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NASCAR Star Bell Rules Thursday at Chili Bowl

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, January 14 2022

NASCAR driver Christopher Bell is winning again in Tulsa. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Ashley R Dickerson)

Oklahoma favorite son Christopher Bell used every line possible around Tulsa Expo Raceway to work past Tanner Thorson en route to a record-tying preliminary victory during Thursday’s John Christer Trucking Qualifying Night at the 36th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals.

Bell’s win was his seventh in as many years and eighth since 2014, tying dirt track legend Sammy Swindell’s all-time Chili Bowl prelim mark. In addition, Bell’s win was the 35th for Keith Kunz Motorsports on TER’s quarter-mile clay oval.

“First off, I’ve got to say _ damn, I love the Chili Bowl!” said Bell, a native of Norman, Okla., and three-time Golden Driller Award winner as event champion.

Swindell, a 66-year-old native of Bartlett, Tenn., won the first of his record five Golden Drillers in 1989 and his most recent in 2009. The ever-popular “Slammin’ Sammy” is among the 299 drivers competing in this edition of “The Super Bowl of Midget Racing.”

Bell, who turned 27 in December, took the lead from Thorson on Lap 27 of the 30-lap A-Feature and finished 0.380-seconds in front of the 25-year-old native of Minden, Nev., now living in Broken Arrow, Okla.

“I feel like I’ve struggled on the wet tracks, and especially when they (Kunz Motorsports) put their feature setup in,” said Bell, referring to his iRacing No. 71w entry. “I just really struggle to get going the first couple of laps. But I could roll the bottom nice and it was good on the top, too. For whatever reason, this package we’re running is making it good when the track really slicks-off and the curb gets really big. But man, I had to work for that one.”

After taking the point from Shane Golobic on Lap 5, Thorson led the field through Lap 26. Bell, who worked into second with 11 laps remaining, used traffic to close the gap to Thorson. Earlier, Bell had a run working on Thorson on Lap 22, only to have a caution halt the action. Attempting a slide-job on the restart, Bell slammed the cushion _ allowing Thorson to maintain the lead. Bell regrouped before another caution flew on Lap 25, reverting the field to Lap 24 as only the top four made it across the line prior to the yellow.

The top three bolted to the hub on the restart for Lap 27, with Bell using the cushion to grab the lead. The next three laps saw Thorson and C.J. Leary chase the No. 71w without success.

Bell _ who cut his dirt-track racing teeth on the bull rings of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex _ saw his three-year run of Chili Bowl championships ended by fellow-NASCAR Cup Series star Kyle Larson in 2020. Larson, who repeated as Chili Bowl champ in 2021, went on to win the ‘21 Cup championship in the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro fielded by Hendrick Motorsports. Bell, the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champ, drives the No. 20 Toyota Camry in Cup for Joe Gibbs Racing.

Bell and runner-up Thorson secured starting spots in Saturday night’s 55-lap championship A-Feature. MAVTV will broadcast Saturday’s events beginning with opening ceremonies at 7:30 p.m. (CST).

Leary settled for third in the 24-car field. Rolling through a Dave.com B-Feature, Tim Buckwalter battled through the field from 20th to finish fourth with Golobic placing fifth. Starting 18th, Brady Bacon ended up sixth with Dillon Welch seventh. Matt Sherrell advanced six spots to finish eighth. Recovering from an early caution, Emerson Axsom crossed ninth with Don Droud Jr. making up 12 spots to complete the top-10.

Thursday saw 78 of the 82 scheduled drivers draw-in, bringing the week’s total to 299. The World Wide Technology Raceway Flip Count increased to 36, with everyone able to walk away.

Preliminary action concludes with Friday’s Drive2Save Lives Qualifying Night program. The SageNet Center will play host to hot laps beginning at 4 p.m. (CST) with racing at 5. General admission pit passes are available and never sell-out.

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Live coverage can be accessed on http://www.floracing.com. Continued updates on the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire can be accessed by fans via Social Media (@cbnationals) and at http://www.chilibowl.com.

36th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals

Thursday’s Results/John Christner Trucking Qualifying Night

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

Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 2G-JJ Yeley[1]; 2. 2D-Matt Sherrell[3]; 3. 5K-Ben Worth[5]; 4. 60-Cody Gardner[2]; 5. 74-Drew Rader[7]; 6. 2S-Travis Scott[9]; 7. 78M-Merle Scherb[6]; 8. 10T-Brandon Thomas[8]; 9. (DNF) 71G-Damion Gardner[4].

Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 29-Tim Buckwalter[1]; 2. 19T-Tanner Thorson[9]; 3. 20G-Noah Gass[2]; 4. 75X-Alex Vande Voort[6]; 5. 79K-Larry Webster[5]; 6. 4Z-Nate Barger[8]; 7. 8G-Austin Shores[7]; 8. (DNF) 72X-Chris Tarrant[4]; 9. (DNF) 15W-Danny Burke[3].

Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 77-Stevie Sussex III[2]; 2. 60M-Earl McDoulett Jr.[1]; 3. 7D-Michelle Decker[4]; 4. 4A-Dillon Silverman[8]; 5. 14M-Dylan Bloomfield[5]; 6. 23B-Brian Bell[7]; 7. (DNF) 14X-Chad Boespflug[9]; 8. (DNF) 715-Robert Bell[6]; 9. (DNF) 7JR-JD Black[3].

Heat 4 (8 Laps): 1. 17W-Shane Golobic[6]; 2. 4M-Brody Fuson[3]; 3. 3B-Zach Blurton[1]; 4. 68W-Shane Cottle[8]; 5. 7NZ-Travis Buckley[2]; 6. 3F-Tim Barber[4]; 7. 91-Jeff Stasa[5]; 8. 93-Kyle Bellm[7]; 9. (DNS) 18C-Ryan Moser.

Heat 5 (8 Laps): 1. 71W-Christopher Bell[4]; 2. 57B-Daniel Robinson[2]; 3. 71R-Frankie Guerrini[3]; 4. 15D-Andrew Deal[5]; 5. 0T-Alex Schriever[8]; 6. 08B-Austin Barnhill[7]; 7. 0K-Don O’Keefe Jr.[1]; 8. (DNF) 73X-Colby Johnson[9]; 9. (DNF) 17M-Jeremy Hill[6].

Heat 6 (8 Laps): 1. 51B-Joe B Miller[2]; 2. 81X-Dillon Welch[4]; 3. 39B-Emerson Axsom[7]; 4. 53R-Sean Robbins[1]; 5. 69-Cody Hays[5]; 6. 63H-Larry Petersen[6]; 7. 84J-Jesse Shapel[3]; 8. (DNF) 44C-Tristan Lee[8]; 9. (DNF) 2A-Rickie Gaunt[9].

Heat 7 (8 Laps): 1. 25B-Steve Buckwalter[3]; 2. 21H-Brady Bacon[5]; 3. 9-Mitchell Davis[7]; 4. 2E-Whit Gastineau[8]; 5. 8AJ-AJ Johnson[4]; 6. 35L-Carson McCarl[2]; 7. 31S-Ray Seach[6]; 8. (DNF) 20H-Noah Harris[1].

Heat 8 (8 Laps): 1. 86-Brent Crews[3]; 2. 1S-Spencer Bayston[4]; 3. 55V-CJ Leary[7]; 4. 71E-Mariah Ede[2]; 5. 10C-Dalton Camfield[6]; 6. 98B-Joe Boyles[5]; 7. 51J-AJ Hernandez[8]; 8. 21D-Justin Dickerson[1].

Heat 9 (8 Laps): 1. 22T-Don Droud Jr.[1]; 2. 47X-Danny Stratton[5]; 3. 57-Maria Cofer[6]; 4. 17B-Ryan Bickett[3]; 5. 15X-Carson Garrett[7]; 6. 17E-Blake Edwards[2]; 7. 6C-Collin Rinehart[8]; 8. 17J-Frank Beck[4].

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

D-Feature 1 (10 Laps): 1. 91-Jeff Stasa[1]; 2. 71G-Damion Gardner[8]; 3. 93-Kyle Bellm[3]; 4. 7JR-JD Black[9]; 5. 17J-Frank Beck[5]; 6. 21D-Justin Dickerson[7]; 7. 715-Robert Bell[4]; 8. (DNF) 73X-Colby Johnson[6]; 9. (DNF) 10T-Brandon Thomas[2].

D-Feature 2 (10 Laps): 1. 20H-Noah Harris[6]; 2. 44C-Tristan Lee[2]; 3. 0K-Don O’Keefe Jr.[3]; 4. 2A-Rickie Gaunt[5]; 5. 18C-Ryan Moser[9]; 6. 72X-Chris Tarrant[4]; 7. 84J-Jesse Shapel[1]; 8. 17M-Jeremy Hill[7]; 9. (DNF) 15W-Danny Burke[8].

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

C-Feature 1 (12 Laps): 1. 14M-Dylan Bloomfield[2]; 2. 14X-Chad Boespflug[5]; 3. 53R-Sean Robbins[1]; 4. 71G-Damion Gardner[12]; 5. 15X-Carson Garrett[3]; 6. 3F-Tim Barber[8]; 7. 23B-Brian Bell[4]; 8. 78M-Merle Scherb[10]; 9. 17E-Blake Edwards[9]; 10. 51J-AJ Hernandez[7]; 11. 91-Jeff Stasa[11]; 12. 63H-Larry Petersen[6].

C-Feature 2 (12 Laps): 1. 8AJ-AJ Johnson[3]; 2. 8G-Austin Shores[9]; 3. 20H-Noah Harris[11]; 4. 44C-Tristan Lee[12]; 5. 08B-Austin Barnhill[4]; 6. 79K-Larry Webster[1]; 7. 6C-Collin Rinehart[7]; 8. 31S-Ray Seach[10]; 9. 35L-Carson McCarl[8]; 10. 69-Cody Hays[2]; 11. 7NZ-Travis Buckley[5]; 12. (DNF) 98B-Joe Boyles[6].

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

Qualifier 1 (10 Laps): 1. 86-Brent Crews[5]; 2. 81X-Dillon Welch[3]; 3. 19T-Tanner Thorson[6]; 4. 2E-Whit Gastineau[1]; 5. 9-Mitchell Davis[4]; 6. 29-Tim Buckwalter[2]; 7. 57B-Daniel Robinson[7]; 8. 3B-Zach Blurton[9]; 9. 10C-Dalton Camfield[10]; 10. 0T-Alex Schriever[8].

Qualifier 2 (10 Laps): 1. 17W-Shane Golobic[6]; 2. 55V-CJ Leary[4]; 3. 2D-Matt Sherrell[1]; 4. 1S-Spencer Bayston[3]; 5. 71R-Frankie Guerrini[8]; 6. 21H-Brady Bacon[5]; 7. 22T-Don Droud Jr.[2]; 8. 74-Drew Rader[9]; 9. 60M-Earl McDoulett Jr.[7]; 10. 60-Cody Gardner[10].

Qualifier 3 (10 Laps): 1. 4M-Brody Fuson[1]; 2. 71W-Christopher Bell[6]; 3. 57-Maria Cofer[3]; 4. 47X-Danny Stratton[5]; 5. 77-Stevie Sussex III[4]; 6. 4A-Dillon Silverman[2]; 7. 71E-Mariah Ede[10]; 8. 2S-Travis Scott[9]; 9. (DNF) 7D-Michelle Decker[7]; 10. (DNF) 20G-Noah Gass[8].

Qualifier 4 (10 Laps): 1. 39B-Emerson Axsom[5]; 2. 68W-Shane Cottle[2]; 3. 15D-Andrew Deal[8]; 4. 51B-Joe B. Miller[4]; 5. 2G-JJ Yeley[3]; 6. 5K-Ben Worth[1]; 7. 17B-Ryan Bickett[9]; 8. 75X-Alex Vande Voort[7]; 9. 4Z-Nate Barger[10]; 10. (DNF) 25B-Steve Buckwalter[6].

Dave.com B-Features: Top 4 advance to the A-Feature

B-Feature 1 (15 Laps): 1. 77-Stevie Sussex III[1]; 2. 71R-Frankie Guerrini[2]; 3. 71G-Damion Gardner[16]; 4. 25B-Steve Buckwalter[7]; 5. 57B-Daniel Robinson[5]; 6. 2G-JJ Yeley[3]; 7. 14X-Chad Boespflug[14]; 8. 20G-Noah Gass[12]; 9. 71E-Mariah Ede[6]; 10. 14M-Dylan Bloomfield[13]; 11. 4A-Dillon Silverman[4]; 12. 2S-Travis Scott[9]; 13. 75X-Alex Vande Voort[8]; 14. 53R-Sean Robbins[15]; 15. 4Z-Nate Barger[11]; 16. (DNF) 7D-Michelle Decker[10].

B-Feature 2 (15 Laps): 1. 21H-Brady Bacon[2]; 2. 29-Tim Buckwalter[3]; 3. 22T-Don Droud Jr.[5]; 4. 2E-Whit Gastineau[1]; 5. 3B-Zach Blurton[7]; 6. 17B-Ryan Bickett[6]; 7. 5K-Ben Worth[4]; 8. 0T-Alex Schriever[11]; 9. 60M-Earl McDoulett Jr.[9]; 10. 8G-Austin Shores[14]; 11. 20H-Noah Harris[15]; 12. 44C-Tristan Lee[16]; 13. 10C-Dalton Camfield[10]; 14. 60-Cody Gardner[12]; 15. 8AJ-AJ Johnson[13]; 16. 74-Drew Rader[8].

A-Feature: Top 2 advance to Saturday’s A-Feature

A-Feature (30 Laps): 1. 71W-Christopher Bell[4]; 2. 19T-Tanner Thorson[3]; 3. 55V-CJ Leary[6]; 4. 29-Tim Buckwalter[20]; 5. 17W-Shane Golobic[1]; 6. 21H-Brady Bacon[18]; 7. 81X-Dillon Welch[7]; 8. 2D-Matt Sherrell[14]; 9. 39B-Emerson Axsom[5]; 10. 22T-Don Droud Jr.[22]; 11. 68W-Shane Cottle[11]; 12. 1S-Spencer Bayston[15]; 13. 25B-Steve Buckwalter[23]; 14. 51B-Joe B. Miller[13]; 15. 9-Mitchell Davis[16]; 16. 71R-Frankie Guerrini[19]; 17. 47X-Danny Stratton[10]; 18. (DNF) 15D-Andrew Deal[9]; 19. (DNF) 71G-Damion Gardner[21]; 20. (DNF) 86-Brent Crews[2]; 21. (DNF) 77-Stevie Sussex III[17]; 22. (DNF) 4M-Brody Fuson[8]; 23. (DNF) 57-Maria Cofer[12]; 24. (DNF) 2E-Whit Gastineau[24].

Lap Leader(s): Shane Golobic 1-4; Tanner Thorson 5-26; Christopher Bell 27-30

Hard Charger: Tim Buckwalter, plus-16

Chili Bowl Nationals Champions

1987_Rich Vogler

1988 _ Scott Hatton

1989 _ Sammy Swindell

1990 _ Johnny Heydenreich

1991 _ Lealand McSpadden

1992 _ Sammy Swindell (2)

1993 _ Dave Blaney

1994 _ Andy Hillenburg

1995 _ Donnie Beechler

1996 _ Sammy Swindell (3)

1997 _ Billy Boat

1998 _ Sammy Swindell (4)

1999 _ Dan Boorse

2000 _ Cory Kruseman

2001 _ Jay Drake

2002 _ Tony Stewart

2003 _ Dan Boorse (2)

2004 _ Cory Kruseman (2)

2005 _ Tracy Hines

2006 _ Tim McCreadie

2007 _ Tony Stewart (2)

2008 _ Damion Gardner

2009 _ Sammy Swindell (5)

2010 _ Kevin Swindell

2011 _ Kevin Swindell (2)

2012 _ Kevin Swindell (First 55-lap A-Feature) (3)

2013 _ Kevin Swindell (4)

2014 _ Bryan Clauson

2015 _ Rico Abreu

2016 _ Rico Abreu (2)

2017 _ Christopher Bell

2018 _ Christopher Bell (2)

2019 _ Christopher Bell (3)

2020 _ Kyle Larson

2021 _ Kyle Larson (2)

 

 

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, January 14 2022
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