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Larson Scores Tuesday Night Feature Victory at the Chili Bowl

Tyler Courtney, Kyle Larson, and Brad Sweet (Serena Dalhamer photo)

By T.J. Buffenbarger

TULSA, Ok. (January 9, 2018) — Kyle Larson dodged the adversity he has faced the past two years at the Chili Bowl Nationals during his preliminary night to win the main event during Warren Cat Qualifying Night Tuesday at the Tulsa Expo Raceway. The win was Larson’s Fourth career preliminary win and first since 2015.

While the victory was for Larson, avoiding misfortune that could keep him from being locked into Saturday’s finale was just as enjoyable.

“It’s cool to be back up here on the stage,” Said Larson. “This is probably the first time I’ve had a smooth prelim night in probably five or six years it feels like. It was a clean night and hopefully we can keep it going on Saturday,” said Larson. “Extremely excited to lock in. Last year I got to watch the 55-lap race, and that was no fun.”

Larson had to hold off former USAC and current World of Outlaws driver Brad Sweet for the victory.

“It felt like the harder I ran throughout the night the more grip I had. I kept running harder and harder. Then I got to the lead and slowed my pace down a little bit and got myself tight through the holes in three and four. Then on the restart Brad (Sweet) was really good. I thought the wider line in one and two might have been better, but its hard to change what you are doing until you see someone’s nose.”

Zach Daum led the opening circuit while Tyler Courtney, Larson, and Brad Sweet diced for second on back. Larson shot into the runner up position and was starting to pressure Daum for the lead when Dustin Golobic brought out the caution flag when he stopped on the backstretch. Joe B Miller and Chris Andrews went to the work area under caution. Andrews did not make the restart.

Daum and Larson pulled away after the restart while Courtney and Sweet raced for third. Sweet took the position on lap five using the bottom of the track. Lap seven saw Courtney dive under Sweet to retake the spot, only to have Sweet take it back off the corner.

The second caution appeared when R.J. Johnson spun off the fourth corner.

Larson started working the top off the race track after the restart and closed in on Daum as they pulled away from the rest of the field. Larson nosed ahead on lap eight before opening a three-car length advantage on the following lap.

The field slowed again on lap 12 when Dillon Welch got upside down in turn two, running 12th before the incident.

Daum was able to get a look under Larson during the restart, but Larson held the top spot. Behind them Sweet, Courtney, and Jake Neuman raced for the third and final transfer spot into Saturday’s finale.

ON lap 16 Courtney stumbled on the cushion and let Neuman by for fourth. Ahead of them Sweet slipped by Daum for second in turn three.

With six laps to go Courtney and Daum started trading the third spot back and fourth when the red flag appeared for Travis Rilat getting upside down in turn two. Just before the red flag Daum tried to counter one of Courtney’s slide jobs and stalled the car. Rilat went pit side with front end damage while Daum rejoined the tail of the field.

After the restart Sweet and Courtney started to trade the second spot with Logan Seavey and Tom Harris joining the race for second on back.

Up front it was all Larson holding off Sweet for the victory. Courtney held on for the final transfer into Saturday’s finale while Tom Harris and Logan Seavy rounded out the top five.

Larson’s victory on Tuesday was extra special driving a car owned by his father fielded out of the Keith Kunz Racing stable.

“It’s been a long time since I ran a car owned by Dad. It goes back to when I was go karting,” said Larson. “So, it was cool to win for him, for iRacing, everyone on board with our car. Keith Kunz, Pete Willoughby, for all he’s done for me in my career.”

Larson’s victory tied him with Bryan Clauson for preliminary wins. While that has special meaning for Larson, a Chili Bowl victory on Saturday is still the primary focus.

“Prelim wins are pretty special, but I want to match (Clauson) and win a Saturday night feature as well.”

In the Vacuworx Race of Champions Chad Boat held off a final lap surge from Kyle Larson to win the 20-lap invitational race.

32nd annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals
Warren Cat Qualifying Night
Tulsa Expo Raceway
Tulsa, OK
Tuesday January 9, 2018

Heat Race #1 (8 Laps): 1. 67 – Logan Seavey, [3]; 2. 3N – Jake Neuman, [8]; 3. 97A – Austin Odell, [2]; 4. 57J – Jake Bubak, [6]; 5. 56V – Matt Veatch, [4]; 6. 71WG – Weston Gorham, [7]; 7. 44D – Evan Turner, [1]; 8. (DNF) 2W – Wyatt Burks, [5]

Heat Race #2 (8 Laps): 1. 15J – Kyle Jones, [1]; 2. 01 – Kyle Larson, [6]; 3. 4 – Tom Harris, [2]; 4. 4A – Chad Boespflug, [4]; 5. 59 – Austin Shores, [3]; 6. 5B – Bobby Brewer, [5]; 7. 84 – Phil Shapel, [8]; 8. (DNF) 2BX – Brett Becker, [7]

Heat Race #3 (8 Laps): 1. 99P – Dillon Welch, [5]; 2. 20D – Chris Dyson, [3]; 3. 44X – Wesley Smith, [2]; 4. 1C – Clayton Christensen, [1]; 5. 22C – Dan McCarron, [7]; 6. 7CH – Kelsey Ivy, [4]; 7. 22M – Chris Cochran, [6]; (DNS) 8JR – A.J. Johnson,

Heat Race #4 (8 Laps): 1. 91K – Kevin Bayer, [1]; 2. 118 – Scott Evans, [2]; 3. 17E – Blake Edwards, [3]; 4. 88W – Dustin Weland, [6]; 5. 7RS – Merril Lamb, [5]; 6. 2DG – Elliot Amdahl, [8]; 7. (DNF) 21R – Kaylee Bryson, [4]; 8. (DNF) 9$ – Kyle Clark, [7]

Heat Race #5 (8 Laps): 1. 91A – Chris Andrews, [3]; 2. 9F – Zac Forster, [6]; 3. 73K – Kyle Hirst, [4]; 4. 9U – Doug McCune, [1]; 5. 87C – David Camfield, [7]; 6. 7W – Scott Walton, [2]; 7. 7Z – Roy Entze II, [8]; 8. 10T – Brandon Thomas, [5]

Heat Race #6 (8 Laps): 1. 05 – Brad Loyet, [3]; 2. 51X – Austin Langenstein, [4]; 3. 74J – Bill Jackson, [2]; 4. 7SS – Wade Seiler, [6]; 5. 55T – Tony Everhart, [5]; 6. (DNF) 14JR – Holley Hollan, [7]; 7. (DNF) 00 – Tristan Lee, [1]; (DNS) 19N – Nick O’Neal,

Heat Race #7 (8 Laps): 1. 1B – Travis Rilat, [2]; 2. 51 – R.J. Johnson, [1]; 3. 7K – Justin Peck, [3]; 4. 8J – Jonathan Beason, [4]; 5. 101 – Chuck McGillivray, [5]; 6. 17D – Dakota Jackson, [6]; 7. 25P – Dylan Peterson, [8]; 8. (DNF) 4D – Robert Dalby, [7]

Heat Race #8 (8 Laps): 1. 5D – Zach Daum, [8]; 2. 82M – Steven Shebester, [1]; 3. 9JR – Derek Hagar, [4]; 4. 14W – Matt Westfall, [6]; 5. 6M – Ray Seach, [2]; 6. 33K – Kyle Offill, [3]; 7. 721 – Brendon Wiseley, [7]; 8. 30T – Larry Bratti, [5]

Heat Race #9 (8 Laps): 1. 63D – Brad Sweet, [2]; 2. 57BC – Giovanni Scelzi, [1]; 3. 11J – Justin Melton, [6]; 4. 2S – Travis Scott, [4]; 5. 18 – Tony Bruce Jr, [7]; 6. 5X – Stevie Sussex III, [8]; 7. 5M – Cory Klug, [3]; 8. (DNF) 68F – Tyler Seavey, [5]

Heat Race #10 (8 Laps): 1. 77 – Alex Bright, [1]; 2. 7U – Joe B. Miller, [2]; 3. 7A – Justin Allgaier, [4]; 4. 7AUS – Mark Cooper, [3]; 5. 17G – Dustin Golobic, [6]; 6. 1PW – Paul White, [7]; 7. 1G – Holly Porter, [5]

Heat Race #11 (8 Laps): 1. 7BC – Tyler Courtney, [3]; 2. 2A – Joe Stornetta, [6]; 3. 37T – Anton Hernandez, [4]; 4. 46 – Kenney Johnson, [2]; 5. 22D – David Stephenson, [1]; 6. 31J – James Burke, [5]; 7. 5J – Jeff Crook, [7]

D-Feature #1 (10 Laps, Top 2 Advanced): 1. 2W – Wyatt Burks, [5]; 2. 4D – Robert Dalby, [3]; 3. 5J – Jeff Crook, [2]; 4. 21R – Kaylee Bryson, [1]; 5. 8JR – A.J. Johnson, [7]; 6. 7Z – Roy Entze II, [6]; 7. 30T – Larry Bratti, [8]; 8. (DNF) 2BX – Brett Becker, [4]; (DNS) 22M – Chris Cochran,

D-Feature #2 (10 Laps, Top 2 Advanced): 1. 9$ – Kyle Clark, [4]; 2. 1G – Holly Porter, [2]; 3. 5M – Cory Klug, [3]; 4. 68F – Tyler Seavey, [8]; 5. 721 – Brendon Wiseley, [1]; 6. 00 – Tristan Lee, [6]; 7. 44D – Evan Turner, [5]; 8. 10T – Brandon Thomas, [7]; (DNS) 19N – Nick O’Neal,

C Feature #1 (12 Laps, Top 4 Advanced): 1. 8J – Jonathan Beason, [1]; 2. 1PW – Paul White, [9]; 3. 7AUS – Mark Cooper, [2]; 4. 17G – Dustin Golobic, [3]; 5. 4D – Robert Dalby, [14]; 6. 2W – Wyatt Burks, [15]; 7. 71WG – Weston Gorham, [8]; 8. 25P – Dylan Peterson, [13]; 9. 1C – Clayton Christensen, [5]; 10. 101 – Chuck McGillivray, [7]; 11. 31J – James Burke, [10]; 12. 7RS – Merril Lamb, [6]; 13. 33K – Kyle Offill, [12]; 14. 2DG – Elliot Amdahl, [4]; 15. (DNF) 17D – Dakota Jackson, [11]; (DNS) 6M – Ray Seach,

C Feature #2 (12 Laps, Top 4 Advanced): 1. 2S – Travis Scott, [1]; 2. 22C – Dan McCarron, [2]; 3. 46 – Kenney Johnson, [3]; 4. 5X – Stevie Sussex III, [4]; 5. 22D – David Stephenson, [10]; 6. 9$ – Kyle Clark, [15]; 7. 1G – Holly Porter, [16]; 8. 59 – Austin Shores, [9]; 9. 14JR – Holley Hollan, [8]; 10. 9U – Doug McCune, [5]; 11. 55T – Tony Everhart, [6]; 12. 5B – Bobby Brewer, [11]; 13. 84 – Phil Shapel, [12]; 14. 7CH – Kelsey Ivy, [13]; 15. 7W – Scott Walton, [14]; 16. (DNF) 56V – Matt Veatch, [7]

Qualifier #1 (10 Laps): 1. 51 – R.J. Johnson, [1]; 2. 5D – Zach Daum, [6]; 3. 77 – Alex Bright, [2]; 4. 05 – Brad Loyet, [4]; 5. 51X – Austin Langenstein, [3]; 6. 9F – Zac Forster, [5]; 7. 9JR – Derek Hagar, [7]; 8. 17E – Blake Edwards, [9]; 9. 44X – Wesley Smith, [10]; 10. 88W – Dustin Weland, [8]

Qualifier #2 (10 Laps): 1. 7BC – Tyler Courtney, [4]; 2. 11J – Justin Melton, [3]; 3. 7K – Justin Peck, [9]; 4. 2A – Joe Stornetta, [5]; 5. 3N – Jake Neuman, [6]; 6. 7A – Justin Allgaier, [7]; 7. 20D – Chris Dyson, [2]; 8. 82M – Steven Shebester, [1]; 9. 74J – Bill Jackson, [10]; 10. 7SS – Wade Seiler, [8]

Qualifier #3 (10 Laps): 1. 57BC – Giovanni Scelzi, [1]; 2. 67 – Logan Seavey, [5]; 3. 118 – Scott Evans, [2]; 4. 15J – Kyle Jones, [3]; 5. 99P – Dillon Welch, [6]; 6. 18 – Tony Bruce Jr, [10]; 7. 37T – Anton Hernandez, [7]; 8. 14W – Matt Westfall, [8]; 9. 1B – Travis Rilat, [4]; 10. 97A – Austin Odell, [9]

Qualifier #4 (10 Laps): 1. 01 – Kyle Larson, [6]; 2. 63D – Brad Sweet, [4]; 3. 4 – Tom Harris, [7]; 4. 73K – Kyle Hirst, [1]; 5. 91A – Chris Andrews, [5]; 6. 7U – Joe B. Miller, [2]; 7. 87C – David Camfield, [8]; 8. 4A – Chad Boespflug, [9]; 9. (DNF) 91K – Kevin Bayer, [3]; (DNS) 57J – Jake Bubak,

VIROC X (20 Laps): 1. 84X – Chad Boat, [1]; 2. 01 – Kyle Larson, [8]; 3. 63 – Tanner Thorson, [6]; 4. 24 – Tracy Hines, [2]; 5. 63D – Brad Sweet, [5]; 6. 39 – Michael Pickens, [12]; 7. 97K – Spencer Bayston, [7]; 8. 47X – Tim McCreadie, [3]; 9. 71G – Damion Gardner, [9]; 10. 97 – Rico Abreu, [11]; 11. 71W – Christopher Bell, [18]; 12. 1R – Thomas Meseraull, [17]; 13. 47 – Danny Stratton, [10]; 14. 67Z – Kasey Kahne, [13]; 15. 5 – Jerry Coons Jr, [19]; 16. 05 – Brad Loyet, [15]; 17. 21K – Cory Kruseman, [14]; 18. 1 – Sammy Swindell, [16]; 19. (DNF) 2R – J.J. Yeley, [4]

B-Feature #1 (15 Laps, Top 4 Advanced): 1. 118 – Scott Evans, [1]; 2. 7A – Justin Allgaier, [4]; 3. 17G – Dustin Golobic, [16]; 4. 87C – David Camfield, [5]; 5. 1PW – Paul White, [14]; 6. 8J – Jonathan Beason, [13]; 7. 37T – Anton Hernandez, [6]; 8. 18 – Tony Bruce Jr, [3]; 9. 14W – Matt Westfall, [8]; 10. 7AUS – Mark Cooper, [15]; 11. 74J – Bill Jackson, [10]; 12. 91K – Kevin Bayer, [9]; 13. 17E – Blake Edwards, [7]; 14. 97A – Austin Odell, [12]; 15. (DNF) 9F – Zac Forster, [2]; 16. (DNF) 88W – Dustin Weland, [11]
B-Feature #2 (15 Laps, Top 4 Advanced): 1. 73K – Kyle Hirst, [3]; 2. 15J – Kyle Jones, [1]; 3. 7U – Joe B. Miller, [4]; 4. 1B – Travis Rilat, [7]; 5. 5X – Stevie Sussex III, [15]; 6. 44X – Wesley Smith, [9]; 7. 51X – Austin Langenstein, [2]; 8. 9JR – Derek Hagar, [5]; 9. 22C – Dan McCarron, [14]; 10. 2S – Travis Scott, [12]; 11. 82M – Steven Shebester, [10]; 12. 4A – Chad Boespflug, [8]; 13. 20D – Chris Dyson, [6]; 14. 7SS – Wade Seiler, [11]; 15. (DNF) 46 – Kenney Johnson, [13]; (DNS) 57J – Jake Bubak,

A-Feature (25 Laps): 1. 01 – Kyle Larson, [2]; 2. 63D – Brad Sweet, [5]; 3. 7BC – Tyler Courtney, [3]; 4. 4 – Tom Harris, [13]; 5. 67 – Logan Seavey, [4]; 6. 57BC – Giovanni Scelzi, [12]; 7. 3N – Jake Neuman, [7]; 8. 05 – Brad Loyet, [14]; 9. 118 – Scott Evans, [17]; 10. 7K – Justin Peck, [6]; 11. 77 – Alex Bright, [15]; 12. 7A – Justin Allgaier, [19]; 13. 7U – Joe B. Miller, [22]; 14. 51 – R.J. Johnson, [11]; 15. 11J – Justin Melton, [8]; 16. 5D – Zach Daum, [1]; 17. 15J – Kyle Jones, [20]; 18. 17G – Dustin Golobic, [21]; 19. 73K – Kyle Hirst, [18]; 20. (DNF) 87C – David Camfield, [23]; 21. (DNF) 1B – Travis Rilat, [24]; 22. (DNF) 2A – Joe Stornetta, [9]; 23. (DNF) 99P – Dillon Welch, [10]; 24. (DNF) 91A – Chris Andrews, [16]