The four preliminary nights of the 28th Chili Bowl Nationals has past and the stage is set for the Championship night on Saturday at the Tulsa Fairgrounds.
The final preliminary night was full of action , would not be a Chili Bowl without it. The night belonged to Bryan Clauson leaving the 70 odd drivers to fight amongst them.
Heats winners were Chad Boat, Bryan Clauson, Tanner Thorson, Tyler Thomas, Darren Hagen, Dave Darland, Ryan Bernal.Tim McCreadie and Dillon Welch
A tough night at the Bowl for Kasey Kahne with continuing engine troubles while Jac Haudenschild had huge wobble over the cushion while leading that ruined his night.
Jac Haudenschild over the cushion
Positions in the preliminary feature are decided by the points gathered during the nine heats and qualifiers. Tim Mc Creadie won the coveted pole from Bryan Clauson. The top 6 positions in the 24 car final were
McCreadie held the lead for 9 laps before Clauson worked out the track condition and drove into the lead and set the pattern for what would turn out to be clear and convincing win.
McCreadie leads Clauson at the Chili Bowl
Early caution on lap 8 and another mid race on lap 14 when Michnowicz collect the wall had little effect on Clauson’s race plan.
On the restart Clauson continued to increase his lead over McCreadie who was under threat for second by Darland but the 47x would hold his second place .Daryn Pittman was holding down 4th position ahead of Tanner Thorson in the Kuntz’s Toyota.
Running fifth entering the final turns, Tanner Thorson looped the Toyota No. 67k in the final turn collecting sixth running Ronnie Gardner in the process. Ryan Bernal was able to scramble by to complete the top five.
Forcing the caution after the leaders had taken the checkered flag, the split finish put the Thorson seventeenth, and Gardner eighteenth.
Clauson’s win his second since 2011 in a preliminary feature at the Chili Bowl sets the USAC Champion up perfectly for the Saturdays big final and his charge to first Golden Driller.
Clauson Night 4 Winner with Joe Dooling and Rusty Kunz
Clauson, McCreadie and Darland would now join the other nine preliminary placings for the all important draw for positions in the 55 lap main Feature.
At the post race interview Clauson said “The one nice thing about running with Tim is that he’s going to stay on the bottom as long as possible,” said Clauson. “I felt like we had a pretty good car early on. I kind of watched the track as the night went on and it seemed to always take five or six laps for the track to even out. When I jumped up and didn’t really go backwards I was pretty happy.”
A-Feature: 25 Laps – Top 3 lock into Saturday’s Championship Feature.
A Feature (25 Laps): 1. 63-Bryan Clauson; 2. 47X-Tim McCreadie; 3. 17R-Dave Darland; 4. 21-Daryn Pittman; 5. 56R-Ryan Bernal; 6. 17K-Alex Schutte; 7. 15X-Chad Boat; 8. 57M-Matt Mitchell; 9. 51S-Mike Spencer; 10. 56J-Darren Hagen; 11. 39R-Dillon Welch; 12. 91T-Tyler Thomas; 13. 21K-Cory Kruseman; 14. 7B-Austin Brown; 15. 88-Terry Babb; 16. 73N-Nic Faas; 17. 67-Tanner Thorson; 18. 68-Ronnie Gardner; 19. 5N-Jeffrey Newell; 20. (DNF) 85S-Shane Hollingsworth; 21. (DNF) 2ST-Jon Stanbrough; 22. (DNF) 84B-Bobby Michnowicz; 23. (DNF) 21AJ-A.J. Hopkins; 24. (DNF) 1K-Trevor Kobylarz
Lap Leader(s): Tim McCreadie (1-9), Bryan Clauson (10-25)
Line-up – 55 Laps positions 1 to 12 determined by a draw
The defending Champion Kevin Swindell will need to work his through the two B 15 lap feature to gain a transfer to the Chili Bowl 55 Lap final. Kyle Larson, Daryn Pittman and Rico Abreu will have to run in the first 6 in the B1 15 lap Feature to get their start in the Chili Bowl 55 Lap Feature.
The best starting position Kyle Larson and Kevin Swindell can hope for is P12 but 55 laps is a long way around the Chili Bowl track and you can be certain that many stoppages are likely. The winner at the end of the 55 laps will know he has deserved the Chili BowlTitle and the Golden Driller.
The final charge for the Golden Driller gets back underway Saturday at the Tulsa Fairgrounds in Oklahoma