darren Hagen[2]; 2. 77B-Alex Bright[4]; 3. 5D-Zach Daum[6]; 4. 99P-Dillon Welch[1]; 5. 0T-Tyler Brehm[3]; 6. 18-Tony Bruce Jr[10]; 7. 55-Nick Knepper[9]; 8. 91A-Chris Andrews[8]; 9. 45X-C.J. Johnson[7]; 10. (DNF) 11C-Chett Gehrke[5].

Q3 (10 Laps): 1. 71K-Kyle Larson[6]; 2. 44X-Wesley Smith[5]; 3. 78-Nick Wean[1]; 4. 14W-Matt Westfall[3]; 5. 73T-Trey Marcham[2]; 6. 17J-Chase Johnson[4]; 7. 53H-Austin Archdale[8]; 8. 17E-Blake Edwards[10]; 9. 3N-Jake Neuman[7]; 10. 35X-Zach Hampton[9].

Q4 (10 Laps): 1. 39S-Kevin Thomas Jr.[3]; 2. 35M-Matt Sherrell[6]; 3. 1PW-Paul White[5]; 4. 0S-Dylan Westbrook[1]; 5. 51J-R.J. Johnson[4]; 6. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr.[8]; 7. 93-Dustin Morgan[2]; 8. 6C-Jeff Flesher[9]; 9. 00-Chase Briscoe[10]; 10. 3C-Raven Culp[7].

B-Features: Top 4 advance to the A-Feature

B-Feature 1 (15 Laps): 1. 99P-Dillon Welch[1]; 2. 11A-Andrew Felker[14]; 3. 0S-Dylan Westbrook[2]; 4. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr.[5]; 5. 91A-Chris Andrews[8]; 6. 00-Chase Briscoe[11]; 7. 55B-Alex Bowman[3]; 8. 3N-Jake Neuman[10]; 9. 96-Cody Brewer[16]; 10. 4H-Tom Harris[4]; 11. 88T-Tyler Nelson[7]; 12. 35F-Michael Faccinto[13]; 13. 7RS-Merril Lamb[9]; 14. 35X-Zach Hampton[12]; 15. (DNF) 53H-Austin Archdale[6]; 16. (DNF) 2-Ryan Hall[15].

B-Feature 2 (15 Laps): 1. 18-Tony Bruce Jr.[2]; 2. 0T-Tyler Brehm[1]; 3. 55-Nick Knepper[5]; 4. 17J-Chase Johnson[4]; 5. 73T-Trey Marcham[3]; 6. 93-Dustin Morgan[6]; 7. 11C-Chett Gehrke[8]; 8. 23-Jimmy Light[13]; 9. 05-Brad Loyet[14]; 10. 3C-Raven Culp[12]; 11. 6C-Jeff Flesher[7]; 12. 99-Kevin Chaffee[16]; 13. 3FF-Mason Zeigler[15]; 14. 5$-Danny Smith[11]; 15. 17E-Blake Edwards[10]; 16. 45X-C.J. Johnson[9].

VIROC VIII

VIROC VIII (20 Laps): 1. 67-Tanner Thorson[4]; 2. 71K-Kyle Larson[5]; 3. 24-Tracy Hines[1]; 4. 63-Bryan Clauson[12]; 5. 71-Christopher Bell[16]; 6. 15X-Chad Boat[9]; 7. 6K-Dave Darland[7]; 8. 67Z-Kasey Kahne[8]; 9. 47-Danny Stratton[2]; 10. 47X-Tim McCreadie[3]; 11. 5-Jerry Coons Jr.[6]; 12. 97-Rico Abreu[17]; 13. 1ST-J.J. Yeley[10]; 14. 21K-Cory Kruseman[14]; 15. 4-Damion Gardner[13]; 16. 05-Brad Loyet[19]; 17. 22H-John Heydenreich[11]; 18. (DNF) 1-Sammy Swindell[18]; 19. (DNF) 39S-Kevin Thomas Jr.[15].

A-Feature: Top 3 advance to Saturday’s A-Feature

A-Feature (25 Laps): 1. 77B-Alex Bright[8]; 2. 17-Joey Saldana[11]; 3. 5D-Zach Daum[5]; 4. 8J-Jonathan Beason[2]; 5. 51J-R.J. Johnson[16]; 6. 57B-Chad Boespflug[12]; 7. 35M-Matt Sherrell[3]; 8. 11A-Andrew Felker[19]; 9. 71K-Kyle Larson[1]; 10. 99P-Dillon Welch[17]; 11. 14W-Matt Westfall[14]; 12. 18-Tony Bruce Jr[18]; 13. 17J-Chase Johnson[24]; 14. 39S-Kevin Thomas Jr[7]; 15. 39B-Spencer Bayston[4]; 16. 78-Nick Wean[13]; 17. 0S-Dylan Westbrook[21]; 18. 55-Nick Knepper[22]; 19. 0T-Tyler Brehm[20]; 20. 1PW-Paul White[10]; 21. (DNF) 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr.[23]; 22. (DNF) 7H-Darren Hagen[9]; 23. (DNF) 22E-Cameron Hagin[15]; 24. (DNF) 44X-Wesley Smith[6].

Lap Leaders: Kyle Larson 1-11; Alex Bright 12-25

Hard Charger: R.J. Johnson, plus-11

Lucas Oil Chili Bowl National Champions

Year _ Driver (Owner)

2015 _ Rico Abreu (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian)

2014 _ Bryan Clauson (Joe Dooling/Curb Records)

2013 _ Kevin Swindell (Swindell Motorsports/Curb Records)

2012 _ Kevin Swindell (Swindell Motorsports/Curb Records)

2011 _ Kevin Swindell (Swindell Motorsports/Curb Records)

2010 _ Kevin Swindell (Swindell Motorsports/Curb Records)

2009 _ Sammy Swindell (Swindell Motorsports/Curb Records)

2008 _ Damion Gardner (Jason Leffler)

2007 _ Tony Stewart (Tony Stewart Motorsports)

2006 _ Tim McCreadie (Steve Smith)

2005 _ Tracy Hines (Wilke-Pak)

2004 _ Cory Kruseman (Andy Bondio)

2003 _ Dan Boorse (Dan Boorse)

2002 _ Tony Stewart (Keith Kunz)

2001 _ Jay Drake (Keith Kunz)

2000 _ Cory Kruseman (Andy Bondio)

1999 _ Dan Boorse (Dan Boorse)

1998 _ Sammy Swindell (Pete Willoughby)

1997 _ Billy Boat (John Lawson)

1996 _ Sammy Swindell (Rusty Kunz/Jay McKinnie)

1995 _ Donnie Beechler (Zarounian Motorsports)

1994_ Andy Hillenburg (Keith Kuntz/Rusty Kunz)

1993 _ Dave Blaney (Ralph Potter)

1992 _ Sammy Swindell (Dave Ellis)

1991 _ Lealand McSpadden (Andy Bondio)

1990 _ John Heydenreich (Tony Finley)

1989 _ Sammy Swindell (Jack Runyon)

1988 _ Scott Hatton (Jerry Hatton)

1987 _ Rich Vogler (Bob Lowe)

| , RacinToday.com Wednesday, January 13 2016
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