Daum Edges Pickens in Tuesday’s Chili Bowl Opener!

From Lonnie Wheatley, David Cochran Photo

TULSA, Okla. – Eighteen-year-old Zach Daum of Pocahontas, IL, put the finishing touches on a spicy Chili Bowl opener with a dramatic last-corner pass of New Zealand’s Michael Pickens to win Tuesday night’s 25-lap Warren CAT Qualifying “A” Main event at the QuikTrip Center’s Tulsa Expo Raceway.

Daum and Pickens swapped the point several times along the way before “The Dauminator” crossed underneath the Kiwi shoe exiting turn four and surged into the lead to take the checkered flag that closed out the first of four qualifying nights at the 24th Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals.

Also on Tuesday night, Missouri’s Brad Loyet backed up a 21-win season in 2009 by wiring the field in the 20-lap Vacuworx Race of Champions that featured past event winners and perennial contenders.

While Daum and the 27-year-old Pickens took the top two positions in the nightcap, California teen Shane Golobic snared the third and final lock-in position to Saturday night’s 50-lap Chili Bowl championship main event.

It marks the first time for both Daum and Golobic to crack the Saturday night main event, while Pickens placed sixth in his only previous Chili Bowl outing in 2005.

Just missing out on a guaranteed starting position in Saturday’s finale was Brent Beauchamp, who rallied from 16th to fourth, with Bob East rounding out the top five.

Piloting his father’s (Dan Daum) Esslinger-powered Daum Insurance No. 5d Midget, Daum earned the pole position for the main event by accumulating the most passing points through heat race and qualifying action.

However, it was front row outside starter Cale Conley from West Virginia gunning into the lead at the outset and pacing the opening circuit before a caution flew for second-row starter Dustin Morgan, who looped it in turn two.

Twenty-one laps of wild green flag racing action followed, with Daum racing into the lead on the second round and then Conley finally succumbing to the advances of both sixth-starter Pickens and third-starter Tyler Walker by the seventh lap.

Piloting Simon Longdill’s Synergy V8-powered CRC/Transitainer No. 88nz Aggressor-chassis, Pickens reeled in Daum and began pressuring for the lead as traffic came into play at the midway point.

Pickens raced into the lead to complete the 15th lap only to bobble in turns one and two, allowing Daum to reclaim the point as California’s Walker entered the fray.

The trio diced for the top position over the next several rounds, with Pickens back in front on the 21st lap. Two laps later, the race’s second and final caution appeared when Walker’s move for the lead resulted in a spin that sent him to the tail along with Dave Darland, who had advanced to sixth after starting 17th.

With just three laps remaining, Pickens continued to work the high side of the track as Daum kept the pressure on. And, when Pickens got the slightest bit loose exiting turn four with the checkered flag in sight, Daum pounced on the opportunity to snare the win.

Holding down fourth until Walker’s spin, Golobic crossed the stripe a close third in the Gaerte-powered Corey Tucker Racing-BCI Country Builders No. 39c Spike.

Beauchamp’s rally from eight rows deep aboard Cruz Pedregon’s Esslinger-powered Snap-On/Sioux City Truck No. 75b Spike came up one position short in fourth, with Bobby East advancing a handful of positions in the Klatt Enterprises Ford-powered No. 4 Beast.

Steve Buckwalter rebounded from a wild qualifying race flip in turn two to race from 19th to sixth in the main event, with Oklahoma’s Brady Bacon climbing from 15th to seventh. Matt Streeter was eighth, with Chili Bowl veteran David Camfield, Jr., and 20th-starting Missouri teen Andrew Felker completing the top ten.

Pickens, Buckwalter, Darland, Walker, Greg Bragg, Streeter, Kevin Ramey and Tim Crawley topped heat race action for Tuesday night’s 63 competitors, with Billy Wease, Conley, Joey Moughan and East winning the qualifying races.

Jon Stanbrough and Ray Allen Kulhanek won the twin “C” Mains, with Darland and R.J. Johnson victorious in the twin “B” Mains. Stanbrough had rallied through his “B” Main to a transfer position in third only to be sent to the tail of the field after hitting the cone on a lap 13 restart in the 15-lapper.

Ricky Williams flipped in heat race action, with Curtis Bailey and Zach Cougill both getting upside down in the “C” Mains. Cole Smith, Buckwalter and Felker each flipped on consecutive attempts to start the second qualifying race, with Chad Frewaldt taking a wild turn two tumble in the third qualifier. Sean-Mikael Dodenhoff, Harris Brooks, Danny Burke and Kevin Ramey all flipped in “B” Main action.

California’s Keith Bloom was the only Chili Bowl rookie contender to make Tuesday night’s feature cut. Bloom took the checkered flag 16th in a race that had 22 of 24 starters completing the distance. Wease was unable to make the call due to mechanical issues, while Conley’s front row start was overshadowed by a DNF.

Fifteen drivers drew for position in the Vacuworx Race of Champions before Brad Loyet, leaving him with the number one position for the start. It was all the 21-year-old from Sunset Hills, MO, needed, as he gunned into the lead at the outset and led all the way in the Esslinger-powered Beaver Stripes & Graphics No. 05 Spike.

USAC Midget champion Brad Kuhn closed the gap in the final rounds but fell just short of mounting a serious charge, with Jay Drake, Cole Whitt and Garrett Hansen rounding out the top five.

Sammy Swindell’s Chili Bowl began on a somewhat inauspicious note after sweeping the 2009 edition of the event. Last year’s Race of Champions winner drew the 14th starting position among the 16-car field and then got upside down in turn four on the third lap after Gary Taylor and Tracy Hines got together.

Action at the 24th Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals continues with Wednesday night’s River Spirit Casino Qualifying Showdown firing off at 6:00 p.m.

Tuesday Night’s Warren CAT Qualifier Results from the 24th Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals:

Heat Races (Top 40 in passing points to A Qualifiers; Balance to twin C Mains)

Heat 1: 1. #88NZ Michael Pickens, Auckland, NZ; 2. #86c David Camfield Jr., Decatur, IL; 3. #16 Jimmy Winkler, Parkville, MO; 4. #1TX Paul White, Temple, TX; 5. #99 Brady Bacon, Broken Arrow, OK; 6. #99K Kyle Rayburn, Pueblo, CO; 7. #5M Zach Cougill, Greenwood, IN; 8. #7RS Matt Gilbert, Shawnee, KS

Heat 2: 1. #25 Steve Buckwalter, Royersford, PA; 2. #5D Zach Daum, Pocahontas, IL; 3. #39C Shane Golobic, Fremont, CA; 4. #13X Andrew Elson, Carmel, IN; 5. #8 Randi Pankratz, Atascadero, CA; 6. #97 Jon Stanbrough, Avon, IN; 7. #67H Harris Brooks, Houston, TX; 8. #15J Jeff Wimmenauer, New Whiteland, IN

Heat 3: 1. #4X Dave Darland, Lincoln, IN; 2. #78 Nick Wean, Phillipsburg, NJ; 3. #27S Andy Shouse, Oklahoma City, OK; 4. #15B Danny Burke, Houston, TX; 5. #75B Brent Beauchamp, Fairland, IN; 6. #5* Ray Allen Kulhanek, Magnolia, TX; 7. #10X Alissa Geving, Penngrove, CA; 8. #27 Brock Lemley, Bellingham, WA

Heat 4: 1. #32 Tyler Walker, Encino, CA; 2. #92W Billy Wease, Noblesville, IN; 3. #3C Cale Conley, Vienna, WV; 4. #11S Chris Sheil, Englewood, CO; 5. #6D Lex Burritt, Redding, CT; 6. #16F Aaron Fiscus, Sun Prairie, WI; 7. #40H Andy Huston, Roseville, IL DNS – #85 Matt Johnson, Oklahoma City, OK

Heat 5: 1. #0X Gregg Bragg, Visalia, CA; 2. #76 Kellen Conover, Sumner, IL; 3. #51J R.J. Johnson, Phoenix, AZ; 4. #73S Cole Smith, Plainfield, IN; 5. #54 Evan Pardo, Gatesville, TX; 6. #82 Eric Johnson, Rockford, IL; 7. #35M Matt Sherrell, Owasso, OK: 8. #11X Ricky Williams, Clinton, OH

Heat 6: 1. #14JR Matt Streeter, Galt, CA; 2. #6B Keith Bloom, Anderson, CA; 3. #19 Colby Copeland, Roseville, CA; 4. #7S Shannon McQueen, Bakersfield, CA; 5. #4 Bobby East, Brownsburg, IN; 6. #6E Rafe Essary, Stillwell, OK: 7. #60 Eric Sandage, Alexander, AR; 8. #36F Frank Flud, Broken Arrow, OK

Heat 7: 1. #7M Kevin Ramey, Fort Worth, TX; 2. #4F Chad Frewaldt, Kansas City, KS; 3. #24 Rick Eckert, York, PA; 4. #11A Andrew Felker, Carl Junction, MO; 5. #05L Danny Lasoski, Higginsville, MO; 6. #11H Garrett Hood, Concordia, KS; 7. #17K Austin Mero, Kingsburg, CA; 8. #73X Greg Edenholm, Malibu, CA

Heat 8: 1. #05C Tim Crawley, Benton, AR; 2. #55B Joey Moughan, Springfield, IL; 3. #U1 Dustin Morgan, Tulsa, OK; 4. #15D Andrew Deal, Caney, KS; 5. #23 Tadd Holliman, Beaver Lake, NE; 6. #9D Sean-Mikael Dodenhoff, Bakersfield, CA; 7. #56X Curtis Bailey, Bartlesville, OK

C Mains (Top 4 in each transfer to back of corresponding B Main)

C Main 1: 1. #97 Jon Stanbrough, Avon, IN; 2. #16F Aaron Fiscus, Sun Prairie, WI; 3. #9D Sean-Mikael Dodenhoff, Bakersfield, CA; 4. #67H Harris Brooks, Houston, TX; 5. #11H Garrett Hood, Concordia, KS; 6. #36F Frank Flud, Broken Arrow, OK; 7. #17K Austin Mero, Kingsburg, CA; 8. #85J Matt Johnston, Oklahoma City, OK; 9. #15J Jeff Wimmenauer, New Whiteland, IN; 10. #82 Eric Johnson, Rockford, IL; 11. #56X Curtis Bailey, Bartlesville, OK. DNS — #40H Andy Huston, Roseville, IL

C Main 2: 1. #5* Ray Allen Kulhanek, Magnolia, TX; 2. #35M Matt Sherrell, Owasso, OK; 3. #6D Lex Burritt, Redding, CT; 4. #10X Alissa Geving, Penngrove, CA; 5. #60 Eric Sandage, Alexander, AR; 6. #73X Greg Edenholm, Malibu, CA; 7. #7RS Matt Gilbert, Shawnee, KS; 8. #5M Zach Cougill, Greenwood, IN; 9. #6E Rafe Essary, Stillwell, OK: 10. #11X Ricky Williams, Clifton, OH; 11. #27 Brock Lemley, Bellingham, WA

A Qualifiers (Top 16 in combined passing points to A Main; Balance to twin B Mains)

A Qualifier 1: 1. #92W Billy Wease, Noblesville, IN; 2. #5D Zach Daum, Pocahontas, IL; 3. #14JR Matt Streeter, Galt, CA; 4. #15B Danny Burke, Houston, TX; 5. #4X Dave Darland, Lincoln, IN; 6. #51J R.J. Johnson, Phoenix, AZ; 7. #16 Jimmy Winkler, Parkville, MO; 8. #11S Chris Sheil, Englewood, CO; 9. #99K Kyle Rayburn, Pueblo, CO; 10. #15D Andrew Deal, Caney, KS

A Qualifier 2: 1. #3C Cale Conley, Vienna, WV; 2. #76 Kellen Conover, Sumner, IL; 3. #39C Shane Golobic, Fremont, CA; 4. #99 Brady Bacon, Broken Arrow, OK; 5, #7M Kevin Ramey, Fort Worth, TX; 6. #0X Greg Bragg, Visalia, CA; 7. #8 Randi Pankratz, Atascadero, CA; 8. #11A Andrew Felker, Carl Junction, MO; 9. #25 Steve Buckwalter, Royersford, PA; 10. #73S Cole Smith, Plainfield, IN

A Qualifier 3: 1. #55B Joey Moughan, Springfield, IL; 2. #86C David Camfield, Jr., Decatur, IL; 3. #32 Tyler Walker, Encino, CA; 4. #75B Brent Beauchamp, Fairland, IN; 5. #05C Tim Crawley, Benton, AR; 6. #24 Rick Eckert, York, PA; 7. #27S Andy Shouse, Oklahoma, City, OK; 8. #7S Shannon McQueen, Bakersfield, CA; 9. #54 Evan Pardo, Gatesville, TX; 10. #4F Chad Frewaldt, Kansas City, KS

A Qualifier 4: 1. #4 Bobby East, Brownsburg, IN; 2. #U1 Dustin Morgan, Tulsa, OK; 3. #88NZ Michael Pickens, Auckland, NZ; 4. #78 Nick Wean, Phillipsburg, NJ; 5. #6B Keith Bloom, Anderson, CA; 6. #19 Colby Copeland, Roseville, CA; 7. #1TX Paul White, Temple, TX; 8. #05L Danny Lasoski, Higginsville, MO; 9. #13X Andrew Elson, Carmel, IN; 10. #23 Tadd Holliman, Beaver Lake, NE

B Mains (Top 4 in each transfer to A Main)

B Main 1: 1. #4X Dave Darland, Lincoln, IN; 2. #25 Steve Buckwalter, Royersford, PA; 3. #19 Colby Copeland, Roseville, CA; 4. #0X Greg Bragg, Visalia, CA; 5. #1TX Paul White, Temple, TX; 6. #05L Danny Lasoski, Higginsville, MO; 7. #78 Nick Wean, Phillipsburg, NJ; 8. #16 Jimmy Winkler, Parkville, MO; 9. #16F Aaron Fiscus, Sun Prairie, WI; 10. #11S Chris Sheil, Englewood, CO; 11. #99K Kyle Rayburn, Pueblo, CO; 12. #97 Jon Stanbrough, Avon, IN; 13. #67H Harris Brooks, Houston, TX; 14. #9D Sean-Mikael Dodenhoff, Bakersfield, CA; 15. #13X Andrew Elson, Carmel, IN; 16. #23 Tadd Holliman, Beaver Lake, NE

B Main 2: 1. #51J R.J. Johnson, Phoenix, AZ; 2. #11A Andrew Felker, Carl Junction, MO; 3. #8 Randi Pankratz, Atascadero, CA; 4. #24 Rick Eckert, York, PA; 5. #27 Andy Shouse, Oklahoma City, OK; 6. #5* Ray Allen Kulhanek; 7. #54 Evan Pardo, Gatesville, TX; 8. #7S Shannon McQueen, Bakersfield, CA; 9. #73S Cole Smith, Plainfield, IN; 10. #15D Andrew Deal, Caney, KS; 11. #35M Matt Sherrell, Owasso, OK; 12. #10X Alissa Geving, Penngrove, CA; 13. #6D Lex Burritt, Redding, CT; 14. #7M Kevin Ramey, Fort Worth, TX; 15. #15B Danny Burke, Houston, TX; DNS – Chad Frewaldt, Kansas City, KS

Vacuworx Chili Bowl Race of Champions (20 Laps)

1. #05 Brad Loyet, Sunset Hills, MO; 2. #17B Brad Kuhn, Avon, IN; 3. #71K Jay Drake, Val Verde, CA; 4. #71 Cole Whitt, Alpine, CA; 5. #47 Garrett Hansen, Manhattan Beach, CA; 6. #15H Scott Hatton, Roscoe, IL; 7. #91X Kasey Kahne, Enumclaw, WA; 8. #21K Cory Kruseman, Ventura, CA; 9. #57B Johnny Heydenreich, Indianapolis, IN; 10. #1AU Gary Taylor, Snohomish, WA; 11. #44D Damion Gardner, Concord, CA; 12. #39B Bryan Clauson, Noblesville, IN; 13. #11W Tim McCreadie, Watertown, NY; 14. #40 Jason Leffler, Long Beach, CA; 15. #1 Sammy Swindell, Germantown, TN; 16. #11 Tracy Hines, New Castle, IN

A Main (25 laps – Top 3 advance to Saturday Night’s Main Event)

1. #5D Zach Daum, Pocahontas, IL; 2. #88NZ Michael Pickens, Auckland, NZ; 3. #39C Shane Golobic, Fremont, CA; 4. #75B Brent Beauchamp, Fairland, IN; 5. #4 Bobby East, Brownsburg, IN; 6. #25 Steve Buckwalter, Royersford, PA; 7. #99 Brady Bacon, Broken Arrow, OK; 8. #14JR Matt Streeter, Galt, CA; 9. #86C David Camfield Jr., Decatur, IL; 10. #11A Andrew Felker, Carl Junction, MO; 11. #05C Tim Crawley, Benton, AR; 12. #24 Rick Eckert, York, PA; 13. #8 Randi Pankratz, Atascadero, CA; 14. #51J R.J. Johnson, Phoenix, AZ; 15. #4X Dave Darland, Lincoln, IN; 16. #6B Keith Bloom, Anderson, CA; 17. #32 Tyler Walker, Encino, CA; 18. #55B Joey Moughan, Springfield, IL; 19. #U1 Dustin Morgan, Tulsa, OK; 20. #19 Colby Copeland, Roseville, CA; 21. #76 Kellen Conover, Sumner, IL; 22. #0X Greg Bragg, Visalia, CA; 23. #3C Cale Conley, Vienna, WV; DNS — #92W Billy Wease, Noblesville, IN